Applying for a funded pre-school place – 2019/20

Guidance on how to apply for a funded pre-school education place as well as information about the Department of Education run pre-school education programme.

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  • Applying for a funded pre-school education place 2019/20
  • More useful links

Applying for a funded pre-school education place 2019/20

Funded pre-school education is provided under the Pre-School Education Programme.  This is a programme funded by the Department of Education (DE) with the aim to provide one year of non-compulsory pre-school education to every child in their immediate pre-school year whose family want it.  It provides a rich variety of challenging play-based learning activities and other experiences in a stimulating environment and will help prepare your child for primary school.

The DE Pre-School Education Programme provides funded pre-school education places: it is not free or funded childcare.  Information on childcare provision is available at Family Support NI.

What age should my child be to access a pre-school education place in September 2019?

The Pre-School Education Programme for the 2019/20 school year is targeted at children born between 2 July 2015 and 1 July 2016.  If your child was born during this period you will be eligible to apply for admission to either a Nursery School or Nursery Unit or Playgroup for the school year 2019/20. 

If funded places are still available after target age children are admitted then underage children born on or between 2 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 may also be admitted.  If your child falls within this age group you will be eligible to apply to only a Nursery School or a Nursery Unit within a primary school.

When should I apply for a pre-school education place?

The Pre-School admissions process for the 2019/20 academic year has now ended.  Parents who applied during the process will have received a letter explaining the outcome of their application by 11 June 2019. 

If you wish to apply for a pre-school place, you can still do so by contacting the relevant pre-school education provider directly. Details of providers that may have places available have been published on 

More Useful Links

Circular 2018/16 – Open Enrolment in Nursery Schools and Nursery Classes in Primary Schools 2018

ETI School Inspection Reports

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