Parents considering sending their children to this Nursery Unit are invited to make a prior visit to see the school and to talk to the Principal and staff.  An Open Day is also held each year.  The admission arrangements as set out in the EA booklet “A Guide for Parents Pre-School” will be used.     Applications can be made via the online portal at


Our policy is to admit children in small groups during the month of September to enable them to settle into the school.  Parents are  encouraged to support this settling in policy.


The Admissions Criteria will be applied by a Selection Committee consisting of the Principal and three Governors subject to the final approval of the Board of Governors.


Children who are not normally resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed application will not be considered for places until all children who live in Northern Ireland have been considered.


When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or attached to the application form. Parents/Guardians should therefore ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admissions criteria is stated on the application form or attached to it.


The Board of Governors of Cooley Primary School have determined that, in the event of there being more applicants than places available the following criteria will be applied, in the order set down, to select children for the available places.


Admissions Criteria

A timetable of pre-school admissions procedures setting out the dates by which an application is to be submitted is available at under ‘Pre-School Admissions’.  During the admissions procedure when applying the criteria punctual applications will be considered before late applications are considered. 


The application procedure opens on 10 January 2022 at 12noon (GMT) and an application submitted by the closing date of 28 January 2022 at 12noon (GMT) will be treated as a punctual application.    An application received after 12noon (GMT) on 28 January 2022 will be treated as a late application.


As the pre-school admissions procedure is in two stages the timetable also specifies the relevant dates at Stage 2 which will determine if an application is to be considered as punctual or late.


Statutory Criteria

1        Children from socially disadvantaged circumstances born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.

  1. Children born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.


Note: Children from ‘socially disadvantaged circumstances’ means a child whose parent is in receipt of (i) Income Support, or (ii) Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or (iii) an award of Income Support which has been converted into an Employment and Support Allowance and the level of benefit remains the same, or (iv) Universal Credit. When parents apply for places for their child on this basis they must provide Benefit Verification to confirm that they are in receipt of a qualifying payment.  This should be provided to the Pre-School of first preference and the application procedure for Pre-School will outline how this can be submitted.


Non-Statutory Criteria

  1. Other children born between 2 July 2019 and 1 July 2020.


If there are more pupils satisfying the last criterion, which can be applied, then selection for the remaining places will be on the basis of:


  1. Children whose brothers/sisters, half-brothers/half-sisters, step-brothers/step-sisters or legally adopted brothers/sisters who are presently enrolled in or have previously attended Cooley Primary School or Cooley Nursery Unit or who are the eldest/only child in the family.

  2. In the event of over-subscription in the last criterion which can be applied for children born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019, selection will be made using the random alphabetical tie-breaker (based on the initial letter of the surname as per the birth certificate) as listed below.

  3. In the event of over-subscription in the last criterion which can be applied for children born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019, selection will be on the basis of chronological age – enrolling the oldest child first. In the event of two or more identical dates of birth, selection will be made using the random alphabetical tie-breaker as listed below.


W  N  B  Mc  K  U  H  D  Mac  C  Z  P  X  L  S  F  A  J  R  G  Y  E  M  V  T  I  O  Q

The order was determined by a randomised selection of letters. In the event of surnames beginning with the same letter the subsequent letters of the surnames will be used in alphabetical order. In the event of 2 identical surnames the alphabetical order of the initials of the forenames will be used as per the birth certificate.


Duty to Verify

The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on any application form. 


If the requested evidence is not provided to the Board of Governors by the deadline given, this will result in the withdrawal of an offer of a place.  Similarly, if information is supplied which appears to be false or misleading in any material way, the offer of a place will be withdrawn.


Waiting List Policy


Should a vacancy arise after 9 June 2022 all applications for admission to Nursery that were initially refused, new applications, late applications and applications where new information has been provided will be treated equally and the published criteria applied. This waiting list will be in place until 30 June 2022. The school will contact you in writing if your child gains a place in the school by this method. Your child’s name will be automatically added to the list. Please contact the school if you wish your child’s name to be removed from the list.


If parents have any difficulty in completing the form, then they should consult the Principal of the school. The same criteria will be used for applications after 1 September 2022.


Parents should also note that if their child is seeking nursery provision for the 2nd year they MUST reapply.