Relocating with Family

Nursery age child


Things to consider when relocating with family.

If you are relocating with a family there are many additional considerations. Bristol is a great place to raise a family, work and have a social life too!

Never be afraid to ask for advice from sources such as the University's International Advisers, your new manager, colleagues that you will be working with, friends that may live in Bristol already, and family. There is a wealth of advice out there which may help as you begin the process including the Working Families website which provides useful information.

As a start here are a few fundamental things to think about when relocating.

Childcare and Schools

Think about childcare and schools, perhaps even before you start looking at houses.   

Childcare prior to starting school (0 - 4 year olds) is not usually available free of charge and can be expensive. Expect to pay a minimum of £35 per day per child. Nurseries are usually upwards of £50 per day.

Contact nurseries/childminders and enquire about waiting lists. Many parents choose to put their children in nursery/childcare that is located nearer to their work location than home.

The University of Bristol has its own nursery but the waiting list for a place can be very long. 

Check out the Bristol government website ( for the Schools admissions process.     

UK Education can be a complex and difficult system to understand especially when trying to make important decisions about your relocation.

Children are required to attend full-time schooling from the age of 5. Depending on when their birthday falls, many children will start school at the age of 4. Children would normally attend school nearest to their home, as priority is given to children who live within a school ‘catchment area’.

The progression through school in Bristol is as follows:
Primary school: age 4 to 11 (this can sometimes be divided into Infant School for ages 4-7 and Junior School age 7-11)
Secondary school: age 11-16
Sixth form: age 16-18 (pupils can continue this at their secondary school or attend further education college or sixth form college)

If a child leaves school at the age of 16 they must remain in some form of education or training for at least 20 hours a week such as apprenticeships, work experience, part-time education, volunteering or training.

The UK Government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (known as Ofsted) is the body responsible for regulating and inspecting schools and other childcare providers. The most recent reports for these providers can be found on their website ( 

When making decisions about schooling you need to think about the type of school you wish to place your child/children in. The main divide in the UK school system is between state schools, which are funded by the government and free to attend, and independent schools, which charge fees.

Support with childcare costs

The UK Government runs a number of schemes to help with childcare costs. Follow this link to find out more information

Childcare Vouchers

These can be used to pay for a wide range of childcare provision, but all carers who receive vouchers as payment must either be registered with Ofsted or the equivalent authority for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland or have approved status.

The Vouchers can be used to pay for childcare from 0-16 years old, including:

The provision of vouchers must be part of an employer's scheme, and the University of Bristol has teamed up with an organisation called Edenred to deliver our scheme. Payments can be made either via paper vouchers or an electronic transfer of funds to a childcare provider.

To apply for the childcare voucher scheme, please see link:

Changes to childcare vouchers

The Government are closing the Childcare Voucher Scheme to new applications from October 2018. Based on this deadline, the deadline for applications to the University Childcare Voucher Scheme is 31st August 2018. To apply, go to The Scheme will continue to run for all existing members. Parents who are not part of the Scheme and do not join inside the timeframe may be eligible for the Government's new Taxfree Childcare Scheme. For more information about Tax free childcare see


Relocating with Pets

The UK has a rabies free status which means that the import rules are stricter than many other countries, please ensure you refer to the UK Government website ( if you are considering relocating with your pet.

The following are things that you will require to bring your pet to the UK:

Other considerations to consider for pets travelling to the UK are:

You should also be aware that bringing dogs to the UK and bring cats to the UK requires a slightly different process. It is sensible to allow at least 30 days of planning time and starting the process 1 to 3 months ahead of your date of travels allows enough time to organise the detail and deal with any challenges that may arise along the way.


Expatriate networking opportunities such as Facebook groups and expatriate groups ( provide a good opportunity to help you connect with other people that have relocated to Bristol and things they have found helpful.

Parent and toddler groups are a great place to meet parents, carers and grandparents with children your child's age, and your child can make new friends too. There are a huge variety of groups to choose from in Bristol in most areas of the city. Googling parent and toddler groups in your local area is the best way to find listings.