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Schools & Childcare


Schooling is compulsory in the UK for children between 5 and 16 years of age. This includes all children, whether they are UK nationals or not.

If your child is under 16 and will be with you as your dependent for more than 6 months, they should be able to go to a state primary or secondary school free of charge. 

Admission to state schools in Cambridge is governed by Cambridgeshire County Council. Please ensure you read the detailed guidance regarding admissions – this sets out the policy on admissions of children from overseas and the procedures that need to be followed to gain a school place for your child.

There are also private schools, which charge fees to attend. For a list of all private schools and guidance on how to apply, see the Independent Schools Council website.

You may teach your child at home, full or part-time (“home schooling”), but you must inform the school and your local council, if you choose this option.

Education in the UK is divided into primary (5 to 11 or 12), secondary (11 to 18), further education (over 16), and higher education (18 and over).

You can find more information about types of schools in the UK here.


Nurseries & Childcare

There is a wide selection of childcare facilities for children under 5 in Cambridgeshire. The University of Cambridge has a childcare office, which manages two nurseries solely for University staff. 

Their website also provides information about parental leave, financial support with childcare, and playschemes.

All child-minders, nurseries, and preschools are regulated by a government body known as Ofsted and are periodically reviewed and rated.

You can search the Ofsted reports for registered providers and find information about the different types of childcare available on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.

If you are returning to work or resuming your career after having a child, you might want to find out more about the Returning Carers Scheme from the University's HR department.


Children’s centres & activities

Children's centres provide health and family support services, and information for families with children up to 5 years old. 

Libraries have a wide range of children's books, activities and services – they can be a good source of information for what activities are happening locally.

You can also find information on fun things to do with children in Cambridgeshire here

NVS also runs child-friendly events and activities – you can find their programme here.

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