International Student Support

Childcare and Schools

Creche, nursery and childcare facilities

If you want your children to attend the Queen's Creche you should contact the creche as soon as you are offered a place at Queen's (i.e. as far in advance of your arrival as possible).  There is usually a large waiting list and you are not guaranteed a place.  You can also choose to use other childcare facilities.  You will find more information about childcare from the Department of Health and Social Services

While the International Student Support Office will do everything we can to help you with your dependants, unfortunately for legal reasons we cannot recommend specific childcare facilities, or find places in childcare facilities for your child.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that you arrange childcare BEFORE you come to the UK.  If you have any concerns or queries about childcare arrangements, please contact us as soon as possible.


By UK law, it is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 16 to get a full-time education.  Guidance for school attendance in the UK can be found at the Department for Children, Schools and Families website.

Types of schools in the UK

Children's education in the UK begins with primary education at the age of five to eleven.  Children then move to secondary education where they stay until they reach at least 16 years of age, but can stay up until they are 18 years old.  These are normally local authority maintained schools and are free to all children between the ages of 5-16.  You could also choose to send your child to an independent school (private school) but you would pay for their education.

You are expected to make sure that your child has adequate stationary (e.g. pens, pencils, rulers, notebooks) but other costs such as more specialised equipment, text books, or examination fees is covered by the school.  You will be expected to pay for your child's school uniform and items of sportswear.  Charges may also be made for music lessons and for board and lodgings on residential trips.  When you have found a school you would like your children to attend, you must make an appointment with the Head Teacher to discuss whether they have places available.

Northern Ireland is devided into different Education and Library Boards.  For famillies living in the University area the Belfast Education and Library Board will be the one which is relevant to you. To find a list of schools in your area go to the Find a School area of the BELB website, select the type of school you are looking for and then type your postcode.