I'm traveling to London for what will be about a 5 month trip. I'm a UK citizen (by descent), and have never lived in the UK. With me will be my son, a US citizen (and not UK), who is 4 years old. Will it be possible to enroll him in (preferably a public) school? Alternatively, what other kinds of non-formal educational environments could I look into? (I.e. day programs that an adult can accompany a child to). My apologies if this is not the right Stack Exchange site for this question. I realize it might not qualify as an expatriate-related question, but I figured many expatriates might have done a similar process to the one I mention. Any help or tips are greatly appreciated.

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    Relevant: gov.uk/guidance/…
    – A E
    Oct 31, 2015 at 18:32
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    You should be aware that because you are a British citizen, your son probably is, too, which would mean he does not fall into the category of "non-EEA citizen."
    – phoog
    Nov 1, 2015 at 4:30
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    I've forgotten the terminology, but I was born outside of the UK and gained citizenship through my mother (by descent I think it's called), and I recall reading that because of that it wasn't passed down to my son.
    – sstaccato
    Nov 1, 2015 at 7:47
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    @sstaccato, Your understanding is correct.
    – ouflak
    Nov 2, 2015 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


From the information you have provided, you will not be able to enroll him in state education (cf https://www.gov.uk/guidance/schools-admissions-applications-from-overseas-children). UK schools start recpetion, something like a cross between pre-k and kindergarten, has a cut off of turning 4 by 1 september, so depending on your son's birthday he may not be eligible no matter his nationality.

Many parents in the UK do not send their children to reception, but rather keep them in nursery. For example, when my son left nursery for reception about 1/4 of his nursery class stayed behind and skipped reception. For a 5 month visit, starting late into the year, this might be a better option than a fee-based school.

  • That makes sense, and thanks for the explanation. Just to confirm, when you say nursery, are those places whose focus is simply child daycare or are they educational? My concern is more so the latter, finding a place albeit private that acts as a school. Thanks again!
    – sstaccato
    Nov 2, 2015 at 18:39
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    @sstaccato the UK believes in learning through play much more than the US. I am not sure they play any more in nursery than reception.
    – StrongBad
    Nov 2, 2015 at 19:44

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