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.
If you are planning to bring your family with you to the UK (or they are already here and you haven’t told us about it yet), please complete this short online form. This will help us to support you and ensure you are kept up-to-date with relevant information and events.
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. Read Adebimpe's student blog for tips on booking family accommodation.
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.
For further guidance about finding private rental accommodation in Bournemouth, please visit our relevant private rental accommodation webpage.
Living in the UK may be more expensive than your home country. Similar to many other countries we are experiencing inflation, which means that the cost of everyday items, such as food and basic provisions, is increasing. On our website we have shared guides to living expenses for undergraduate and postgraduate courses which you may find helpful. Please note that these are estimates for the costs for one person and will be considerably higher if you bring dependents.
The additional information on this page regarding accommodation, schools, nursery and childcare will also be useful to you when planning your budget for studying in the UK with dependants.
If you have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge you will be entitled to free antenatal care on the National Health Service (NHS) when you arrive.
It will be important for you to register with a GP (General Practitioner/doctor) as soon as possible once you arrive in the UK. When you or your spouse registers with the GP you should tell them that you are pregnant to that they can also register you with a midwife and schedule any necessary appointments.
If you are a student, you can register with the Medical Centre on campus, but this is for students only and not their dependants. For dependants, the NHS website has a search function which allows you to find a GP close to your address in Bournemouth. It may be easiest for your whole family to register with the same GP Practice.
We believe that becoming pregnant or caring for a child should not in itself prevent any student from succeeding in their studies. BU is committed to showing as much flexibility as possible to facilitate students’ success whilst ensuring academic standards are not compromised. However, please be aware that if you or a member of your family is pregnant, you still need to abide by the terms of your visa. There are strict rules on absence from the course. These do not allow for any absence longer than 60 days (not including official vacations) and you must still be able to complete the course within your original visa. Any prolonged absence, including because of pregnancy and maternity, must be discussed in advance with the university to ensure that the absence will not affect your visa. If you need longer than 60 days or the absence will affect your ability to complete in the original timescales, we are required to report this to the UKVI, who will cancel your visa and you will be required to leave the UK and return once you are able to resume your studies on a new visa. This is beyond the control of the university and not something that we are permitted to be flexible with.
Nursery & Childcare
Please note that children of any age are not permitted in classrooms or other teaching spaces.
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.
You can find a list of other local childcare providers on the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council website.
SportBU offer kids ‘camps’ to help with childcare during the school holidays:
Kids’ holiday camps | Bournemouth University
You should apply for a school place for your child as soon as possible. You can do this even before you have arrived in the UK. For detailed information about schools in Bournemouth, how to apply and also how to access any funding that you may be eligible for to help with the costs of school meals, transport and holiday clubs, please download and read our useful guidance document (pdf, 148kb).
Finding out about school places
The School Admissions team at Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council has told us that places at schools in the BCP area are currently extremely limited. In some year groups, Bournemouth schools are completely full. You are more likely to find schools with vacancies in the Christchurch and Poole areas, outside of the town centres, so you may wish to take this into consideration when searching for accommodation.
If you have more than one child, the lack of school spaces may mean that it is not possible for all of your children to attend the same school, so you will need to carefully consider how you will manage transport and getting your children to and from schools in multiple locations.
You can call the Children’s Information Service to find out which schools have places available or see the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council website.
How to apply
- You must complete a school application form
- The form is sent to the school by the School Admissions Team for a decision
- If the school you are applying for has spaces, you should arrange to visit the school
If you are refused a place
- Your child will be added to the waiting list
- For Year 3 upwards you can consider submitting an appeal.
- Apply for four different schools
- List them in the order you want them - your favourite should be listed first
- Answer all the questions asked on the form
- Make sure you name any sibling(s) on the application
- Check school policies and submit completed Supplementary Information Forms where relevant.
Academic testing – Grammar Schools
(For places at Bournemouth School, Bournemouth School for Girls, Parkstone Grammar School and Poole Grammar School)
- Your child must sit the entrance exam. Contact the school to arrange.
- Passing the test does not mean your child will be offered a place – the schools are full
- If your child passes the test it means they can go on the school’s waiting list and you can consider submitting an appeal.
Getting to school
- It is your responsibility to take your child to school. There are no school buses
- There are very few occasions when the local authority will provide help with getting your child to school
- If you are entitled to transport assistance from the local authority it will normally be a bus pass.
Information about schools
- Look at Ofsted Reports and School Prospectuses
- Read the admission policies for schools you are considering applying to
- Read our Parent’s guide at www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/schooladmissions.
For information about schools in the BCP Council area you can speak to a member of our teams:
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: