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Sorting out childcare can be a big task. Thankfully there are lots of options available to you in the UK.

GOV.UK displays the most up-to-date childcare information for your local area.

Children aged 0-5

Childcare for children under the age of four is usually not available free of charge in the UK. The range and cost of childcare varies significantly but is generally expensive. Childcare is typically available Monday to Friday and not on weekends, it will also vary depending on nursery term times. 

Day Nurseries and Nursery schools

Nurseries accept pre-school children from as young as three months, but the exact age will vary depending on the nursery. Similarly, some schools have a nursery attached which children from aged three can attend on a part-time basis.


Childminders are registered individuals who look after children in their own home in return for payment.

To find out more about daycare or childminding within the Borough of Lewisham please visit

SU Nursery 

Onsite, Goldsmiths has a 25-place nursery for children aged between 3 months and 5 years. Staff who wish to use this service must apply for a place for their child, but please note that numbers are limited. 

All nursery staff are highly qualified and extremely experienced in early years' practice. 

Children aged 5 and over

In the UK, education is compulsory for children aged between 5 and 17, with a free place at a state school offered to all children.

Most parents chose to send their children to state school, however, the option of independent or homeschooling is available.

If you will be employed in the UK for 12 months or more, your child is legally required to attend school. The Local Education Authority will provide a place, free of charge, for them in a school near your residence.

However, different rules apply to those making applications for children not yet living in the UK. These rules are explained in the School Admissions Code.

School Structure  

There are four compulsory education stages: 

  • KS1 – 5-7 year olds (infant school)
  • KS2 – 7-11 years olds (junior school)
  • KS3 – 11-14 years olds (secondary school)
  • KS4 – 14-16 years olds (secondary school)

Primary schools often cater for KS1 and KS2, although they can be separate. At age 11, children will go straight from primary to secondary school, which is KS3 and KS4.

Young people in the UK are required to stay in some form of education till the end of the academic year in which they turn 17, although this does not necessarily mean staying in school.

Please speak with schools individually to find out more about:

  • Learning English
  • School meals
  • Transport
  • Bullying policy

To research schools in your area and to compare school performance visit GOV.UK.

School term dates

Each school has different term dates, however, most school years begin in September and end in late July. The academic year is split into three terms: Autumn, Spring and Summer. The average school day will run between 9am and 3.30pm.

Half-way through the term there is usually a one or two-week holiday, but this will depend on the school. Additionally, schools may run after-school activities which your child may be eligible to participate in.