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Help for sanctuary seekers to understand their rights

This section of the website explains the education system in Wales and who is eligible for support.

Early Years Education

The Childcare Offer for Wales provides help with childcare costs for eligible parents of 3 to 4 year olds.  

To be eligible for the Offer, each parent must: 

  • Live in Wales 
  • Have a child aged 3 or 4 years old 
  • Earn less than £100,000 per year 
  • Be employed and earn at least, on average, the equivalent to working 16 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage 
  • Or be enrolled on either an undergraduate, postgraduate or further education course that is at least 10 weeks in length 

Note: Having ‘no recourse to public funds’ does not exclude parents from accessing the Offer. Parents who are “subject to immigration control” as defined by Section 115(9) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are able to access the Offer provided they meet all other eligibility criteria. 

Check if you're eligible for the Childcare Offer for Wales 

Click here to see the support available for families in Wales, including programmes that may help towards the cost of childcare  Teulu Cymru | GOV.WALES 


Ukrainian Children are entitled to a place in a school in Wales. If you live in Wales you must ensure that any of your children aged 5, but under 16 receive a full-time education.

Most children will start ‘primary’ school in the September after their fourth birthday. They will continue to attend primary school until 11 years of age. Between the ages of 11 and 16 children will attend ‘secondary’ or ‘high’ school’. Many secondary schools teach up to the age of 18 years of age. As well as schools, there are sixth form colleges in some areas which teach young-people aged 16 to 18

The local authority supporting you will help you to find a suitable education for your child.

Education for children can either be:

· in a local authority maintained school which is free;
· in an independent school which will often charge fees; or
· you can choose to home-educate your child.

Contact your local authority to find schools in your area. You can find your local authority at

There is a lot of support available in schools in Wales. This includes support for children learning English or Welsh as a second language. School-based counselling is available for children who may be unhappy, worried or confused. Free breakfast and lunch is often available in schools. Free transport is available if you live a certain distance from your school. (At least 2 miles away from your primary school or 3 miles or more away from your secondary school).

In-year admissions to schools

When you first arrive in Wales, it is likely that you will need to apply for ‘in-year’ admissions. This means applying for schools outside the normal admission timeframe.

An in-year admission is:

· An application for reception year or year 7 after the start of the school year; or
· An application for any other year group at any time.

You can get an application form for in-year places on your local authority website. Some schools will have places available throughout the year. Some of the most popular schools will be full when you are applying. The local authority will be able to tell you which schools still have places and how to apply.

The school year has 3 school terms. Autumn Term will begin after 31 August. Spring Term will begin after 31 December and Summer Term will begin after 31 March. Each term includes a short half-term break with a longer break between terms. The longest break is about 6 weeks between the end of Summer Term and the start of the next school year. For the latest school term dates see:

Applying for a place in the normal admissions round

Reception is usually for children who are already aged 4 at the start of the school year (September). Year 7 is usually for children who are already 11 at the start of the school year.

You can express a preference for any school. Usually, the closer to your home a school is, the better chance you have of an offer of a place there. You will get an offer of your highest available preference. But if there are no places at any of your preferred schools you will get an offer of another school which has places.

The local authority will send out offers of places on:

· Secondary – 1 March
· Primary – 16 April

How are places allocated?

Each school only has a finite number of places available. Sometimes there are more applications than the number of places available. If so, the admission authority must apply its published admission arrangements. This will allow them to determine who will get a place.

Here are a couple of examples of an admission policy:

Cardiff School Admissions Policy (

Carmarthenshire School Admission Policy

School admission authorities may ask for proof of your address with your application. This is because some schools use ‘catchment areas’ to give priority to children living near to the school. The distance from home to school is also often used as a first tie-break to determine who will get an offer of a place.

Your local authority will be able to tell you when you must return your application. If you cannot apply by this date, you should speak to the local authority about how you should apply. We recommend that you so at the earliest opportunity.

Some schools may prioritise children for admission based on the family’s religion. You may be required to complete a supplementary application form for these schools. This is to find out whether you are a practitioner or member of the relevant faith group. Schools may ask for evidence of your child’s date of birth once they offer you a place.

Choosing a school

There are some resources parents can use to help them choose a school. My Local School provides information on schools. Most schools will have an inspection report which you can search for at

What to do if you do not get the school you want

You might not get an offer of a place at your chosen school. If you do not, you can ask for the school to place your child on a waiting list. Your child can attend a school and remain on other schools’ waiting lists in case a vacancy arises.

If you don’t get an offer of a place at your chosen school the admission authority for the school must offer you an appeal. The appeal panel is independent of the school. Guidance for parents about appeals is set out at You can ask someone to represent you at the appeal or you can present your own case. You can appeal for a preferred school which has refused to admit your child. You can do so even if your child is attending a school already.

Health screening and school admissions

Information on Tuberculosis (TB) screening and school admissions can be found here: Sanctuary | Health and well-being (

Contact the School Admissions Team: can provide copies of the admissions code in Ukrainian


Further Education

Children are able to leave school at age 16 but Further Education is strongly encouraged. There are a range of options for Further Education study. These include college and apprenticeships. Often enrolling at University will involve previous study at a college.

 To be eligible for age 16-19 funding an individual must have the right to reside in the UK in line with the immigration rules determined by the Home Office. Your school or further education institution will be able to help you in checking that you meet the residency requirements.

Careers Wales’ keeps a list of post-16 courses offered by individual colleges here.  Some schools provide courses for learners aged 16-19.  You can find out whether schools offer such courses through the schools website or from the local authority.

If you have questions about studying in Wales or elsewhere, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) can provide advice for international students and they can be contacted by telephoning +44 20 7788 9214 (between 1pm and 4pm UK time). UKCISA can only give advice by telephone. You can visit their website at

Higher Education

Studying in Wales

Visit Universities Wales to find out about where you can continue your higher education studies in Wales which includes universities, colleges and specialist institutions

You can also visit the British Council - Study UK site for information on study options across the United Kingdom and the application process.

Applying for a Higher Education course

  • Anyone seeking sanctuary wishing to start a course of higher education in the autumn term 2022, should speak directly to their chosen institution's admissions office as soon as possible.
  • The normal admissions process for September 2022 is already well underway through UCAS but universities are able to offer advice and support for anyone wishing to continue their studies.
  • Many universities offer a small number of bursaries and scholarships to people fleeing conflict and it may be helpful to ask the admissions team about availability and eligibility for support from the university as well.

Financially supporting your studies

  • Any persons granted leave under the Ukraine Schemes and those who have leave outside the immigration rules due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine are now eligible for home fee status, student support and the undergraduate tuition fee cap when starting or continuing a course on or after 1 August 2022.
  • Individuals must also have been living in the UK since being awarded one of the above immigration statuses, and individuals must be living in Wales on the first day of the academic year of the course.
  • To apply for student support, you must create a Student Finance Wales student account by visiting It is important to understand that eligibility and entitlement to student support cannot be assessed until an application has been completed and submitted.
  • You can discuss your situation with a Student Finance Wales advisor before making an application by telephone on 0300 200 4050 for undergraduate applications and 0300 100 0494 for postgraduate applications.
English for Speakers of Other Languages

The Welsh Government funds ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) courses. These are set up to help new arrivals to learn English.  These courses are often free and can be delivered in many areas of Wales; however, higher level ESOL learners are likely to need to pay.

  • Your Council may run courses. Visit the 'Your Local Area' section to find out more.
  • You can find ESOL courses in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport or Wrexham through the REACH website.
  • If you live in other areas of Wales, you can find courses through Adult Learning Wales.

There is also a range of online resources to help support your English language learning journey whatever your age or ability.

More Information:

 English for speakers of other languages (ESOL): policy statement

Welsh Language Education

Education in Wales may be delivered by English or Welsh language. Children can attend Welsh language schools, known as ‘Welsh medium’ schools or Welsh language clubs like the Urdd or Menter Iaith. All children in Wales are have the opportunity to learn some Welsh, even in an English medium school. Many new arrivals may have never heard the Welsh language before arriving. Learning Welsh can provide job opportunities in the future. Many public services must be delivered in the Welsh language.

Recognition of Ukraine Qualifications

UK ENIC provides advice about using international qualifications for work or study in the UK. This includes qualifications gained in Ukraine.

For more information, please visit  

Careers Wales can also assist in the recognition of qualifications, skills and competence.

Careers Wales | Careers Wales (

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Ukrainian national education system

Schools should offer the same high-quality education to Ukrainian pupils as they do their existing pupils. This includes delivering their usual curriculum. We recognise that Ukrainian arrivals may also want to access Ukrainian learning materials.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) has published the Ukrainian curriculum. Schools may also share these Ukrainian educational materials with Ukrainian pupils and families. These resources could be used to complement pupils’ education. For example, for use at home or in supplementary schools. They should not be used to substitute for schools’ usual curriculum.