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Castle Gardens Primary School, Newtownards
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Admissions Criteria


The following criteria was used for intake 2022-23.

Criteria taking into consideration the new School Age (NI) Act that became law in Northern Ireland on 28 April 2022 will be finalised by EA in December 2022 and published here and will be available via the EA website

Respective Functions of the Board of Governors

The Board of Governors draws up the admissions criteria and delegates to an Admissions Sub-Committee, which includes the Principal, the responsibility for applying these criteria.

Open Events

Information regarding our Open Events can be found on our website Tours with the principal can be booked in December and January via the school website and social media.

Admissions Criteria – Year 1

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.

Admissions criteria are applied only if the number of applications received exceeds the number of places available.  The Board of Governors will be responsible for applying the admissions criteria.

It is essential to note that it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that all relevant information regarding the criteria for admission is included on the application or provided to the first preference school.

Only children of compulsory school age will be considered for admission.

If the school is over-subscribed children who are resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission will be prioritised according to the following criteria in the order set down from 1 to 4.

In the event that there are fewer applicants complying with a particular criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion will be admitted and the next criterion will be applied to the remaining applicants.

In the event that there are more applicants complying with a particular criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion will go forward to be considered under the next criterion and those not complying with that criterion will be eliminated.

Preference will be given to those children:

  • Children who have a child of the family* currently enrolled in Castle Gardens Primary School. Please list name(s) and current class(es).
  • Children whose home address has been assigned the postcode BT23. A child’s home address refers to his/her normal place of residence as listed on the application form.
  • Children who have had a child of the family* enrolled in Castle Gardens Primary School. Please list name(s) and year(s) of leaving.
  • Children who, at the date of their application, are the eldest child of the family to be eligible to apply for admission to the Castle Gardens Primary School.

* Child of the family is defined using the Department of Education’s Circular 2016/17, Open Enrolment in Primary Schools, Annex A.

Supplementary Criteria (for Y1 and Y2-Y7 intake).

In the event of over-subscription following the application of the above criteria in order, the following sub-criteria will be applied:

  1. priority will be given to applicants on the basis of the initial letter of the surname recorded on the child’s birth certificate using the randomly selected set of letters below and the application of the order of these letters.


In the event of surnames beginning with the same initial letter the subsequent letters of the surname will be used in alphabetical order. In the event of two identical surnames the alphabetical order of the initials of the forenames will be used as listed on the Birth Certificate.

  1. in the event that names are identical on birth certificates, priority will be given to age, eldest first, established by date-of-birth on their Birth Certificate
  1. in the event that supplementary criteria A) and B) are identical, the proximity of the child’s home to the school as measured in a straight line from the front door of the school to the front door of their home. Distances will be determined on the basis of measurements taken from Google maps. The measure distance tool will be used to determine straight line distances.

Priority will be given to pupils living closest to the school.

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. 

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 placement letters have been issued, all applications 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.

The waiting list will be in place until the end of the academic year applied for. Your child’s name will automatically be added to this list. Please contact us directly if you wish for your child’s name to be removed from the waiting list. 

Castle Gardens Primary School will contact you directly if your child gains a place by this method.

Parents must reply to the offer within 48 hours otherwise the next child on the waiting list will be offered the place.

Admissions Criteria - Year 2 to Year 7

In considering applications for admissions to Year 2 to Year 7 classes, the Board of Governors will apply the same criteria in the same order, 1 to 4, as listed for Year 1 intake.