COLUMN: Apply for primary school places now

It’s time to think about making an application if your child is due to start school for the first time next September.

The application round for first admissions to reception class at primary school opened on Monday (November 6) and closes on January 15, 2018.

So if your child will be five between September 1 2018 and August 31 2019, you can now apply for a reception year place and will need to decide which schools to include in your application.

As well as making sure you apply by the closing date, I would advise you to use all four of your school preferences rather than just making one preference and limiting your options.

There is never any guarantee that a preference can be met, but this way, you’re more likely to be offered a place at a school you’re happy for your child to attend.

It’s also wise to include at least one school within those four preferences where your child will have high priority within the school’s admission oversubscription criteria and are therefore highly likely to get a place.

Information about the criteria can also be found on our website. 

And if you miss the January 15 deadline, your application will only be processed after all the on-time applications.

Be aware that, by then, the schools you would really like your child to attend might all be full.

In that case, we will make an alternative offer of a place at a school which could be at a distance from your home address.

The good news, however, is that last year, more than 98 per cent of families who applied for a primary school place on time were offered one of their preferred schools – up on the previous year.

If your child attends a school’s foundation unit, nursery class or early years’ group, this also doesn’t guarantee you a reception place at the main school, and you must still complete an application for a full-time place.

And if your child is currently in year two in an infant school, you will need to apply for a year three place in a junior or primary school for September 2018. There’s no automatic transfer.

For more information and to apply for a place, go

Parents who apply online will get their offer by email on April 18, 2018.

I wish you the best of luck with your application.