Families with Children

The sections below provide further information on arrangements for childcare and education in the UK.


Nurseries (0-4year olds)

Nurseries provide childcare throughout the calendar year. Each nursery has its own working hours which are typically between the hours of 7.30am/ 8am – 6pm.

Nurseries accept pre-school children from as young as a few weeks old. The exact age varies from nursery to nursery.

Nurseries are popular so there is often a waiting list for a place. It is advisable to apply for a nursery place as early as possible.

At Keele we are fortunate to have our own state-of-the-art, purpose-built nursery for children from 12 weeks to school age. Situated on the campus it offers 128 places daily for Students, Staff and Community Users

Additionally, the Klub House runs to provide care for children from school age to 12 years during school holidays

Keely Day Nursery offers childcare between the hours of 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday.

Further information can be found on the Keele Day Nursery webpages. Please complete the application form to apply for a place.

There is a wide range of other nurseries available in the local area and you should find one that meets your needs. Nurseries can often have waiting lists and it is therefore important that you contact your preferred nursery to put your child’s name on the waiting list. Details of day nurseries by area can be found here.


Childminders will care for your child in their own home and tend to work on a self-employed basis. Childminders may offer flexible hours of care that may be less restrictive than those offered by nursery.

It is a legal requirement for a childminder to be registered and inspected by Ofsted.

You can search for a list of registered childminders in your area here.


Pre-schools tend to be based on school sites or in Community Centres and most are only open during school term-times. The opening hours and fees vary, with may pre-schools offering morning or afternoon sessions or both. You can search for a list of pre-schools in your area here.

Childcare at your home

You can employ a nanny, au pair or a babysitter to provide childcare in your own home. Nannies, au pairs and babysitters are not required to register with Ofsted, however it is recommended you select a registered provided

Costs of pre-school childcare will vary depending on the type of childcare and provider.

From the term following the child’s third birthday (second birthday in some cases) all children are eligible for 15 hours per week (up to a maximum of 38 weeks per year) free of charge with a government registered childcare provider. This may be a nursery, pre-school or a registered childminder. Further information on free early education for three-to-four years old is available at gov.uk.

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is the Government’s new childcare scheme. It is not available through salary sacrifice; instead, the Government has decided to appoint National Savings & Investments, an executive agency of the Chancellor, to deliver the new scheme in partnership with HMRC. The following website gives you some details of the new scheme;


Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education and Child Services and Skills) are an independent regulator that inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages. They produce a report on all facilities that they inspect and these are available on the Ofsted website.

Schools (age 4 to 18 years)

If you and your child(ren) have the right to reside in the UK, then your child should be entitled to a free education provided by state schools. The following pages provide information on the school system in the UK. Further details can be obtained from gov.ukStaffordshire County Council web pages provide details of state schools in the region. If you live outside of Staffordshire your local council website should provide the required information for your area.

Children normally start school in the September following their fourth birthday. If your child was born on or after 1 September 1997 they will need to remain in some sort of education or training until their 18th birthday.

School hours are typically around 8.45am to 3.15pm, however some schools offer before and after school clubs which is chargeable.

You can search by type of school and location using the governments Get information about schools service.

Please note you will need a residential address to apply for a school place.

Details on applying for state school places can be found here. Independent private schools have their own admissions procedures, and so the exact process to follow should be checked directly with the school of your choice.

Most schools require a school uniform. Please check the schools website to see what the requirements might be.

Schools are either state (public) schools or private (independent) schools. The latter are not part of the state system and places are subject to a fee.

A brief overview of the types of school is provided below but further details can be found on the government website.

Children are required to attend school from the September following their fourth birthday.

Formal schooling is from years 1-6. In the year before Year 1 (Reception Class) the focus is on learning through play.

Children start their secondary education at the age of 11 years (Year 7) and continue until the age of 16 (Year 11).

At the end of Year 11, pupils take GCSE exams. The minimum numbers of exams and the kind of subjects which are compulsory differ from school to school, but will always include Maths, English and Science.

Pupils born after 1 September 1997 must remain in education or training until age 18. Options include:

  • After GCSE’s pupils may remain at school and enter the sixth form (where available). Sixth form represents the final two years of secondary education, where students prepare for their A-levels.
  • Stay in full time education at a college studying a vocational qualification
  • Start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Work or volunteer (for 20 hours or more a week) whilst in part-time education or training

If you have a child with disabilities, assistance in finding suitable childcare provision can be found here.

Children in the UK start school in the September after their forth birthday. Children born after 1 September 1997 must remain in some form of education or training up the age of 18. The Local Education Authority will provide a place, free of charge, for children in school.

Schools usually follow the National Curriculum which prescribes the subjects that are taught at school. It also establishes the standards that children are expected to reach at the end of every school year.

At the end of key stage 4, pupils sit examinations to acquire the ‘General Certificate of Secondary Education’ (GCSE) for each subject studied. Children born after 1 September 1997 must then do one of the following until they reach 18 years:

  • Stay in full time education e.g. continue into sixth form or attend college
  • Start an apprenticeship
  • Work or volunteer (for 20 hours or more a week) whilst in part-time education or training