Childhood Education

There are three basic avenues for educating school-age children while you are stationed at RAF Lakenheath or RAF Mildenhall they are Department of Defense Dependents Schools, British Schools or Homeschooling.

Department of Defense Dependents Schools

The Department of Defense operates five schools serving members based at RAF Lakenheath, RAF Feltwell and RAF Mildenhall. There are no schools on RAF Mildenhall. These schools are part of the Isles District of DoDDS-Europe. The Isles District includes schools in Iceland, Belgium, Lajes, and Bahrain.

Three schools are located at RAF Lakenheath: 

Lakenheath Elementary School, (Sure Start, Pre-School Children with Disabilities, and K-3)
Liberty Intermediate School (4 and 5)
Lakenheath High School (9-12)

RAF Feltwell, 11 miles north of RAF Lakenheath, hosts two schools:
Lakenheath Middle School (6-8)
Feltwell Elementary School (K-5)

All five schools are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. NCA is also the accreditation agency for 19 states ensuring the DoD schools are comparable to U.S. school districts.

Tuition-free, space-required enrollment is limited to command-sponsored pupils. The child’s name must appear on the sponsor’s overseas travel orders as proof of command sponsorship. Others may be admitted on a space-available basis, either tuition-free or tuition paying.

Families who intend to enroll their children in DODDS and who require school bus transportation should contact the school bus office to determine whether or not they are on a bus route prior to signing a lease for a house or apartment off base.

Whether students K-5 attend school on RAF Lakenheath or RAF Feltwell is determined by the busing catchment area. Once the housing area and school zone are determined, the sponsor should report to the appropriate school office and complete the registration forms. Registration for new students takes place year-round.

Using the British Education System 

According to the Status of Forces Agreement, American families are welcome to use British state (public) schools, and, in doing so, are bound by the same rules that govern the British. Families stationed at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall have a choice of sending their children to the DoD Schools on RAFs Lakenheath and Feltwell, or sending them to a British school. Education in the UK is government run, each county has its own slight variations on the overall theme. Full time, free state education in the UK is mandatory for all children between the ages of five and sixteen, and that applies throughout Suffolk and Norfolk. In Cambridgeshire, however, many children can start regular school as soon as they’ve reached their fourth birthday if the school has room.

Homeschooling 

You can homeschool your children while you are in the UK. In fact there are a few support groups on RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall for homeschooling families. Parents have a right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

If you find there are some classes in which your child would benefit from classroom instruction, you may enroll your child at the school within the appropriate catchment area. Students who are homeschooled can participate in “auxiliary services” however, they must meet DoDDS registration requirements and register at the school within the feeder plan to participate in classes.