Key Stages

If you are settling in England and have a child aged 5 but under 16 you are required to ensure that they receive a full-time education.

This can either be:

• within a state-funded school, which cannot charge you for your child’s education;

• 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.

4-year-olds will normally also receive a full-time education in a primary school but you have the option of taking up a place part-time until the start of the term immediately after your child turns 5.

Alternatively, you can apply for your child to start school from the start of the term following their 5th birthday. Some schools will also provide education for young people aged 16-18. These young people can also apply to sixth form colleges - which normally provide education for young people aged 16-19 - or colleges of further education which can provide education for anyone aged 16 and over. 

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks, for example.