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What rules are in place for immigrants going to school in the UK? Find out now…

Relocating to a new country like the UK is overwhelming, and when it comes to education, it’s important that you understand you and your children’s rights.

Whether you have applied or secured British citizenship, have a settled status, or indefinite leave to remain, you and your children will have the right to education within the UK. Depending on their age and level of education, the guidelines and restrictions regarding your application may vary, for instance between primary school and university.

In the following article, we’ll discuss the rights of immigrants regarding education in the UK, the different types of education, and whether or not you can apply with your immigration status.

Can your child go to school in the UK?

Every child between the age of 5-18 living within the UK has the right to an education. However, for individuals over the age of 18, immigration status can affect what type of education you are able to access.

For example, if you are an asylum seeker, you may find there is a no study condition that can prevent you from attending education within the UK.

Children who are not British citizens between the ages of 5 and 18 are able to attend state-funded schools within the UK. That said, different visas have different rules regarding the education of children.

If you and your children are from a non-EEA country and are visiting the UK for a holiday or to visit family/friends, your child does not have the right to go to school in this short time frame.

Additionally, there are limitations to the type of education individuals with Tier 4 visas can access. In this instance, they can only receive an education from an independent fee-paying school.

Key rules and tips regarding education in the UK

There are a few key things you will need to know when it comes to education in the UK. This includes:

  • Children living in the UK must be in education between the ages of 5 to 18.
  • Primary school is for children aged 5-11.
  • Secondary school or high school is from 11-16.
  • After the age of 16, children may choose to continue with education by attending college/sixth form, or follow an alternative form of education like training or an apprenticeship.

If your child’s visa status is unknown what can happen?

In the event that a school is not aware of the status of a child’s visa, they are not legally able to do anything until the child’s parents have been informed. This includes refusing a child’s application or asking them to leave their current place of learning.

To ensure that the rights of a child living in the UK are carefully considered at all times, there are strict processes in place regarding education. If you believe these processes are not being met, it’s crucial that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Applying to state schools as an immigrant

State funded schools are one of the most common forms of education in the UK. They are funded by government taxes and, as such, children receiving an education there do not have to pay any school fees.

There are many different types of state schools that children who were born overseas can choose to attend, these include:

  • Grammar schools
  • Boarding schools
  • Academies
  • Free schools

Each of these differ slightly, with the main difference being that students attending Grammar schools do so because they live in the correct catchment area and have taken an examination to get in. On the other hand, boarding schools differ as they require the children to live on the property, whereas academies and free schools run independently and don’t follow national curriculum.

Can you apply to a sixth form or college?

No matter what your immigration status is, children between the ages of 16 and 18 are able to apply to colleges and sixth forms.

Whilst applying to a state school does not require you to have receive a particular entry requirement (with the exception of grammar schools), applying to a sixth form or college will require you to have the correct qualifications.

This is generally delivered in GCSEs but, if you have another qualification that shows the same level of skill, it can be used instead.

If you have one of the following immigration statutes, you will be able to study at a college or a sixth form without paying any fees:

  • Refugee status
  • Limited leave to remain
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Discretionary leave to remain

Other statutes may have different rules, so it is always worth checking. For instance, if you are being cared for by child services, they will provide financial support.

Is it possible to go to a university in the UK as an immigrant?

Unless you have a particular immigration bail condition, you have the right to apply for university.

Like applying to sixth form and college, there are requirements you need to meet in order to be accepted onto a university course. Depending on the institution, you may also be required to have a good understanding of the English language.

Additionally, you will need to have the appropriate qualifications. Generally, this will require you to have A levels, AS levels, or a qualification of equal value. The particular grade you will need depends on the course you want to apply for. For example, to study English Literature you may require a higher grade in English than you would if you wanted to study Physical Education.

When it comes to university, you will also be required to pay a course fee. Depending on your immigration status, the amount that you will have to pay can vary significantly.

Education in the UK as an Immigrant

As you can see, there are various things you should know about educating your kids in the UK. Be sure to seek the advice of a solicitor in the immigration industry to help you get everything right.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only. Be sure to consult a solicitor if you want advice regarding your immigration status and right to an education in the UK. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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