Access Keys:

Convent of Mercy Nursery, Folly Lane, Downpatrick, County Down

Applying to Nursery School


Nursery & P1 Placements for September 2022 Notification Parents who applied online will be able to access the outcome of their application from Thursday 28th April. If you applied for a Nursery place - check your email & JUNK email for an email from the



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.


You will need an email address to initially register & then a link will be sent to this address.

If you have used the Application Portal for older children then you will not have to set up an account yet use your email address & previous password as then the whole family’s information can stored in one account.

When applying select TARGET NURSERY not Reception

Type in your postcode & a list of local nurseries and playgroups will be displayed.

  • Read the other local Nursery schools and playgroups information to compare the different criteria's used and where your child may be more likely to be awarded a place.


  • Do apply to up to six settlings in order of preference - we are often oversubscribed and if you just put one setting and are unsuccessful you will not be considered for other settings until the end of the whole process.


  • A list of possible verification documents can be found below – it is vital that you ensure the documents are from the list stated – as we will not be able to process your form. Example: providing a driving license – has it an issue date within the last three month? Yes – we can accept.  No – not accepted. 


  • Please ensure all documents have a date within the last three months. Please note that verification documents must be in the name of the parent/s or guardian listed on the application form (currently only one name can go on the application - therefore if living in the same house - please add both parents names to the Additional Application Information section). 

In the Additional Application Information 

  • State both parents names and we will be able to accept proof of address named in both parents names. Otherwise it can only be in the name of the parent listed on the application form.


  • SEN - if you believe your child has additional needs yet has not been referred or statemented - please give details in this section as we can then guide you to the appropriate referral services.  

The application procedure opens on 10th 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 No: 52 (Full-time) -  Nursery Opening Times: 8:30am – 3:30pm -  Session Times: 9:00am – 1:30pm

Enquiry calls 9.00-12.30 or 2.00-4.00 from January 7th

Full Admissions criteria

Admissions Criteria
A timetable of pre-school admissions procedures setting out the dates by which an application is to be submitted is available at under ‘Pre-School Admissions’. 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.

As the pre-school admissions procedure is in two stages the timetable also specifies the relevant dates at Stage 2 which will determine if an application is to be considered as punctual or late. 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 2018 and 1 July 2019.
2 Other children born between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.
3 If any places remain vacant after the above criteria have been applied, applications will be considered from children born between 2 July 2019 and 1 July 2020. 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.
Admissions criteria for entry September 2022

Updated November 2021
(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 4th February 2022. 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 FROM THE DATE when provided as evidence.

  • Bank or building society statement
  • Utility bill (for instance Electricity, Gas, Television Licence, Telephone LANDLINE 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 or uploaded to the EA Document Hub.

Postal submissions of the birth certificate or proof of address MUST 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 2022/2023

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)