How to develop a school admissions policy


By Dideolu Adekogbe

Every successful organisation, including a school is administered with a structure for effectiveness.

Building robust, reliable, and effective system to run your business is crucial to the success.

Whether you are a team of one or have many employees, the quality of your services directly correlates with the quality of the systems that drive them.


From the New Penguin English Dictionary, the concept of policy is explained as a definite course or principle of action selected from among alternatives, especially in the light of given condition.

In summary, policy is an established course of action or plan reflecting the general goals and procedures intended to guide and determine decision.

Policy formulation

This is the development of effective and acceptable courses of action for addresssing what has been placed on the policy agenda for example Admission System.

What policies do

Policies are developed to help comply with the legal and social environment in which an organisation operates and also to build good will with both employees and customers.

Policies help shape the culture of an organisation.

To create appropriate policies, schools must decide on what areas require policy creation and must ensure that polices are written in clear terms and are readily available to stakeholders

Policy implementation

This is the act or process of making something such as an idea, plan, system, or law start to work and be used (Macmillan English Dictionary).

Admissions policy

This is a policy used by a school or other type of educational institution or organisation including statutory and mandatory governmental criteria, cycle, guidelines, process and procedure constituted in law or legislation for the admission of pupils into the school, educational institution or organisation.

The admission policy should be consistent with the constitution of the country and applicable laws.

In Nigeria, primary education is the education offered in the first strata of formal education ladder in the 9- years basic education. It is offered in the primary school to children of ages 6 12years, according to the National Policy on Education (NPE 2013:9).

The duration is 6years and followed by the 3years of the Junior Secondary School (JSS) where the learners graduate with a Basic Education Certificate as the first school-leaving certificate.

How to develop an admissions policy

The formulation of an admissions policy must be done with great caution. Although, school governing bodies are empowered to formulate within the framework of the Constitution of the country and National Policy on Education which determines the admissions criteria. This requires:

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1. Obedience to relevant legislation of the country

It is nevertheless realistic to accept that these policies are formulated within acceptable parameters and in accordance with the guidelines stipulated in the National Policy On Education.

In Section 1 Sub-Section 5, the National Policy on Education states that the Nigeria’s philosophy of education is based on the development of the individual into a sound and effective citizen.

The policy further stressed the full integration of the individual into the community, and the provision of equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens of the country at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system.

Early Childhood/Pre-primary Education

From the section 2 of the NPE, the issue of early childhood or pre-primary education featured as the type of education given in an educational institution to children prior to their entering the primary school.

This includes the crèche, the nursery and kindergarten (3months -6years) The purpose of pre-primary education in the national policy document takes care of all the three domains of education vis-à-vis the cognitive, the affective and the psychomotor.

Proper classroom tagging with ages:

Education levelAge
Creche 3 months – 2 years
Playgroup 2 years – 3 years
Nursery 1 3 years – 4 years
Nursery 2 4 years – 5 years
Kindergarten 5 years – 6 years
Primary 1-6 6 years – 12 years

State clearly that your school offers every class and use corresponding textbooks per class and not a year ahead books.

Things the admissions policy must cover

a. Applicants– The policy must aim to ensure that the Admission Policy is applicable to every new enrolment in the school from transfer learners to freshers.

b. Maintain Standard
Must be structured in such a way as to maintain the current standard of education provided by the school and not to compromise the ethos of the School.

C. No Discrimination
The school environment must provide safe place for all learners in such a way that the race, culture, religion and economic standing of the learner are in no instances an impediment to his or her access to, or progress in, any aspect of school life.

2 Admission criteria

a. Must state the application form fee in the school for collection or downloaded from the web site. A completely filled form with passport and other relevant document should be submitted in the school premises with the receipt of payment.

b. Must state who makes applications for the admission of a child into the school (parent/guardian/caregiver) to the school head.

c. Must state the appropriate age per class– For example learners applying for admission to Grade/primary 1 will have reached the age of six years by 30th September in the year of admission.

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d. Must show that appropriate test and interview will be conducted by either one of the following; the Head Teacher/Principal/ or Deputies.

e. Must state that Transfer Pupils/Students must have attained the required level of performance for admission to the school. Proof of previous education received, a copy of the latest school report.

f. Birth Certificate – Must state that any pupil/student for admission must have birth certificate and not declaration of age.

Documentation required

Parents/guardians/caregivers must present the following certified copies on registration:

Signed Application Form completed in full;

An official Birth certificate of child (unabridged);

Immunisation Certificate of Child: proof that the learner has been immunised against the following communicable diseases: polio, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis B; (Pre-school and primary classes)

1 (one) recent photograph of the child (ID size);

Proof of residence (e.g. water & electricity account, resident registration if applicable in your state, and residential address printed thereon).

Marital State of parent/guardians/care giver (The Decree of Divorce/Divorce Agreement, if applicable).

State of health of pupil/student

Latest progress report (This applies to all Grades/classes on transfer);

Any additional documents as may be prescribed by the School from time to time.

Compulsory payment of tuition as required by school

The payment of school fees is compulsory. The amount of the school fees is decided by the Board of Directors/school.

Parents/guardians/caregivers are obliged to provide written agreements regarding payment of school fees and in all, the prescribed school fees are paid in accordance with the directives of the school.

The completed admission form is received on or before the advertised closing date.

Registration deposit and the required Administration Fee must be paid before the learner will be accepted into class. (Your school will get there)

Parents will receive a Reference number from the school via SMS or a telephonic message.

Recommended course of action

Based on the applicable legislation and information provided to us by the department we recommend the following course of action:

All pupils/students should be admitted provisionally upon receipt of the written undertaking of the parent to pay the prescribed tuition fees.

  1. Successful applications– All successful applications are notified in writing via an sms.

In order to secure the place offered at the school, the acceptance reply form must be completed.

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The following documentation and information are included with the acceptance letter:
✓Dates of new parents/guardians/caregivers’ meetings.

✓The Parent Handbook (Code of Conduct) and Learners Handbook (Code of Conduct) which include the rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians/caregivers teachers and learners.

✓The acceptance reply form and conditions for acceptance. (Included in Registration form documents)

  1. Unsuccessful applications

All unsuccessful applications will be notified in writing.

Applications placed on a pending list will be given priority should a vacancy arise.

  1. Fraudulent/incomplete Documentation:

Applications for Admission will be declined and deemed null and void where a parent is found to have knowingly submitted fraudulent documentation or statements in their application for admission.

  1. Obligations of the parents

All parents/guardians/caregivers are expected to register their child/ren that are/is of compulsory school going age, at a school.

Failure to do so could result in prosecution;
Parents/ guardians/caregivers are expected to uphold the Parent Handbook (Code of Conduct) and Learners Handbook (Code of Conduct) which are not in conflict with the Ministry of Education;
Parents/guardians/caregivers are required to ensure that their child/ren attend school regularly.

The onus rest with the parent to inform the School if the learner is ill and/or cannot attend school for whatever reason;
Both parents/guardians/caregivers will
be responsible for the payment of school fees as determined and ratified by the directors of the School.

Parents/guardians/caregivers are encouraged to participate in their child/rens learning and schooling progress.

Capacity of the school

The capacity of the School is determined to provide adequately for the educational needs of all learners.

The final number of learners accepted into the School at any one time may vary on the basis of specific enrolments per grade in a particular year.

The capacity of the school is based on:
the number of teaching classrooms in the school
the physical dimensions/size of each classroom.
accommodate specific learning areas, co- curricular educational, cultural and sporting activities and facilities.
the need to provide adequate facilities e.g. toilet and change room facilities for all learners that are compliant with the Health & Safety Act and The National building Regulations.

Final notes

It must be clearly stated that attendance at the different levels in the school is not automatic for example the fact that a learner finished the pre-school does not guarantee the admission into primary if the conduct is questionable.

The school management reserve the right to determine what happens.

Learners will need to adhere to the same and all admission criteria and registration procedures.

Mrs Dideolu Adekogbe is the Lead Consultant, Florish-Gate Global Consult and National Coordinator, Bring Back Primary 6 Movement

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