Education in the UK is compulsory for all children between 5 and 16 years of age and is normally free of charge. Primary education begins the year a child turns 5 until they are 11. Children then move to secondary school where they stay until they reach 16-18 years of age. These are normally state funded schools which are free to all children up to the age of 16. You could choose to send your child to an independent school (private/public school), but would then pay for their education. When you have found a school you would like your child to attend, you should make an appointment with the Head Teacher to discuss whether they have places available.
Upon starting school, you will be expected to make sure that your child has basic stationery (pencil, ruler, etc.), but the cost of more specialised equipment and books are covered by the school. You will be expected to pay for your child’s school uniform and items of sportswear. Charges may also occur for school dinners (unless you are providing a packed lunch), as well as music lessons and board/lodging on any school trips.
You can search schools and apply for a school place through the Education Authority and find more information on the school system through the NI Direct website. Please note that you cannot register your children for enrolment until you arrive in the UK.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
If your child has a statement of special educational needs, they will usually go to an ordinary school, play group or nursery. However, you can also ask for them to go to a special school.