Access to education and childcare
All children and young people arriving under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine have the right to access state education whilst in the UK. Attending school is vital in helping children integrate into the communities in which they are living.
In the UK, children aged 5 to 16 are required to be in full-time education. Parents and carers should contact the local council for guidance on applying for a school.
The local council supporting you and your family will assist you with accessing this. This can either be:
- within a free state-funded school
- within an independent school (otherwise known as a private school or public school), which will normally charge fees for your child’s education; or
- you can choose to home-educate your child.
Early Years and Childcare information
Early Years resources and children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities
In England, early years care and education is not compulsory but is available for all children up to the age of five, including children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). Play provision is also available through breakfast clubs, after school clubs and school holiday play schemes. As a parent or carer, it is your choice if you want your child to attend one of these provisions and it is up to you to decide which type will best meet your needs.
Early years education in England follows a play-based approach and you can expect your child to spend their time becoming involved in lots of different play activities inside and outside. All early years provision follows government guidance which includes regulations about things like:
- staff numbers and qualifications
- how to keep children safe
- the curriculum that is followed.
Children’s books in Ukrainian
Cambridgeshire Libraries now has a collection of brand new children's books in Ukrainian. Those wishing to borrow books can pop into the Cambridge Central Library and have a browse. Collections are also available at St Ives and Ely libraries.
Alternatively, guests can request books for free on a child’s library card to be delivered to their local library anywhere in Cambridgeshire and pick them up from there. You can find the locations of local libraries here Your library - Cambridgeshire County Council. You can also browse the library service’s e-book selection on Libby
- Day Nursery - Usually open from 8am to 6pm all year (excluding bank holidays). They take children from 0 to 5 years and may offer care for older children in the school holiday or after the school day is over. Meals and snacks are usually included in the fee.
- Pre-school - Usually open from 9am to 3pm in school term time. They usually take children between 2 to 5 years and will offer morning, afternoon, or sometimes full day sessions. Meals are not normally included and so you might be asked to provide a packed lunch for your child.
- Childminder - Registered childminders are self-employed childcare professionals who work in their own homes caring for other people’s children. They care for small numbers of children in their home-setting and will often care for a range of ages. Childminders can be flexible and offer patterns of childcare to support many families. Just like other provision, childminders are regulated and inspected. Some childminders can offer funded early education sessions for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds.
- After School and School Holiday Clubs - Usually open between 3:30pm and 6pm and are often situated on a school site. There will be a fee for your child to attend which usually includes snacks and drinks. You can ask for details at the school your child goes to.
How to find early years or childcare provisions
How is childcare funded?
Every 3-year-old can attend an early years provision for 15 hours a week starting in the school term after their third birthday. This is fully funded by the Government.
Depending on your financial circumstances your child may also be eligible for:
- 15 hours of early years funding from the school term after their second birthday
- 30 hours of early years funding from the school term after their third birthday
Check what funding your child could be eligible for.
Children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND)
Early Years providers often support children with SEND and may be able to apply for additional funding to help your child. If your child has SEND and you would like advice about early years provision, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Education System in England
A guide for parents about the education system in England
There is guidance available from The Bell Foundation for parents on how to get involved in school life and to help their child to learn. There are guides covering several useful topics, covering topics such as primary and secondary schools. These guides are in a number of languages including Ukrainian and Russian.
Children of families who come to the UK under the Government schemes are entitled to a school place. In England you are required to ensure that any of your children aged five to 16 receive a full-time education. Children will normally begin to attend school, full-time, in the September after their fourth birthday but you have the option of taking up a place part-time until the start of the term immediately after the child turns five.
Alternatively you can keep your child at home or in nursery while they are four and apply for your child to start school from the start of the term following their fifth birthday – although your choice of school may be more limited. It is likely, at least in your first year, that you will need to apply for ‘in-year’ admissions.
Cambridgeshire County Council is responsible for education in Cambridgeshire. Please visit their website for information on how to apply for a school place for your child.
Anyone who is encountering problems finding school places can email the admissions team: SPOS.Admissions@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
Free school meals
Cambridgeshire County Council has shared an application form that eligible guest families can use to apply for temporary entitlement to Free School meals and Holiday Vouchers [PDF, 0.2MB].
The rules on school transport mean that if guests move locations, transport is only provided to the designated school that children should attend in their new location – this will be the catchment school and/or the school closest to the child’s address. This will mean it is likely parents will need to talk to Cambridgeshire County Council to arrange moving schools, or provide alternative transport themselves.
There are some circumstances whereby free travel assistance may be available to pupils on a case-by-case basis, however to qualify for this service you must meet the eligibility criteria. More information can be found on Cambridgeshire County Council’s website.
Student and University Support
Support Scheme for visiting Ukrainian Postgraduate Research Students and Academics
The Ukrainian Academic Support Scheme has been set up to support colleagues from Ukrainian Universities and other Higher Education Institutions who are seeking refuge from the war - has now closed to ‘registration of interest’. However, the scheme hopes to reopen for ‘registration of interest’ again in the future.
The scheme is providing funding for up to 20 Postgraduate research students and academics from Ukraine, irrespective of nationality, to continue their studies and research in Cambridge for a period between 6 to 12 months. It offers financial support, accommodation and access to a range of university services. Applicants are expected to remain employed (academics) or enrolled (Postgraduate Research students) at their home institution in Ukraine.
More details can be found on the University of Cambridge website.
Future work or education opportunities
Help for refugees aged 15 to 25 to discover future work and education opportunities
Form the Future is part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning and offers help to unemployed Ukrainian refugees aged 15 to 24 years old to figure out what to do next in education or employment.
Examples of the activities available are:
Basic skills, such as language and numeracy
Personalised CV and application writing support
Future career path needs assessment
Bespoke 1 to 1 Career guidance and mentoring
Self-employment and micro-business training
Personal development and confidence building activities