International applicants

Your children

If you are bringing your children to the UK you should consider childcare, education and healthcare.


You should find out about childcare before relocating to Edinburgh. Tier 4 students and their dependants will not receive financial help from the state so you should make sure you have budgeted for the cost.

You can find information and advice on childcare from the Edinburgh Childcare Information Service.

Edinburgh Childcare Information Service

All services on this site are inspected by the Care Inspectorate to ensure provision of the highest standard of care. You can check inspection reports on the website.

Care Inspectorate

Parent and toddler groups

Parent and toddler groups are run by parents and are open to all. They are a good way to meet people.

Local libraries and health centres usually have information about local groups for you and your children.

These groups often meet at community centres or church halls. They are not usually associated with the church.


In the UK, children must attend school until the age of 16.

Children aged between 5 and 16 can attend state funded primary and secondary schools for free as long as they are here as your Tier 4 dependants. 

Nursery / Pre-school The City Council provides free pre-school education for children between 3 and 5 years old (either morning or afternoon, Monday to Friday).
Primary school It is compulsory for children aged 4 to 11 years old to attend primary school. Children will learn core subjects, such as English (reading and writing), maths and science.
Secondary school Secondary school is available to children aged 11 to 18 years old. They will learn a variety of subjects, including core skills and languages.

Pre-schools and nurseries in Edinburgh

Schools in Edinburgh

Academic calendar for schools

In Scotland, the school year starts in the middle of August and finishes around the end of June.

There are 3 terms in the school year with mid-term breaks and a long summer break.

Catchment areas

Places for your children at primary and secondary schools depends on where you live. Each postcode is in a catchment area. Your children will be given a priority place in the schools within your catchment area.

Registering your child

Find a school for your child by following these 3 easy steps:

  • Find schools in your catchment area
  • Choose one school
  • Contact the school directly to find out about registration.

English language support

Your child or children may require addition English language support. This is common in Edinburgh.

Support is available through the English as an Additional Language Service (EAL). EAL provides teaching and bilingual assistant support for individuals and groups of pupils within classes, and additional short-term language classes for some secondary-aged pupils.

EAL teachers are qualified to work with bilingual children and their families.


Most parents register their children with the same doctor (GP) as themselves.


In Scotland, children are given free routine vaccinations through the National Health Service (NHS). You should bring your children’s vaccination record to Scotland with you.

A first immunisation is given at two months old. If you have a child that age your GP will contact you to make an appointment for this immunisation, or let you know details of the baby clinic to attend.

Activities for children

Edinburgh offers indoor and outdoor activities for children of all ages. Many of these activities suit families with a limited budget.

You can find activities for your child or children in and around Edinburgh on these websites: