Living with your family in the UK

Get advice on education, accommodation and financial rights for dependants while they’re with you at Sussex.

Children and learning

There are several schooling options if you have children with you under the age of five. Children aged five and upwards must attend school.

Nursery and pre-school

You can send children under the age of five to a nursery and pre-school on campus.

The nursery is open every weekday from 7.30am to 6.30pm. It costs money to send your child to the nursery. See the fee options available, ranging from half-days to full weeks.

As a Sussex student, you get a 20% discount on the prices. Charges include food, nappies and baby wipes.

If you have a student visa, and you have children aged three or four years old on a dependant visa, you can claim 15 hours of free childcare every week from the government.

Apply early as the nursery is popular and places cannot be guaranteed. Do this before you leave your home country.

You must book and confirm a place for your child in advance. Email or see the Sussex childcare website.

There are other childcare services in the local area. Find registered childminders, nurseries and playgroups run by Brighton & Hove City Council.

Primary and secondary school

Children aged between five and 16 must go to school by law.

Your children are entitled to free education if they’re on a dependant visa. They don’t get free education if they’re in the UK on a Standard Visitor visa.

Schools are generally divided into:

  • primary schools, for children aged between four and 11
  • secondary schools, for children between the ages of 11 and 16.

Some types of school have a different system.

Children aged 17 and 18 must

  • stay in full-time education, or
  • start an apprenticeship, or
  • work or volunteer while being in part-time education or training.

See more about the school leaving age and UK law on school attendance.

Which school to choose

Find out about primary schools and secondary schools in Brighton and Hove.

More about UK schooling

See government advice about schools and education.


There is a limited amount of family accommodation available on campus. Find out about types of residences, fees and how to apply.

Private sector housing can be more expensive, so be realistic about costs before deciding to bring your family. Email for information on living in the private sector.


The cost of living in the UK is high and it can be expensive to support your family, particularly if you need childcare.

If you plan to bring your family with you, you will need to prove you have enough money to support you when applying for visas.

Getting benefits

Welfare benefits are provided by the UK government to help people with low incomes.

However, most international students and their dependants are usually not eligible to claim welfare benefits. This includes those from the European Union and European Economic Area.

The main reason for this is because benefits are regarded as ‘public funds’.

If you think you are entitled to support, see advice on benefits for international students.

Study with your family around you

You can use our on-campus family room, called the Sunflower Room, to study and have your family with you at the same time.

The family room is free to use and is based in Norwich House. It is fully furnished with toys and books for children of all ages. There is a bathroom, small kitchen and an outdoor play area.

Find out more about the family room and book it through the Students’ Union.

English language classes

If your partner is coming to Sussex with you, they can develop their English language skills with the Sussex Centre for Language Studies (SCLS).

Dependants can enrol on to fee-paying English courses. They will get a 10% discount on fees, although this does not apply to courses preparing people for degree study at Sussex.

At certain times of the year SCLS also provides free English classes. These are taught by trainee teachers and are popular with dependants.

More advice for families

The Family Information Service (FIS) is a free and impartial service which can give you detailed information and advice on childcare as well as information on services for families in the city. They can provide advice on:

  • registered childcare
  • free early education
  • children’s activities
  • family support
  • childcare careers
  • local childcare jobs.

Immigration issues for families

Read our immigration advice for students with families.

See more from Life as an international student