Post Primary Transfer 2023-2025
The Department has provided additional year 8 places to post-primary schools serving areas of anticipated pressure.
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 the Department. It is available to download along with the circular.
Timetables for school admissions
This circular provides the timetables for pre-school, primary and post-primary procedures under Open Enrolment for admissions to take place in September 2024.
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 2023/24 arrangements has been published in Circular 2023/12
Circular 2023/13 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 required by law to give priority to children resident in Northern Ireland.
Temporary Flexibility guidance for Principals and Boards of Governors of Primary Schools with Nursery Units and Nursery Schools explains the process to be followed when requesting a temporary increase in class size.
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 2023/24 arrangements has been published in Circular 2023/12.
Circular 2023/14 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 2023/2024 arrangement has been published in Circular 2023/12
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.
- Letter to Schools - Unlawful Admissions and Zero-Rating Reminder - 30 August 2013
- Letter to Schools - Actual Enrolments Against Approved Enrolments - Funding Letter 28 September 2012
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.
- Circular 2013/24 - Guidance on a school's duty to verify application information (pre-school, primary and post-primary)
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.
Challenging 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
- Revised procedures for admissions complaints to the Department of Education Post-Years 1 and 8, with letters and forms
2. 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.
If your child is refused a place in the nursery school/unit, primary school or post-primary school you prefer, you can appeal the decision of the Board of Governors. You cannot appeal a decision about a pre- school place in a voluntary or private nursery setting.
Independent tribunals will be established by the Education Authority to consider appeals. These tribunals will decide on whether or not a school has correctly applied its admissions criteria in deciding to refuse the child admission to the school. The actual substance of the criteria cannot be challenged in the appeal tribunal. Details on how you can appeal will be accessible on the Education Authority’s website Education Authority following the issue of placement letters.
3. Parental right to apply 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 NI Direct website:
- Appealing a school place decision - nidirect website
- Exceptional Circumstances Body - Privacy notice 2018
- Parental right of appeal to the Exceptional Circumstances Body
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.