Access Keys:

Convent of Mercy Nursery, Folly Lane, Downpatrick, County Down
Illnesses We are aware that there are a number of viral infections & tummy bugs in the local community.  If a child has vomited or had diarrhoea they must wait 48hrs from the last incident before returning to school.  If your child is unwell for any other reason please inform the school promptly so we can plan together for their return to school.
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Applying to Nursery School



Some families are entitled to extra support with meals and uniforms for school. Link on the link below to watch for information on how to find out if you are eligible and how to apply for this support.


Full Admissions criteria


Summary of Admissions criteria for entry September 2021
In response to the Regulations issued by the Department of Education, the Board of Governors have drawn up the following Admissions Criteria.  Children who are not normally resident in Northern Ireland at the time of proposed admission will not be considered for places until all children who reside in Northern Ireland have been considered.

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

1 Children from socially disadvantaged circumstances who were born between 2 July 2017 and 1 July 2018.
2 Other children born between 2 July 2017 and 1 July 2018.
3 If any places remain vacant after the above criteria have been applied, applications will be considered from children born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019. Places will be allocated in strict chronological order (reference date of birth – eldest first).

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.

Admissions Sub-Criteria:

In the event of more pupils satisfying the last criterion, which can be applied, then selection for the remaining places will be on the basis of the following sub-criteria in the stated order.

(a) Children in their penultimate pre-school year who are currently attending the Convent of Mercy Nursery School.
(b) Looked after children (LAC) who are in their final pre-school year, defined by the Children NI    Order 1995 as children who are in the care of a Trust or who are provided with accommodation    by the Trust and have been referred to us by Social Services.
(c) Children residing in the Parish of Downpatrick. (*)
(d) Children residing outside the Parish of Downpatrick.
(*) Home is the child’s permanent place of residence during the application process – it is not the child minders or relatives address)

In the event of oversubscription in any of the above criteria, preference will be given to:

(i) Those applicants who have listed Convent of Mercy NS as their first preference.

(ii) On the basis of initial letter of the surname in the randomised order set out below which was created using The surname used will be as registered on the child’s Birth Certificate or as subsequently legally changed and documented.


The randomised selection will change each year using
In the event of surnames beginning with the same initial the subsequent letters of the surname will be used in
alphabetical order. In the case of as doubled barrelled surname the first surname will be used.

In the event of two or more children having identical surnames the alphabetical order of the initials of the forenames will be used. In the event that two or more children have the identical forename and surnames, selection will be made by allocating them a rank number and using to select the order.

Documentation submitted in support of your application should be provided to the first preference school before 12 noon on Friday 5th February 2021. If the requested evidence is not provided to the Board of Governors by the deadline, this will result in the withdrawal of an offer of a place.

Verification Documents

Any one of the following documents can verify child’s age or name.
‘Age – any ONE of the following original documents:

• Child’s Birth Certificate
• Letter awarding Child Benefit to the child or another letter relating to this benefit
• Child’s Medical Card
• Child’s passport
• Child’s adoption certificate

'Address – any TWO originals of the following with a date within the last three months when provided as evidence.

• Bank or building society statement
• Utility bill (for instance Electricity, Gas, Television Licence, Telephone - LAND LINE ONLY)
• Addressed payslip
• Letter awarding Child Benefit to the child or another letter relating to this benefit
• Mortgage statement
• Land and Property Services rates demand
• Financial statement such as ISA, Pension or Endowment.
• Current Driving Licence
• Rental agreement

The necessary documentation can be provided to the school between 8.30am – 3.30pm Monday to Friday.
Postal submissions of the birth certificate or proof of address should include the original documentation and a stamped addressed envelope for return of the evidence submitted.

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. If parent(s)/guardian(s) have any difficulty in completing the form they should consult the Principal.


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.




Information on the procedures for pre-school/school admissions in the school year 2021/2022, with post primary information to follow on Tuesday 2 February 2021.

Important Dates for your Diary

Information on the key dates in the school admissions procedure.

Admissions Videos and Guidance

Videos and guidance relating to the preschool and primary admissions process.

Admissions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions on school admissions.


Admissions Helpdesk

If additional information is required parents can contact the Admissions Helpdesk: 028 9598 5595  Monday to Friday (9am – 5pm)