Annual admissions notice and policy changes: what you need to know 

Keith Mooney, Patronage Officer 

All schools should have an Admissions Policy that is in line with agreed templates and has been approved by their patron.  

Templates for Educate Together member schools are available from

 Annual Admissions Notice  

  • The board of management must prepare and publish the school’s Annual Admissions Notice at least one week before a school can start its annual admissions process. 
  • Schools cannot accept applications before October 1st for the following school year.  
  • The annual admissions process must remain open for at least three weeks. 
  • The notice must be published on the school’s website for the duration of the school year and must also be available on request from the school.  
  • Annual Admissions Notices must contain certain information. For more information on what must be included please see the Department of Education website. 

Requests for changes to a school’s current policy 

Schools that wish to make changes to their current policy should be aware of the process that must be followed if they wish to change their approved admissions policy. For example:

  • Schools that have been sanctioned by the Minister to open an additional class for students with additional needs, or schools who wish to make small amendments to their current priority categories, such as the age range of students, etc. should consult their school community and hold a board meeting to discuss the consequences of any change. Then they should submit the policy in word format to to be reviewed, with an outline of the proposed changes. 

Should schools wish to introduce greater changes such as;  

  • a reduced catchment area within their planning area and/or 
  • proximity to the school within the planning are as measured by GPS and/or 
  • feeder primary schools within the school’s planning area that are within the reduced catchment area (all primary schools within the reduced catchment should be included). 

They should, after the consultation with the school community, hold a board meeting, at which the issue and any consequences of the proposed change to their admissions policy are discussed. 

This discussion shall consider: 

The issues that have arisen with their current admissions policy which had led to this decision, 

The consequence of any proposed change to: 

  • Students already enrolled in the school 
  • Students who wish to enrol in the school in the coming years, for example:  

“Under the old policy, 25 students were offered places in category A, 25 in category B, etc.  

If the new policy applied, 5 students would be offered places in category A, etc. With the results that offers could be made sooner to applicants living in X” 

  • The connection of the school with its wider community 
  • Any reputational implications for the school 

If after this discussion the board of management agrees that there are substantial reasons for changing the current approved policy, it should prepare a written report on the proposed change and contact the national office to take advice on the viability of these changes. 

A copy of the minutes of the details and outcome of the consultation and the board discussion should be forwarded to with the application. 

The national office will then review the board’s report and may seek further information if necessary to help understand the proposed change. The national office will advise the board whether their proposed change is viable, and in keeping with current Educate Together policy. If legal advice or wider consultation is requested, the school board must seek this out and provide a report. 

The national office will then review the report and make its own report to the patronage and membership subcommittee of the Board of Directors. 

The patronage subcommittee gives approval for the policy with the agreed changes and the approved policy will be returned to the school by the national office and should be published on the school’s website within two weeks of approval.  


A reasonable amount of time should be allowed for this process to be completed. Initial requests for changes should be submitted to the national office by March 31st and completed reports by May 14th.