School admissions guidance

This article provides advice for the Principals and Boards of Governors of grant-aided primary and post primary schools in relation to the Department’s school admissions policy.

Temporary variation requests

The following circular provides advice for the principals and boards of governors of grant-aided primary and post primary schools in relation to the Department’s consideration of requests from schools to temporarily vary the school’s approved admission and or enrolment numbers.

The Department has produced a form which all primary and post primary schools should use when seeking a temporary variation from School Access Team in the Department. It is available to download along with the circular.

Timetables for school admissions

This circular provides the timetables for primary and post-primary procedures under Open Enrolment for admissions to take place in September 2019.

Pre-school / nursery admissions

This circular advises Principals and Boards of Governors of schools of the arrangements for the application of Open Enrolment procedures to nursery schools and nursery classes in primary schools.

A timetable for the 2019/20 arrangements has been published in Circular 2018/17.

Circular 2018/16 should be read in conjunction with Circular 2013/24, which advises principals and Boards of Governors on the duty to verify information contained within applications for admission.

Schools in Northern Ireland are currently required by law to give priority to children resident in Northern Ireland. This requirement is currently under review.

Primary school admissions

This circular sets out for principals and Boards of Governors of schools the arrangements for admission of pupils to grant aided primary schools.

A timetable for the 2019/20 arrangements has been published in Circular 2018/17.

Circular 2016/17 should be read in conjunction with Circular 2013/24, which advises principals and Boards of Governors on the duty to verify information contained within applications for admission.

The circular below provides additional advice for the principals and Boards of Governors of all grant-aided Irish Medium Primary Schools and Primary Schools with Irish Medium Units in relation to the setting of their admissions criteria.

Post-primary school admissions

This circular provides all schools with operational guidance on the post-primary transfer process. Primary schools in particular should note the content of Annex 1 of this circular which describes arrangements for the provision of advice to parents.

A timetable for the 2019/20 arrangements has been publsihed in Circular 2018/17.

Circular 2016/15 should be read in conjunction with Circular 2013/24, which advises principals and Boards of Governors on the duty to verify information contained within applications for admission

Circular 1996/24 (amended) provides guidance about and explains the procedures for the approval of pupils transferring from Primary to Post-Primary education, either a year early (underage pupils) or a year later (overage pupils) than they would normally be required to transfer.

Guidance for parents of children in P6 on the transfer process to post-primary school

The Department has published an advice leaflet for parents setting out the main steps in the post-primary transfer process. Parents of children in P6 should receive a hard copy of this leaflet from their child’s primary school in January.

Waiting list guidance

This circular provides guidance for schools on the operation of admissions waiting lists.

School admissions – funding

The purpose of these letters is to remind schools that pupils admitted unlawfully will be automatically rated ‘zero’ for LMS purposes.

Duty to verify admissions information

This circular advises Principals and Boards of Governors of pre-school, primary and post primary schools on the duty to verify information contained within applications for admission

Procedure for requesting extra sixth form places

This circular advises Principals and Boards of Governors of the arrangements for requesting extra sixth form places for schools likely to be oversubscribed when receiving year 13 applications.

This circular will apply to admissions taking place in September 2016 and for each subsequent school year.

Guidance on admissions for schools with an Irish medium unit

This circular provides advice for Principals and Boards of Governors in relation to the admission of pupils to schools with an Irish Medium Unit.

Appeals against admissions decisions

There are three routes by which admissions decisions may be challenged other than by means of a judicial challenge

Parental right of appeal against a school with places available that has refused admission to an application for a place in a year group other than Year 1 or Year 8

Parental right of appeal to an independent admissions appeal tribunal where it is claimed by a parent that a school has not, or has not correctly, applied its admissions criteria

This right of appeal applies where a primary or post-primary school is oversubscribed with applications and has to apply its admissions criteria to determine which children to admit.  Details of how to appeal are available from the Regional Offices of the Education Authority.

Parental right of appeal to the Exceptional Circumstances Body

The Department has established an independent Exceptional Circumstances Body (ECB) to consider applications from parents where it is claimed that a child must attend a specified post-primary school, and no other post-primary school, for exceptional reasons. Further information and an application form can be found on the nidirect website:

The Body is required to present the Department with an annual report describing its activity.

Previous year’s reports are available on request by contacting the Exceptional Circumstances Body at ecbsecretariat@education-ni.gov.uk

Primary school admissions workshops

This guide provides detailed information on the admissions process, particularly in relation to the setting of admissions criteria for Primary School Principals.

This power point presentation provides guidance on the primary school admissions process, particularly in relation to the setting of admissions criteria, and was used at the Primary School Admissions Criteria Workshops led by the Department and Education and Library Boards in September 2013.

Discussion paper - towards a common assessment for academic selection 

Professor Peter Tymms of Durham University was appointed by the former Education Minister. Peter Weir to make recommendations for the design of a common assessment tool for the purposes of academic selection.

Professor Tymms's report, in the form of a Discussion Paper, provides a starting point for discussion on what form a common assessment might take.

 

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