Students with children

If you are studying with us and you have parental or guardian responsibilities for a child/children, there is a wide range of information, support and advice available. If you are an international student, you may also wish to see our information for dependants of international students.

Nursery and childcare


Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery

We have a large, purpose-built day nursery located at our Colchester Campus, set in beautiful surroundings. We have been providing excellence in childcare since 1978, and we're open to all from three months to five years plus a summer holiday club for five to eleven year olds. We have a dedicated team of approximately 50 members of staff.

Children's and toddlers' groups

If you're studying at our Colchester Campus, there are a number of different children's and toddlers' groups in and around Colchester that you might want to join to help support you and your children. These include daytime activity sessions and toy libraries. Many are supported by Essex County Council.

Vacation groups

The Sports Centre at Colchester Campus runs an activity club during the vacations for 5 - 14 year olds called CHUMS. Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery runs a holiday club for children of primary school age also runs during half-terms by the Day Nursery.


Southend on Sea Borough Council have information available on Early Years Childcare.

Car seats

According to UK law children must be safely secured when travelling by car. Children under three years must have a child restraint appropriate for their age, height and weight whether or not the child is travelling in the front or rear of the vehicle. If an appropriate restraint is not available, it is illegal for a child to travel in the vehicle.

Schools for children under 16

Children in the UK are legally required to attend school at the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday. Parents are legally responsible for making sure their child receives a full-time education and if they fail to attend regularly it is an offence and can result in your prosecution. Children attend primary school until they are 11 and then secondary school until the age of 16.

For Colchester and Southend, applications are made to the County Council and you must apply by the deadline date, failure to do so will mean that your application will have a lower priority. Whenever possible you will be offered a place at your preferred school, but there is no guarantee.

If you intend to bring children it is important that you contact schools as soon as you can. This helps the schools plan for any specialist help that may be needed, such as English language tuition.

Term dates for Essex schools

Term dates for primary and secondary schools are different to the University's term dates. Though they also work on a three-term structure there will be half-term holidays and various non-pupil days to allow for teacher training. Essex County Council provide details of school term dates. For Southend school term dates, please refer to Southend Borough Council.

Holidays and absences

Absences during the school term must be authorised by the school and are only usually agreed in certain circumstances. A request is not usually agreed if it is for a family holiday. If the school do not agree to an absence you could be fined by the local authority.

If you would like to take a family holiday we recommend you plan for it to take place when the school holidays coincide with the University vacations, there are usually two weeks at Easter and Christmas and approximately six weeks in the summer when this is the case.

Primary schools


The following three schools are located in areas close to the Colchester Campus, if you would like your children to attend one of these schools they would be pleased to hear from you direct.


For details of schools in Southend, please contact your Student Services Hub.

Secondary schools

The entry age for children into secondary education in the UK is eleven years of age. The majority of schools in Essex cater for children of all levels of academic ability.

Further information

For further information on primary and secondary education and schools in Essex:

Assistance with school admissions

If you need some advice and guidance regarding the school admissions process the Essex Choice Advice Service (.pdf) may be able to help you. This is a free, independent and confidential service for parents and carers who may need some additional assistance to guide you through the process of applying for a school.

Academic matters


Many of the University's courses require a high level of attendance at lectures and seminars. If you feel that you are struggling with your attendance you should contact your course tutors in the first instance and discuss your situation with them to see if any special arrangements can be made.


The University operates a uniform course deadline policy on late submission of coursework. Work which is submitted after the set deadline will be given a mark of zero unless you can show satisfactory evidence of extenuating circumstances.


Postgraduate taught

Postgraduate research

Money matters

If you have children or other dependants who rely on you financially, you may be eligible for additional financial support. Further details can be found on the financial support pages. You may also find useful our information for mature students or our pregnancy information.

Full-time UK undergraduate students who are parents should be eligible for some or all of the following.

Lone parents

In addition to the above, students who are lone parents may be eligible for Income Support/Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit. Sometimes single parents can only receive them in the summer vacation (approx. nine weeks) because of the way student funding income is treated in calculating these benefits

Some of these entitlements will depend on the age/s of your child/ren. Some may not be available to you if you have had previous study at higher education level or already have a degree. The Student finance pages have further information about benefits eligibility for students.

International students

International students should ensure that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants for the duration of their studies. UKCISA detail the level of funds, as specified by the Home Office, that students need to qualify for a visa.

Council tax

Find out about Council Tax exemptions and discounts for students.



SU Homes provides information about private rented accommodation in the Colchester area.


Accommodation for students with families in Southend is organised through the private lettings scheme.

Student Services Hub
Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.