How to enrol your child in primary school

Enrolling your child in primary school can be a nerve racking and worrisome experience for some. If you are lucky enough to live in an area of low demand, or perhaps somewhere with one or two schools, this process can be fairly straightforward. However for those living in cities, the opposite can be true.

Children can start primary school from the age of 4 and must be enrolled in school by the age of 6. Generally children tend to start school at 4. Parents can contact their school of choice and ask for an enrolment form, which can then be posted off for processing, or they can choose to use to send an online application.

For those living in urban areas, the search can often be more difficult. Competition for school places can be fierce, with many parents forced to apply to multiple schools in order to secure a place for their child come term time.

It is important in these instances to obtain a copy of the school enrolment policy. This will provide important information on how your child’s application will be treated in the event of over subscription and when the appropriate time for application is. The majority of schools in Ireland are denominational, with 96% coming under the patronage of a religious denomination, so if your child is not of the same denomination as the patron of the school you are applying to, then your child’s application may be moved to the bottom of the list.

In this scenario, parents may prefer to apply to multi-denominational schools such as the Educate Together schools where they are available, although a few denominational schools and many of the Gaelscoileanna do not include religion as a criterion in their enrolment policies.

Parents needing to apply to many schools, may wish to avoid the stress of individual school applications and paper receipts, if indeed the school does provide receipts, by using a account. This account will allow the parent to search for relevant schools, download their enrolment policy and apply to as many schools as they wish from the security of an online account. This ensures every school you apply to provides an acknowledgement/receipt and allows you to easily keep in touch regarding offer dates and school policies.

Currently schools do not provide offers of school places on the same date, which can sometimes lead parents to accept an offer on one school and later refuse it in favour of one of their first preference schools. As a result, school places can sometimes still open up right up to the first day of school.

Find out more information on school enrolment on our Enrolment Information page and get your questions answered on our forthcoming online enrolment system in our FAQs section. If you have any questions which are not answered here, please drop us an email to and we will be happy to help.