This article provides information for international students bringing a family with children to the UK.

Accommodation for families

You will need to seek private accommodation off campus. Families are not eligible to apply for University Halls of Residence.

For advice and support for students living in private accommodation, please contact the International Student Advisers.

Babies born in the UK

If you have a baby while you’re studying in the UK, you will need to find out how this might affect your studies. Student mothers will need to seek an authorised absence from their course leader prior to their baby’s birth. Dates will need to be agreed by the course leader and Department of Student and Academic Registration. This is particularly important for non-EU nationals as unauthorised leave from your course will affect the validity of your Student visa and you may also incur extra NHS charges. Once the baby is born, you will need to make arrangements with your own Embassy to obtain a passport. If you are from a non-EU country, your baby will require a Student Dependant visa. More information is available on UKCISA’s website.


If you have children, it’s likely that at some stage you will need to arrange childcare whilst you are studying at the University. The University Nursery is located on campus and is for student parents. Alternatively Portsmouth City Council lists information on nursery and pre-schools in the city.


Families with children between the ages of 5 and 16 will need to find out about the UK education system and plan where they will send their children to school.

Please see UKCISA’s guide on this.

Portsmouth City Council has a comprehensive Guide to Admissions for schools in the Portsmouth area.

State Schools

The UK state school system is divided into three types of schools

  • Nursery (Kindergarten) school for children aged between three and five years
  • Primary school for children aged between 5 and 11 years
  • Secondary school for children aged between 11 and 16 years.

Your children will be placed at a school near to where you live, so think about this when you’re looking for your accommodation.

Independent Schools

These are ‘private’ or ‘public’ school. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) lists all schools in the country that charge fees.

School term dates and holidays

The academic year for state primary and secondary schools runs from early September to late July. Please visit the school’s website for exact term dates as this may vary.

Taking children out of school

In the UK, parents do not have the automatic right to take their children out of school during term time. Parents can be prosecuted or fined if their children fail to attend school. Once your child is registered with a school, they will expect your child to attend throughout the term or you may face penalties.

You must obtain authorisation from the school in advance if:

  • you need to travel abroad with your child during school term
  • you wish to take your child out of school during religious festivals
  • your child is unable to attend school for any reason.

Muslim families 

Helpful information for Muslim families is available in this quick reference guide. The guide contains information on the Islamic Society of Portsmouth (ISOP), local mosques, muslim facilities on campus, international support services, halal food on campus and halal supermarkets across the city.


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