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School Applications and Enrolment Procedures

School Admissions Ireland

The Education (Admission to Schools Act 2018) introduced new rules around admission to primary and secondary schools in Ireland. Arising from this new legislation, all school Boards of Management must publish an annual admission notice before accepting any applications for a given year. 

Schools must admit pupils based on their admissions policy and admission notice. The admission notice must tell you:

  • How to get a copy of the school’s admission policy
  • How to get an application form for admission
  • The date when the school will start to accept applications for the year
  • The deadline for receiving applications
  • The date the school will inform you of their decision
  • The date by which you must accept a place

Schools can no longer use the time and date on which they get an application as a basis for admission. This means that applications cannot be allocated on a first-come first-served basis and schools must phase out existing waiting lists by 31st January 2025. If a school is not over-subscribed, the school should continue to accept all applicants even after that deadline has passed. Schools can also no longer charge fees or ask for contributions as a condition for admission with the exception of fee-charging secondary schools, boarding schools and PLC courses.

Schools will usually open their application process for the following school year sometime in the October of the previous year. Dates may vary in some schools but the school admission policy will set out the dates for the school.

In general, schools must accept all students who apply to them unless they get more applications than there are places (see exceptions below). The school admission policy will set out the rules that will apply if the school is over-subscribed, indicated which students to accept and in what order.

Applying to Schools

In Ireland, all children are entitled to free primary and secondary education with most schools funded by the state and most children attending these schools. There are a small number of private primary schools available and some secondary schools and children attending these schools will pay fees. Children must be at least 4 years of age to start of the school year to enroll in primary schools and students are usually 12 or 13 years old when starting secondary school.

You can search for primary and secondary schools in your area by visiting the link buttons below. If you click into individual schools, you will then be able to see information on ethos, gender, contact details etc along with links to the school website and social media pages. For secondary schools you will also be able to view information on progression levels to third levels colleges for that school. A map of all schools in Ireland is also available here. You can find more advice on how to select a secondary school here.

When you have identified school's that you are interested in, you should make contact and ask for their admissions policy and application dates along with an application form if applicable. Schools may ask for additional documents such as school reports, a birth certificate and an educational assessment. However, schools are no longer allowed to ask for a baptismal certificate as part of an enrolment application under the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018. Remember to keep a copy of your Application.

You can of course, apply to more than one school but you cannot accept more than one place. If you accept an offer from one school and you have applied to one or more other schools, you must tell the school that you are accepting the offer from about any offers you have or are expecting from the other schools you have applied to. You should also be aware that under the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, school boards of management can share information with each other about applications received, offers made and offers accepted.

Offers & Acceptances

A school must usually reply within 21 days of their closing date to let you know whether your child has been accepted or placed on a waiting list. If you have received an offer, there will usually be a deadline by which you need to accept the offer.

For further information on discrimination exceptions and no school places:


Irish Statute Book