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Students with children

If you are studying with us and you have a family with you, there is a wide range of information, support and advice available. If you are an international student, you may also wish to see our information for dependants of international students.

  • Nursery and childcare

    Colchester

    Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery

    We have a large, purpose-built day nursery located at our Colchester Campus, set in beautiful surroundings. We have been providing excellence in childcare since 1978, and we're open to all from three months to five years plus a summer holiday club for five to eleven year olds. We have a dedicated team of approximately 50 members of staff.

    Children's and toddlers' groups

    If you're studying at our Colchester Campus, there are a number of different children's and toddlers' groups in and around Colchester that you might want to join to help support you and your children. These include daytime activity sessions and toy libraries. Many are supported by Essex County Council.

    Vacation groups

    The Sports Centre at Colchester Campus runs an activity club during the vacations for 8 - 14 year olds called CHUMS. The Day Nursery play scheme for children of primary school age also runs during half-terms by the Day Nursery.

    Southend

    There is a large purpose-built day nursery (Jungle Cats) at the Southend Campus at South Essex College for children from three months to five years of age. It is run by fully trained and qualified staff and is open on weekdays all the year round, except for Bank Holidays, one week at Christmas and two staff development days. If you would like further information, please contact the Day Nursery Team who will also able to arrange for you to visit if you wish.

    Car seats

    According to UK law children must be safely secured when travelling by car. Children under three years must have a child restraint appropriate for their age, height and weight whether or not the child is travelling in the front or rear of the vehicle. If an appropriate restraint is not available, it is illegal for a child to travel in the vehicle.


  • Schools for children under 16

    Children in the UK are legally required to attend school at the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday. Parents are legally responsible for making sure their child receives a full-time education and if they fail to attend regularly it is an offence and can result in your prosecution. Children attend primary school until they are 11 and then secondary school until the age of 16.

    For Colchester and Southend, applications are made to the County Council and you must apply by the deadline date, failure to do so will mean that your application will have a lower priority. Whenever possible you will be offered a place at your preferred school, but there is no guarantee.

    If you intend to bring children it is important that you contact schools as soon as you can. This helps the schools plan for any specialist help that may be needed, such as English language tuition.

    Term dates for Essex schools

    Term dates for primary and secondary schools are different to the University's term dates. Though they also work on a three-term structure there will be half-term holidays and various non-pupil days to allow for teacher training. Essex County Council provide details of school term dates.

    Holidays and absences

    Absences during the school term must be authorised by the school and are only usually agreed in certain circumstances. A request is not usually agreed if it is for a family holiday. If the school do not agree to an absence you could be fined by the local authority.

    If you would like to take a family holiday we recommend you plan for it to take place when the school holidays coincide with the University vacations, there are usually two weeks at Easter and Christmas and approximately six weeks in the summer when this is the case.

    Primary schools

    Colchester

    The following three schools are located in areas close to the Colchester Campus, if you would like your children to attend one of these schools they would be pleased to hear from you direct.

    Southend

    For details of schools in Southend, please contact your Student Services Hub.

    Secondary schools

    The entry age for children into secondary education in the UK is eleven years of age. The majority of schools in Essex cater for children of all levels of academic ability.

    Further information

    For further information on primary and secondary education and schools in Essex:

    We recommend you read the UKCISA's information on schooling for your children. There are links to some useful guidance produced by the British Council and the UK government as well as a guide to schooling in England commissioned by Action for Social Integration, this is aimed at newly arrived migrants and refugees and helps to explain the British Educational system.

    Assistance with school admissions

    If you need some advice and guidance regarding the school admissions process the Essex Choice Advice Service (.pdf) may be able to help you. This is a free, independent and confidential service for parents and carers who may need some additional assistance to guide you through the process of applying for a school.

  • Academic matters

    Attendance

    Many of the University's courses require a high level of attendance at lectures and seminars. If you feel that you are struggling with your attendance you should contact your course tutors in the first instance and discuss your situation with them to see if any special arrangements can be made.

    Deadlines

    The University operates a uniform course deadline policy on late submission of coursework. Work which is submitted after the set deadline will be given a mark of zero unless you can show satisfactory evidence of extenuating circumstances.

    Undergraduate

    Postgraduate taught

    Postgraduate research


  • Money matters

    If you have children or other dependants who rely on you financially, you may be eligible for additional financial support. Further details can be found on the Government support pages for undergraduate and postgraduate students. You may also find useful our information for mature students or our pregnancy information.

    Studentparents.org has a printable budget calculator.

    Full-time UK undergraduate students who are parents should be eligible for some or all of the following.

    Lone parents

    In addition to the above, students who are lone parents may be eligible for:

    • Income Support/Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit. Because of the way student funding income is treated in calculating these benefits, sometimes single parents can only receive them in the summer vacation (approx. 9 weeks)

    Some of these entitlements will depend on the age/s of your child/ren. Some may not be available to you if you have had previous study at higher education level or already have a degree. The Student finance pages have further information about benefits eligibility for students.

    International students

    International students should ensure that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants for the duration of their studies. UKCISA detail the level of funds, as specified by UKBA, that students need to qualify for a visa.

    Council tax

    Find out about Council Tax exemptions and discounts for students.

  • Accommodation

    Colchester

    SU lets provides information about private rented accommodation in the Colchester area.

    Southend

    Accommodation for students with families in Southend is organised through the private lettings scheme.

    Financial support

    The University has a small loan fund to assist new international students with families. Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to borrow up to £1,000 for the purpose of renting a property. Further details are available from your Student Services Hub.

  • External links

    Student Parents offers practical information for student parents including funding information and real-life case studies.