It can be supportive to have your family around you while you are studying in the UK, however there are things that you need to consider carefully before moving your family to the UK.
Take your time to read carefully through this section. It will give you all the information you need to help you make the right decision for you – and your family.
Our immigration webpages include all the information you need about making a visa application for your dependents.
Our accommodation webpages have information about the very limited BU accommodation options available for couples and families and also a selection of links to local accommodation search websites.
Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to find private rental accommodation in Bournemouth, in particular if you have children. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you wait until you have found some suitable accommodation before you bring your family to join you in Bournemouth.
If you can find something suitable, the average cost of a 3 bedroom flat or house in Bournemouth is between £1000 and £1500 per month. However, the rental market is extremely competitive and therefore you may find that you have to pay more than this. If you do not have a guarantor in the UK, then you may need to pay a large deposit or several months’ rent in advance.
SUBU Advice can help you to understand contracts, deposits and your legal rights when dealing with private landlords.
Nursery & Childcare
You will need to pay for childcare for children before they reach school age. (Normally, children are expected to start attending school in the September after their 4th birthday.)
Childcare for children before the age of 4 or 5 is usually through a nursery or childminder.
Prices for childcare vary between providers, but you should expect to pay approximately £138 for 25 hours in a week. The NCT website has helpful information about the average costs of childcare.
In England, all children of age three and four are entitled to 570 hours of free childcare or early education each year, which must be taken over at least 38 weeks, for example, 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. This can be provided to children even if the family has No Recourse to Public Funds.
Talbot Woods Nursery is located on Talbot Campus. You should contact them as far in advance as possible if you would like to try to secure a place there for your child.
All of the above webpages frequently refer to funding available to help with childcare costs, however that information is aimed at local British residents and, if you are studying in the UK on a student visa, you will not normally be entitled to any government funding.
SportBU offer kids ‘camps’ to help with childcare during the school holidays:
Kids’ holiday camps | Bournemouth University
The school system in Bournemouth is structured as follows:
Reception Year and Years 1 – 6
Years 7 – 11
Sixth Form or College
Years 12 – 13
The school year starts at the beginning of September and finishes towards the end of July. There is a two week holiday for Christmas (December) and Easter (March/April), plus a one week “half-term” holiday in the middle of each term. School term dates are usually different to university term dates, so take this into consideration when planning childcare.
Normally, children are expected to start attending school in the September after their fourth birthday. School is compulsory from the age of 5 until 16. From the age of 16 – 18, children are expected to be in some kind of education or apprenticeship.
Deadlines for school applications are very early in the year, so most international students coming to the UK for the first time will miss those deadlines and need to make an “in year application” for their child to start school. This means that you will probably find your choice of schools is limited.
You need to have a confirmed address in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole before you can apply for a school place. If you are renting a property, this means you need to provide BCP Council with a copy of your new tenancy agreement giving property address and date of duration of tenancy. These must be signed by you and your new landlord.
It may be helpful to contact BCP Council as early as possible to enquire about which schools are likely to have places in the relevant year group/s for your child/ren. Then you can focus your accommodation searches in those areas.
Although there is no charge to send your child to school in the UK, there are costs involved which you should take into consideration. (You will not normally be entitled to the financial support that is available to UK families for costs such as school dinners etc.)
Costs per year (approximately):
- Uniform £100 (but ask your school about second-hand uniform sales to help reduce this cost)
- Swimwear £10
- School swimming lessons £50
- Excursions £40
- Pencil case and stationery £20
Most schools offer breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs for a fee to help with childcare for parents who are working/studying.
For more information about schools and applying for a place please see the Bournemouth Council website.
If you bring your dependants with you for the duration of your course, they are entitled to free treatment on the National Health Service (NHS). Your family will be able to join a medical practice in the area where you live. They will not be able to register with the University Medical Centre as this is only available to students. Children are entitled to free medication that is prescribed by the GP (General Practitioner).
If you are on a postgraduate course of more than 9 months, your dependant will normally be able to work full-time in the UK. If your dependant’s visa sticker/BRP does not allow them to work, please contact AskBU who should be able to check this for you and help to get any mistakes corrected.
It might be difficult for your spouse to settle in to life in the UK if they don’t speak much English.
If you have children, some schools might offer English language support for pupils and their family members who don’t speak English as a first language.
In addition, you may find the following free online resources helpful:
Cheap or free family activities and days out
There are plenty of fun things for you and your children to do in the local area without spending a lot of money. You can search www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk for more ideas.
You’ll be sure to find a park or play area nearby to where you live. These are all free to use and a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.
There are many libraries in the area operated by the Council. You and your children can join the library and borrow books and toys free of charge. The libraries offer a great programme of free activities for parents and children to attend together. This includes activities for older children in the school holidays and weekly Wriggle and Rhyme (for babies) and Toddler time (for 2-4 year olds).
There are also lots of other groups you can go to with your children. These groups are usually based in community centres or halls and the cost to attend them is minimal. There are usually refreshments and toys for the children to play with. This is a great way to meet other families in the local area. To find a group near you, look at your local church noticeboard or join the Dorset Mums facebook page.
The following webpages include helpful info about children’s sport activities: