Students With Children

Being a student with children can be challenging. Here is a selection of frequently asked questions that we hope will help the transition to your life in York be as smooth as possible.

If you have any further enquiries or feel that your question has not been answered, please feel free to contact

Please also have a look through the university guidance for students with children.

How can I find accommodation for me and my family?

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Finding a place to live can be one of the hardest challenges. Information about how to apply for Family Accommodation on campus and in the private sector can be found here. This information is the same for undergraduates and postgraduates.

Family Accommodation on campus is very limited. For information about the different areas in York and where you may want to live, including local schools and security concerns, click here

It may be easier to find accommodation if one of you comes to York first and stays in temporary accommodation whilst you look for a suitable place for your family to live. Temporary accommodation can be found at Visit York, or through sites such as AirBnB and Spareroom.

What is it like to live in York?

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There’s lots of information about living in York, such as how to open a bank account, transport, insurance, and healthcare, on the university webpage.

York City Council is another good source of information on issues such as schools, buses, rubbish collections, libraries and leisure facilities.

Useful travel information and maps of York include:

More general advice about what costs to expect as a student can be found on the student parents website.

Where do I get information about childcare and schools?

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York Local Area Team is a free and impartial information service for mums, dads and carers of children and young people aged 0-19 (or up to 25 for disabled children). They can help with anything and everything around family life, including schools and childcare.

Free Childcare Entitlement: Children aged 3 and 4 (for those who turn 4 after August 31st) are entitled to 15 hours a week (in term time) of free early years education.  Some pre-schools close to the University include Heslington Pre-school (in Lord Deramore primary school),Little Badgers (in Badger Hill primary ) and St. Lawrence’s School on Heslington Road.

There are also local nurseries, the closest of which are Beehive Pre-School Playgroup at the Low Moor Centre on Broadway, and the University Nursery. Places depend on availability, so contact them as soon as you can. For more information about this see here.

School options: For children aged 5 – 18, you will need to find out about local schools and how to enrol your child.

Families moving to York: There is a great page dedicated to families moving to York, detailing how schools work, uniform requirements etc. See:

Any questions?: If you have any unanswered questions, there is also an Ask Anything section on the Local Area Team website.

How do I arrange healthcare for me and my children?

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Lots of healthcare in the UK is free (see the student support pages if you are an international student), but you do need to register with a doctor and a dentist for you and your children. Information about local health services can be found at:

If you have an emergency and are on campus, contact security on01904 (32)3333 and they will ring an ambulance. They are best placed to do this because they can explain to the Emergency Services your exact location. A porter can also do this for you. Alternatively, if you can be transported or moved, call a taxi and go to the Accident and Emergency (A and E) Department at York Hospital, on Wigginton Road. Here’s a map to get there.

If you have an emergency and are off campus, dial 999 and ask for the relevant service – Ambulance, Police or Fire Service. You will be asked to give your name and location before they ask for details of the incident.

If it is not a medical emergency, you can ring the National Health Service’s 111 from any landline phone or mobile. If you call 111, you will speak to a trained advisor, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Make an appointment with to see a General Practitioner (GP). You should register you and your family with a doctor when you arrive in York. A GP is a general doctor who can refer you to a specialist if necessary.

There is the Health Centre on campus, Unity Health, or other doctor’s surgeries that may be more local to where you live. If you are unwell, you can ring your doctor to book a face-to-face appointment. Waiting times can vary – sometimes there are emergency slots, particularly if you have a child. Adult appointments can vary up to approximately 2 weeks. More information about what to expect from your GP can be found here.

Health Visitors: If you have a child under 5 you should have a named Health Visitor, through your GP. Health Visitors are qualified nurses with specialist knowledge of child health. They can advise you if you have any concerns about your child’s health or development.

Prescriptions: All medications for children are free of charge, only those for adults are charged and the cost is fixed, regardless of the medication prescribed (about £8.20). Children are eligible for free glasses and dental care. Adult dental care is not – try to register with an NHS dentist for lower costs

How can I meet other students with children?

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The GSA Family Network exists to help students with children and their spouses to meet, socialise, share information and advice, and have fun! We are here for all members of the University community who have children: Undergraduates, Postgraduates and members of staff.

We organise events and trips for students and their families, which are often subsidised. We also hold a regular session at The Avenues at Osbaldwick (Osbaldwick Primary School, Osbaldwick Lane, YO10 3AX) on a Monday morning 10 – 11.30 am for students with children under 5 years old.

Due to the current situation, we are currently not able to offer trips, but we are continuing to offer online events. Unfortunately, we are currently also unable to offer sessions at the Children’s Centre, but we are hoping these will be back in action from March 2021.

Find out what’s happening through our Facebook page: Family Network University of York

Children’s Activities: York is a great place for bringing up children, with lots of groups and activities. For more information see the Family Information Service.

Where can I go to do my food shopping?

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Supermarkets. You can shop at supermarkets either in store and online. For a comprehensive list of what’s available, see here.

Shopping In store: This may be difficult if you don’t have a car and are planning to do a big shop with bulky and heavy bags. You could join together with another person to do a shop together and get a taxi back, splitting the fare.

Shopping Online: Many supermarkets offer online shopping and will deliver to you. This may sound a bit inconvenient for not being able to pick your own food but they usually do a good job. Tesco, Morrisons and Asda are the more reasonable options, there´s Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocado at the higher end of the market.

Supermarket Loyalty cards: Some supermarkets offer a loyalty card, for example Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s. Every time you shop you earn “points”, and these can be turned into vouchers or money off various items, often including either groceries or other “experiences” such as days out, travel, and restaurants. Speak to a member of staff at the supermarket about how to register for the loyalty card, or look online.

Other markets: Check out the Chinese supermarket in the city centre, or Oriental Express on Hull Road. Nearby, Freshways (on the corner of Hull Road and Green Dykes Lane, aka University Road) has a variety of international groceries, mostly from Middle East and South Asia. There is a Co-operative store near Halifax College on Broadway (further up Heslington Lane and about 15 minutes walk towards Fulford Road).

If you prefer more traditional markets, try the Shambles market just behind Parliament Street in the city centre for fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and even good second hand paperbacks.

Otherwise, Leeds market (right next to the main bus station) offers a wide variety of “ethnic” foods – from African, Asian and Eastern European spices and vegetables. You can get there by train (about 20mins) or by bus (from opposite York Railway Station).

Where can I buy clothes, household items and other necessities cheaply?

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Charity shops sell a wide range of items that you may find useful. They sell second hand clothes, shoes, crockery, books, children’s games, DVDs and much much more. There are lots of charity shops in the City Centre, particularly on Goodramgate. There are also shops in Tang Hall and Acomb, as well as other areas.

Car boot sales are another option. People sell things they no longer use, you’ll find all kinds of things, and most importantly, they are cheap. You can also buy some fresh vegetables cheaper than supermarkets. Car boot sales start early – you are advised to get there from 7am onwards – and they tend to finish around lunchtime.

There is a Sunday Car Boot at the Auction Centre, just off the A64. This is closer to Halifax but you will need a car to get there : or more specific directions here:

On Saturdays, there’s the Racecourse Car Boot, see:

York Community Furniture Store sells cheap furniture, see: It is situated in the business park close to Morrison’s, just off James Street see: . One of the advantages of buying furniture from this store is that there is no extra charge for bringing things to your house, and they have a bit of everything. Some items are in better condition than others, you may need to look around to find what you’re looking for.

Online sites for second hand things. Try Gumtree and Freecycle for second hand goods. Search for York to see what’s available. Ebay is also a good source of cheaper items.

Am I eligible for any financial help?

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This will depend on your situation. More information about possible benefits and tax credits can be found on the university financial support pages

Another good source of information is the Finance section in Students with Families Community Guide

Do you have any good suggestions for saving money as a family?

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Apply for a York Card: All residents of York are eligible for a York Card. This entitles you to membership of York Libraries, as well as free entry to lots of museums and discounts on sports and leisure facilities across the city. There is a £3 admin charge for York Cards for adult residents.Your York Card will be issued to you at any City of York Library as part of your library card, and you can get a card at any library in the city.

Borrow toys from the Toy Library: This service allows you to borrow children’s toys and try them out before you buy your own. See:

Buy a Family and Friends Railcard: If you are travelling with children between the ages of 5 -15, you are eligible for a discount with a Family and Friends Railcard. This costs £30 per year, and gives a discount of 33% on adult prices, and 60% on children’s fares. You can make the saving of £30 in one trip! A family and friends railcard gives the same adult discount as a student railcard, and cheaper when you are travelling with children..

Sign up for loyalty cards: Supermarket loyalty cards earn you points, and you can exchange these points for vouchers. For example Tesco vouchers can be used to buy a Family and Friends Railcard! You can get loyalty cards for other shops (eg Boots the chemists; Go Outdoors camping shop) and coffee shops (eg Costa Coffee, where you get 5p pf points for every pound you spend).

Search online for voucher codes: Lots of restaurants and high street stores have offers and vouchers online. Search for Voucher Codes before you go out for a treat – you may get 2 for 1 meal deals, or 20% off your bill. Always read the small print – for example some offers exclude certain days (eg Fridays and Saturdays).

NUS Extra Card: The student in your family will automatically be issued with a YUSU membership card. This is also your NUS (National Union of Students) card. For an extra £12 you can apply for an NUS Extra Card that offers discounts on a wide range of products.

Check out the MoneySavingExpert guides for further smart ideas.

What can I do if I have a problem or things are going wrong?

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Having children and studying at the same time involves a constant juggling act. It is normal for there to be bad days as well as good days. If you need to speak to someone to talk through a problem, get some information, or for advice, there are lots of people you can approach.

There are a wide range of services on the University campus available to students, see Student Support Services for more information.

For independent information and advice relating to either academic or welfare issues, you can contact the Student Union (YUSU) by emailing [email protected] . If you are a postgraduate, you can contact the Graduate Student Association (GSA) by emailing [email protected]

If your family life is having an effect on your ability to study, you may need to claim Exceptional Circumstances. If you need advice about how to apply for Exceptional Circumstances, or to appeal a decision made by the University, YUSU and the GSA can guide you through this process.

If you are experiencing stress or feeling very unhappy, you may want to speak to somebody in confidence. The Open Door Team have fully trained professionals who you can talk to if you are feeling low or experiencing emotional difficulties. See:

Please note this service is only available to registered students. Other services outside the university are available to all, although some may charge. For details of services specific to your needs, please see here.

If you can’t find what you are looking for, please email: [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help.