Please refer to below link for more information on schools in Northern Ireland.

Every child aged between four and 16 is entitled to a school place. If your child is eligible for primary or post-primary school, you must apply for their place.

Children between the ages of 3 &4 can attend funded “pre-school” the year before they start Primary School. This must be applied for (but it is not compulsory for your child to attend).

The Education Authority (“EA”) is the body responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people. Their website contains lots of information and can be found at:

The school year runs from approximately from 1 September to 30 June. Applications for both Primary School and Pre-school must be applied for in the January before the September term starts. For example if your child is eligible to start school in September 2020 then the application must be submitted by January 2020.

A child's age on 1 July determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education ie children who have turned four by 1 July begin school that September. You may not always get your school of choice.

Your child must wear a school uniform which must be purchased – check with the school to find out where the uniform can be bought. Some schools may sell the uniform directly and others might have specific shops.

Sure Start Programme

You might also want to look into whether the area you live in supports the “Sure Start Programme”. This government led initiative support parents with children aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland. There are a number of Sure Start programmes in the Belfast area and areas of support include the provision of high quality crèche sessions. More information can be found at:

Pre-School – aged 3+

Primary School – age 4-11

You can use a search tool in the EA website to find schools in your area – all you need is your Postal Code:

Post Primary 11+

You can use a search tool in the EA website to find schools in your area – again all you need is your Postal Code:

Options after A-levels include work, apprenticeships, University or Further & Higher Education.

More info can be found at the link below:

School Closures

Schools tend to have periods of closure during certain parts of the year. These can differ slightly from school to school but in general the dates that schools close are:
Half term around February – this can range from a few days to a week
  • 2 weeks at Easter
  • Approximately 8 weeks during July/August
  • 1 week at the end of October
  • 2 weeks around the Christmas period
More information

Outside School Hours

Some, not all, schools offer breakfast clubs and after school clubs for working parents. There is usually a cost associated with these clubs. This is something to bear in mind when looking at schools.


Other options are finding a childminder or a nursery provider. A list of registered childminders can be found using the link below:

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Information can be found in the attached link below if your child has special educational needs:


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