‘School places not allocated on first come first served basis’ parents told

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East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has received assurances that the recent website “crash” affecting the Education Authority’s online admissions application will not impact children entering pre-school and primary school this September.

Mr. Dickson said that he has received a number of calls from concerned parents who were trying to apply online yesterday when the process for applications opened for pre-school and primary school places for this coming September intake.

He indicated that many parents were concerned that their child could miss out, especially those applying for the limited number of pre-school places.

Mr. Dickson said: “Schools, particularly pre-schools, are oversubscribed in my constituency. It is understandable parents want to submit their application as soon as possible hoping to secure a place.

“Alliance contacted the Education Authority who confirmed that the system has not been able to cope.

“However, I assure parents that admissions are not based on a ‘first come first served’ basis. You can apply online until midnight on 31st January 2019 – so keep trying.

“Alliance is asking the Education Authority to consider if its online capabilities are sufficient to deal with peak demands. Likewise, to ensure better communications are in place to advise and support parents. Perhaps an online message displayed advising people to try again later would have reduced parents’ concerns.”

The Education Authority has stated: “The Education Authority is experiencing a high volume of activity in relation to pre-school and primary school admissions.

“Parents and guardians are reminded that the application process remains open for another four weeks until January 31, that places are not allocated on a first come first served basis and that schools and playgroups will not consider applications until after the closing date.

“If parents need any further help with their application or encounter any difficulties, we would ask them to contact our Admissions Helpdesk on 028 95 98 55 95 or email preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk or primaryadmissions@eani.org.uk.”