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Author: NFF

Update (22nd July, 2022) – Thank you everyone for your feedback and comments. We have posted a FAQ to help answer some of your questions. Once available, more announcements, resources and information sessions will be shared with you to help you understand more about this scheme.

NFF news: 21st July, 2022

Following positive feedback from a successful pilot, the MOD announced today the full roll-out of the wraparound childcare (WAC) scheme. 

 

Defence is pleased to announce that the Wraparound childcare (WAC) scheme will be rolled out across the UK from Autumn 2022. WAC was a manifesto commitment and is one of many steps that the Ministry of Defence is taking to make the Armed Forces a more modern, inclusive, and family friendly employer.

 

The Full UK Rollout (FRO) comes after successful pilots of the WAC scheme at RAF High Wycombe, RAF Halton, Plymouth area, Catterick Garrison, Lincolnshire and Woolwich, where over 1,800 children have already benefited from the scheme.

 

Lieutenant General James Swift, Chief of Defence People, said: “The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme is a cornerstone of Defence’s new Family Strategy, which aims to strengthen the support available to Service families. It will provide Service personnel and their partners with more choice in the type of work they are able to take up as well as the hours they are able to do that work. WAC will provide stability, consistency, and routine for children, which is particularly valued in Service families where disruption is part of our way of life.

 

“Feedback from the WAC pilots has been extremely positive. The scheme is helping Service children form new friendships and settle into new schools and locations more easily. This is a great initiative which will help our people enormously with the challenge of balancing their professional and family lives.”

 

NFF CEO Sarah Clewes said, ‘’The NFF has been at the forefront of raising awareness of the childcare challenges for serving families since it carried out its first childcare survey in 2016, and its follow-up survey in 2021. We are very grateful to everyone who responded so generously with their time and thoughts. You have allowed us to represent your experiences with authority and in detail to the Government, the Royal Navy and other stakeholders. We welcome today’s news as it is a positive step for our community.’’ 

  

Details
  • From the start of the 2022 Autumn term, WAC funding will be available to all eligible Service families with children aged 4 to 11 years, who are in school or being home schooled in the UK.
  • If eligible, Personnel can claim up to 20 hours per week of funding for each child that is attending before and after school care during term time. 
  • WAC is known as ‘Out of School care’ in Wales and ‘School Aged Childcare’ in Scotland. 

 

Next steps

Further details will follow. In the meantime, families who wish to utilise this scheme are encouraged to follow the below:  

Every child that personnel want to claim WAC funding for must be recorded on JPA and must have a Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account. If your child(ren) is not recorded on JPA and/or you do not have a TFC account, Service families should take the following steps now:  

  1. RECORD your child(ren) on JPA.
  2. READ information about TFC accounts by visiting this link.
  3. CHECK if your family will financially benefit from having a TFC account or a salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme, including the Armed Forces Childcare Voucher Scheme (AFCVS (Sodexo vouchers)). You cannot have both at the same time. To make an informed decision about which scheme suits your family best, use the childcare calculator on GOV.UK. Please be aware, if you choose to leave the AFCVS, you cannot re-join it.
  4. APPLY: If you choose to claim WAC funding, you can create a TFC account for your child(ren) on GOV.UK.

 

We will upload any further information onto our childcare section as soon as we hear from the MOD. We will also keep you updated via our social media channels.  

 

This is really positive news for our families and we are delighted to share the Wraparound Childcare announcement with you!  

We have collated information on research and reports that may be of interest to our families below. If you have any questions or would like to raise a concern about your young person’s education, please contact us. Also see this page for a list of resources that may be of use.  

Armed Forces Covenant
The NFF in action

Every year the three Service Families Federations are invited to make their observations on the Armed Forces Covenant based on feedback received from you. Our submissions have highlighted areas which we believe are working well and other aspects that we believe need to be improved upon. Topics include: accommodation, education, health, spousal employment and more. You can read our observations from the past and current Armed Forces Covenant Annual Reports here. 

Childcare
NFF Childcare Report 2021

We carried out an anonymous survey in 2020 to gather families’ feedback on childcare. We were delighted to receive an excellent respond rate from you. We collated your views into this report. Since the publication, we shared the report with our key stakeholders, including the MOD and RN/RM chain of command. Using the evidence you generously shared, we continue to advocate for our families on the childcare issues you identified and seek to inform existing and future policy (including the wraparound childcare pilot and policy).  

Service life
England
The Voice of Schools Survey Report
The Voice of Schools Survey Report 

Service children in state schools (SCISS) in 2021 published the results of their survey of schools supporting Service children. 461 schools responded, including schools with small numbers of Service children. The survey questionnaire listed seven previously documented challenges experienced by some Service children, their families, and/or the schools they attend. It asked respondents to indicate how much of a challenge these presented to their school. 

  

The Naval Families Federation welcomes this important contribution from schools that helps to evidence the needs of Service children and those supporting them. We will be working with the SCISS and other partners to address the issues raised. 

Wales

Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru is a Welsh Local Government Association programme. Since the programme began in 2014, SSCE Cymru has worked with schools, young people stakeholders to gather their views and experiences, building networks across Wales and raise awareness and understanding of the experiences of Service children.  

School survey

In 2019, SSCE Cymru invited all schools in Wales that have Service children enrolled to participate in a survey to find out more about their local communities. You can access the findings here. 

Listening to our Service children

In 2019/20, SSCE Cymru ran a number discussion groups in schools in Wales, to hear from Service children about their experiences of education in Wales. These findings were fed into the Year of the Service Child Voice project by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance). You can download the full project analysis here. 

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
DfE consultation on funding arrangement on SEND

In July 2019, the three Service Families Federations took the opportunity to submit a joint response to the Department for Education’s call for evidence: ‘Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and for those who need additional provision: how the financial arrangements work’. 

  

We advocate on behalf of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and we support the view that children’s education should not be disadvantaged by their parent’s Service.  In our submission we highlighted some of the key issues and challenges that could arise for Armed Forces children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and suggested a number of recommendations, based on evidence gathered by the Families Federations. The full report can be accessed here. 

NFF SEND Survey 2022

In March 2022 the Government opened a consultation about the changes they intended to make to the SEND and alternative provision (AP) system in England. We set up an anonymous survey to consult our families about the challenges they face due to their Service commitments. This survey is now closed and we will share the findings with you once available. 

There are many organisations to support you and your young person’s childcare and education. Take a look at the directory below.  

 

*All information correct as of July 2022 

Government-affiliated teams
Defence Children Services (DCS)

The department formerly known as CEAS is now part of Defence Children Services (DCS) and is divided into two parts – the UK Education Advisory Team (EAT) and the Overseas Education and Supportability Team (OEST). The EAT are a small team, who are experienced in advising Service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of Service children in the UK whereas the OEST are their counterpart that cover overseas education. EAT are also the first port of call for people considering an application for Continuity of Education Allowance. You can find their contact details and further information about the types of advice they offer here. 

Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS)

Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS), formerly DCYP, lead on the development of all Defence-level education and children and young people policy. They are responsible for engaging with Devolved Administrations, the Department for Education and local authorities. They also take the lead on Safeguarding issues and manage the childcare support policy, including handling the work on free wraparound childcare for Service personnel: People-AFFS-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk 

SSCE Cymru

Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru is a Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) programme, initially funded by the MOD’s Education Support Fund and funded by Welsh Government from 2019. 

  

Since the programme began in 2014, SSCE Cymru has worked with schools, children and young people, local authorities, Welsh Government, education professionals, Armed Forces families and support organisations to gather their views and experiences, build networks across Wales and raise awareness and understanding of the experiences of children of Armed Forces personnel. SSCE Cymru has developed guidance and digital resources for schools and families, hosted conferences and stakeholder days, and commissioned research to better understand the needs of Service children in education. 

Other organisations 
SCiP Alliance

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from Armed Forces families. It is funded by the MOD. The Naval Families Federation has been a proactive partner since the Alliance’s inception and is represented on the management group. 

  

Their mission is to champion the progression of the children of Service personnel, so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers. It has worked to establish and sustain an alliance of stakeholder organisations across the UK to develop a coherent strategy for the progression of Service children into thriving adult lives and careers. The Alliance leads a research and knowledge exchange unit to drive improvements in understanding, evidence and impact focused on Service children’s outcomes. 

 

  • Thriving Lives toolkit  

The SCiP Alliance has worked with partners across the UK to develop a self-reflection CPD tool for schools to consider their support for children in Armed Forces families. The Thriving Lives toolkit is designed to help schools to reflect on their practice and it contains a suite of resources developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK. Parents are encouraged to share this resource with their children’s school(s). 

SCISS

Service children in state schools (SCISS) is a voluntary affiliated network of more than 1500 state-maintained schools in England that have any number of Service children on roll and act as a voice of those schools.  

  

SCISS is led by a National Executive Advisory Committee (NEAC) comprising headteachers; Local Authority officers/advisers; representatives from the three Armed Forces Families Federations and representatives from the Service Children Progression Alliance (SCiP), the DfE and the MOD’s AFFS Global Education Team. 

Armed Forces Education Trust

The Armed Forces Education Trust is a charity working for children and young adults whose education has been compromised or put at risk as a result of parents’ past or current service in our Armed Forces. The grants we give make a difference to young lives, helping improve their educational opportunities or supporting special skills or talents. 

Naval Children’s Charity (NCC)

The Naval Children’s Charity (NCC) has been helping Naval Children since 1825. If you serve or have served in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS, Reserves or Royal Fleet Auxiliary and you have a child/children up to and including the age of 25, they may be able to help you. 

 

They help around 2000 children directly each year and many thousands more through their resources and work with communities and other organisations. 

A new tri-Service research has launched to better understand how Service life affects family finances.

 

This research, led by the Army Families Federation (AFF) in collaboration with RAND Europe and the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), will help inform recommendations to the MOD on further support for Service personnel and their families.

 

Financial challenges Armed Forces families may face due to Service life include:

  • partner employment issues which could mean a family surviving on a single income or the non-serving partner having a reduced or no pension;
  • key housing costs such as rent being deducted at source and not being budgeted for;
  • potential lack of budgeting experience, for example if the Service person joined straight from home;
  • the unpredictability of postings, meaning variations in income, with significant allowances in some locations and none in others.

 

Eligibility

The research team would like to hear the views of current and ex-Service personnel and their spouses/partners on whether Service life affects their ability to easily bounce back from any financial set-backs. They also welcome the views of divorced former spouses and widowed spouses, who may have previously been relying on the Service person’s income and pension.

 

Closing date

This survey closes on 31 October 2022.

Posted on: 15th July, 2022

NFF news: 11th July 2022

 

The Ministry of Defence has announced today that eligible Service Family Accommodation (SFA) homes will receive a one-off £150 payment as Contribution in Lieu of Council Tax (CILOCT) rebate.

 

Since the introduction of the government’s national council tax rebate scheme, the three Service Families Federations received enquiries from our families about their eligiblity as SFA residents. We jointly put the question to the MOD and are delighted to share this news with you.

 

This scheme was replicated by the MOD to ensure that our families are not disadvantaged by their Service.

 

Please see the below image to find out more about the scheme. If you would like to know about your SFA type, please refer to JSP 464.

Information on the CILOCT rebate - produced by the MOD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(You can click on the image to enlarge/download)

A new protocol was launched in June 2022 to help ensure that motor finance works better for those who are assigned overseas.

 

This provision, jointly published by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) and the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), will operate as part of the existing Armed Forces Covenant, so that personnel are not disadvantaged compared to civilian customers.

 

The key commitments are as below:
  • FLA lenders who participate in the protocol will allow a financed vehicle to be taken overseas for the remainder of the finance agreement, so long as the vehicle is comprehensively insured while there. Where Service personnel do not wish to/unable to take their vehicles or are deployed overseas before the end of a motor finance agreement, motor finance providers should use their best endeavours to find a solution that that is acceptable to the customer.
  • The FLA will also include these principles in the Specialist Automotive Finance learning material which used by dealers, brokers, and motor finance provider staff across the industry.
  • For Service personnel, they should notify their Service commitment to the retailer when seeking financial arrangement. If possible, give an indication of the likelihood of receiving an overseas assignment.
  • The Ministry of Defence (MOD – Armed Forces People Support team) and the FLA will keep the effectiveness of this Protocol under regular review, exchange information on its operation, and support each other’s functions under it.
  • Please visit this page for full details.

 

This news is a result of the NFF advocating on your behalf.

 

Last April, we were contacted for advice by a Service personnel who was due to begin a short notice draft in Portugal. His vehicle was under a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreement. At the time that he took out the PCP, he was advised verbally that overseas postings would not be an issue. However, the company informed him that this is not possible upon notifying his intention. Although the Service personnel had written to their dealership and finance provider, he had to take a loan to buy the car outright.

 

With his permission, our team took his lived experience to the MOD and the Defence Relationship Management (DRM) team, alongside other stories and feedback from the wider Service community.

 

We are delighted to share this positive news story with you. The NFF cannot influence changes without your input, please contact us.

Introduction

In the UK, responsibility for the making of education law and guidance has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Irish Assemblies. In England, legislative responsibility for education continues to lie solely with the UK Parliament at Westminster.

The formal devolution of statutory responsibility for education law to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has emphasised existing differences and continued to establish further ones.

These differences can be summarised under the following headings:

  • age ranges of phases of education;
  • examination and assessment systems;
  • curricular structure and content;
  • admission systems;
  • statutory approaches to meeting children’s special educational/ additional support needs;
  • funding routes and arrangements for higher education.

Overseas education for Armed Forces families is dependent on the area to which you are assigned.

Please also take a look at Joint Service Publication 342, which provides policy and guidance for the education of Service children and young people.

The Naval Families Federation is working hard to remove disadvantage to families in the provision of education. We work closely with the MOD’s Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS) and Defence Children Services (DCS) and other stakeholders to achieve this aim. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us in carrying out this work, so please do get in touch and let us know about your experiences.

1. Primary & Secondary Education
Defence Children Services (DCS)

The department formerly known as CEAS is now part of Defence Children Services (DCS) and is divided into two parts – the UK Education Advisory Team (EAT) and the Overseas Education and Supportability Team (OEST). The EAT are a small team, who are experienced in advising Service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of Service children in the UK whereas the OEST are their counterpart that cover overseas education. EAT are also the first port of call for people considering an application for Continuity of Education Allowance. You can find their contact details and further information about the types of advice they offer here.

Devolved administrations
  • England

The national curriculum sets out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects at all 4 key stages in England. All local-authority-maintained schools in England teach these programmes of study.

You can find out more about the English system here. An overview of the key stages and assessments in the English education system can be found here.

 

  • Scotland

Education is devolved to the Scottish Government, which means that the Scottish Government has the power to introduce new laws, curricula, and guidelines on education within Scotland. An overview of the Scottish education system can be found. Click here to access a school toolkit produced Forces Children’s Education. The Scottish Government has also produced a useful guide for Service personnel and their families moving to Scotland.

An overview of the system in Scotland, with comparisons to England and Wales, can be found here. Click here for a poster outlining the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) system, used by schools in Scotland to support the wellbeing of all children and young people.

 

  • Wales

A new curriculum has been developed and is being phased in for settings and schools in Wales. It will be used throughout Wales by the end of 2022.

You can find out more about the new school curriculum here.

You can find out more about how Service children are supported in Wales by visiting the Supporting Service Children in Education Wales website. Click here to access a school toolkit produced by the SSCE. This Service Family Guide gives information about the new curriculum and examinations and assessments.

 

  • Northern Ireland

The MOD has some introductory information about education in Northern Ireland here.

More detailed information about the curriculum and assessment can be found here.

A useful summary of the curriculum in Northern Ireland and the key differences from other areas of the UK can be found here.

Overseas Education

If you are offered an overseas assignment, you will have to look carefully into the education available for your children. Please refer to this page on gov.uk for further information. Please also see this page on guidance on unaccompanied minor flights.

Home Education

Home education is legal throughout the UK and has been for many decades. It is a positive long-term choice for some families. It can also be an option for families who are moving between areas and seeking to avoid starting a child in a school for a short period of time (for example when a child is on a waiting list, or if you are just about to be reassigned after the start of a school year). The legal position in the four countries of the UK is not identical.

 

  • England & Wales

According to the 1996 Education Act in England and Wales, parents (not the state) are responsible for providing their children’s education ‘at school or otherwise’. Education must be suitable for the age, ability and aptitude of each child. Find out more about home education from the gov.uk website and from Education Otherwise.

 

  • Scotland

‘Schoolhouse’ is Scotland’s national home education support charity. It is a well-established and well-respected source of independent information and support for anyone interested in home education.

 

  • Northern Ireland

‘Home Education Northern Ireland’ is an inclusive group for home educators and their communities in Northern Ireland, and was recently involved in coordinating the response to the consultation on the Draft Policy on Elective Home Education published by the five Boards there.

 

  • Overseas

If your family is either considering, or currently delivering, home education overseas, you should refer to the Elective Home Education Overseas Parental Guidance (November 2021). This includes important information guidance and direction, including the requirement to contact Overseas Education and Supportibility Team at RC-DCS-HQ-OES@mod.gov.uk when considering an overseas assignment and before any firm decision on elective home education is made. This guide can be accessed from the DIN Library (20211108). Please note this DIN replaces the policy contained JSP 342. Please also see our Overseas Education page for further information.

Boarding school and Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is offered by the MOD to assist with funding a place in boarding school to help to provide continuity of education for a child.

In claiming CEA, a Service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement. An exception to this requirement is when a Service person is classified as Involuntarily Separated (INVOLSEP).

Please see section 6 below for full details.

 

  • State Boarding School

Parents of boarders at state boarding schools pay only the cost of boarding, as the education is free. There are 38 state boarding schools across the UK, please click here for a full list of schools. If you are considering to enrol your child(ren) in a state boarding school, please do take a look at this parent’s guide produced by State Boarding Schools’ Association. CEA can be claimed by eligible people for state boarding.

 

  • Further Information

To find out more, please check out the guidance from EAT (formerly part CEAS*) here. The UK EAT will be able to provide you with a copy of the Boarding School Database, on request. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752, Chapter 14. To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

 

  • Continuity of Education Allowance (Guardians)

The aim of Continuity of Education Allowance (Guardians) (CEA (Guardians)) is to financially assist Service parents who elect to place their child in the care of a guardian so that the child may continue to attend a particular day school. The allowance is intended to contribute to the additional costs of a child maintaining contact with its family when they are living away from the family home. The allowance is not intended to cover any costs for accommodation, education or welfare.

An eligible guardian is any person in whose care a child is placed to enable them to remain at a particular day school that the child could not attend if resident with their claimant parent. In this context, guardianship is deemed to exist if the claimant arranges private accommodation for the child, e.g., with a relative, friend, in rented accommodation, or in a YMCA or similar privately-run hostel. The safety and security of each child is the responsibility of the parents in such an arrangement. For full details of the allowance and of eligibility, see JSP 752 Chapter 14 Section 5.

Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

Schools have a responsibility to provide appropriate individualised care and pastoral support for all children. We receive many enquiries about this, particularly from parents who are concerned about how this works across the devolved nations, or who feel that their school could be providing more effective support. Please see section 2 for further information.

Further support
  • Visit our page here to find a list of organisations that can support your young person’s education, including funding and Service clubs.
  • Click here to find out more about resources/projects available to support parents/carers.
2. Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium (SPP)

Schools have a responsibility to provide appropriate individualised care and pastoral support for all children. We receive many enquiries about this, particularly from parents who are concerned about how this works across the devolved nations, or who feel that their school could be providing more effective support. We love to hear from people who have experienced great support so that we can showcase examples of effective practice. Please contact us if your child’s school is doing something we can share to improve practice in other schools.

England

The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is extra funding for schools in England to support children and young people with parents in the Armed Forces. In order for your child to be eligible, you need to inform your child(ren)’s school of your (or your partner’s) Service status before the annual school census, which is the first Thursday in October every year.

 

Key facts:

  • The SPP is provided by the Department for Education (DfE), to State maintained schools, Free Schools and Academies in England who have children of Regular Armed Forces personnel among their pupil population to provide additional (mainly pastoral) support. Children of parents on Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment) also attract SPP.
  • Schools can claim for both SPP and PP for the same child. Guidance from the DfE is: ‘If they meet the criteria for both then they are entitled to both. A proportion of Service pupils have been receiving both for some time.’
  • The SPP is currently £310 per Service pupil and is paid directly to schools. It is not transferable between schools and does not move with the pupil when they leave the school.
  • Schools with Service children in Reception to Year 11 classes are eligible to receive the fund, but only if your child(ren)’s name appears on the school’s roll as being a Service child. This is why it’s of utmost importance for you to ensure that you have informed the school of your Service status.
  • A child will continue to attract SPP funding for up to a maximum of 6 years after the serving person has left the Service or at the end of Year 11, whichever comes first. Please be reminded to inform the school if the parent has left the Service.
  • It is possible for step children to receive SPP provided that you meet the criteria.

For more information on eligibility please see here. Or you can email: Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – Formely DCYP): People-AFFS-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

Resources

  • For examples of effective practice for schools see here.
  • Please also contact your local authorities as they may be able to provide further information to assist schools and families in accessing the best support for Service pupils. For example, click here for a booklet created by Hampshire County Council and click here for a guide created by West Yorkshire Local Authorities.
Scotland

There is no Service Pupil Premium for Service children living in Scotland, but the Scottish government strategy for school funding takes into account factors such as deprivation, mobility and under achievement. Service families can register their status with their schools, so that the child’s record is flagged with an indicator. When Service families register, clusters of mobile families are highlighted and this attracts more funding for the school, which may be used to provide support.

Forces Children Scotland (formerly The Royal Caledonian Education Trust) is Scotland’s Armed Forces charity, and works with schools and families to help children to thrive. You can find out more about their work here.

Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales. SSCE Cymru provide information on funding available to schools and LAs here.

Northern Ireland

Service children in Northern Ireland receive additional support under the provisions of the Common Funding Scheme. Qualifying pupils are those pupils in primary and post-primary schools whose father or mother is:

  • a member of the UK Armed Forces;
  • not normally resident in Northern Ireland;
  • assigned to Northern Ireland for a period scheduled to last no less than 2 years.

More information about education in Northern Ireland can be found on the Department of Education Northern Ireland website hereInformation about the Common Funding Scheme can be found here.

3. Education Support Fund (ESF)

The Education Support Fund (ESF), launched in 2011 and subsequently extended by the Secretary of State for Defence (2018-2020), provided funding to assist publicly funded schools, Academies and Free Schools throughout the UK to mitigate the effects of exceptional mobility and/or separation of their Service communities; Regular Armed Forces, including Reserves on Full Time commitment (FTRS FC).

Since 2011, the ESF has distributed over £42 million. The funding awarded from the 2022 ESF supported around 23,000 Service children from all three Services.

Successful applications to date have been for a wide range of initiatives. All been able to provide strong evidence of how their proposal would help Service children and schools to overcome the effects of exceptional mobility or deployment. The bids also demonstrated a good relationship with their Service community.

Schools supporting children of Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel typically have relatively smaller numbers of Service children on role, and often these children are affected more by deployment than by mobility (although mobility will be a strong feature in the lives of some). Such schools are still able to bid successfully to the ESF, but will need to ensure that they provide strong evidence of how their proposals will mitigate the challenges faced by their Service children. Full details of how to bid can be found via the link at the bottom of this section. Bids that are incomplete or do not follow the instructions may be weeded out in the first round, so it is important to follow the process. Particular attention in the bid-writing process should be paid to:

  • Explaining how the school already utilises Service Pupil Premium (SPP) and demonstrating the effectiveness of this.
  • Identifying a suitable Armed Forces sponsor who can assist with a statement that focuses on the impact of the proposed project. Generic statements are less effective in strengthening a bid.
  • Providing actual numbers of Service children being supported and ensuring that the size of the bid is proportionate.
  • Demonstrating a sound understanding of the needs of Service children and how these might be addressed.
  • Avoiding bidding for projects which are clearly intended to bolster funding for whole-school activity without a clear rationale for specific impact for Service children.
Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant a school needs to be in the UK and have children of Service personnel on roll whose parents are subject to mobility and/or separation (see Criteria). Applicants should include clear evidence of the exceptional impact of mobility and/or separation which regional panels can then use to accurately score applications.

Applications can be accepted from:
  1. Maintained schools;
  2. Academies;
  3. Free schools;
  4. Sixth Form colleges;
  5. Groups of any schools described above (referred to as ‘cluster bids’ and are strongly encouraged);
  6. Local authorities on behalf of the publicly funded schools in their area.

If applying as a cluster, an individual school can also submit their own separate bid, provided it is for a different initiative. Full details need to be provided on the application form. A cluster bid may be stronger than an individual school bid as resources are being shared; helping to achieve better value for money outcomes. Where possible, applicants are to make their local authority aware of their application.

The following are not eligible:
  1. Childcare providers;
  2. Colleges of higher education or further education;
  3. Commercial organisations or those that would seek to charge for their solution to be provided to a school, for example – an organisation could not be awarded a grant to develop a training course which it then charges schools to attend.
2023 bidding round

In light of ongoing rebasing activity, with further unit and personnel moves and associated disruption expected, Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – formerly DCYP) has secured £3 million from the Head Office Top Level Budget to fund an extension of the ESF.

Following evidence provided by the NFF, this year the eligibility criteria for the fund have changed slightly to make it clear that schools experiencing exceptional impact from weekending, as well as deployment, may apply.

The bidding round for the 2023 ESF is now open until 30 September 2022.

Please click here for further information/ download the grant application pack.

 

*IMPORTANT INFO* In January 2022, the MOD published its 10-year strategy for improving support to Armed Forces families. As part of the MOD’s efforts to support the implementation of this strategy, existing grant funding schemes designed to support Service children are being reviewed. The ESF is currently under review and that your application may have to be submitted again through a new scheme.

4. Admissions and Appeal

Finding the right school for your child, and securing a place, can be challenging for any family, but Armed Forces families moving area can face additional hurdles if the school of their choice is oversubscribed. The Armed Forces Covenant will not automatically secure you a place at your school of choice, but it will help to make sure that you are not disadvantaged compared to civilian families.

If you have a particular problem with admissions to schools, please contact the Education Advisorty Team* (formerly CEAS) by email RC-DCS-HQ-EAT@mod.gov.uk to seek advice. If you would like to provide feedback to the NFF about your admissions issue, so that we can represent your experience to effect change, please email contactus@nff.org.uk.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

Admissions
  • England and Wales

You must apply for a place at a school, even if it’s linked to your child’s current nursery or primary school. The way you apply depends on whether you’re applying for a primary or a secondary school place. You should apply in the same way if you have just moved to England or Wales or are applying from abroad. Contact the council if you’re applying for a school place after the start of the school year (eg changing schools).

Applications open on different days in each local council area – usually at the start of the autumn term of the year before your child is due to start school. Find out from your local council when applications open, and the deadlines for primary or secondary schools. If you are unable to apply for a school place by the deadline because of an assignment, let the council know as soon as you can, if necessary using your unit address.

  • Scotland

Information on finding schools and the process can be found on the Parentzone Scotland website.  To make an application, contact the local council through the details here.

  • Northern Ireland

Separate procedures exist for admission to pre-school (2-4 years), primary (4-11 years) and post-primary (11-18 years) education. You can find out how to enrol a child here.

Appeals

All schools have admission criteria to decide which children get places. The school or local council usually set these. If you have not been able to get your child into your school of choice, there will be an appeal process which you can follow.

    • England: The admissions code can be found here. The appeals code is here.
    • Wales: The admissions and appeals codes can be found here.
    • Scotland: Please contact your local council to make an appeal.
    • Northern Ireland: Please contact the Education Authority for further information.
5. Term Time Absence

Deployment commitments have always meant difficulty for Royal Naval and Royal Marines families trying to tie in leave dates with school holidays.

 

Since September 2013, by law, headteachers are only able to grant requests for leave during term time in “exceptional circumstances”. In July 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released additional advice for headteachers regarding school term time absence for the children of Armed Forces personnel, stating: The educational needs of Service children affected will always be a critical factor when determining whether term-time absence should be granted.

 

As well as operational tours overseas or afloat, there are many situations where the unusual and often unpredictable demands of life in the Armed Forces may prevent Service families taking holidays together outside term time, which should be considered.

 

However as with all children, the decision on whether to authorise term-time holidays for the children of Service personnel sits solely with the Head Teacher of their school.

 

Separate advice should be provided to Service families explaining how they should present evidence when requesting absence during term-time, and reminding them firmly that the educational needs of their child(ren) will remain of great importance.

 

To assist headteachers in making their decisions on absence applications, Unit Commanding Officers and their Welfare Staff will be able to provide advice, verification and endorsement as required.

 

If Head Teachers are unsure how to make contact with the relevant Armed Forces unit they should contact the MOD’s Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – Formely DCYP): People-AFFS-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

To read the MOD’s ‘School Term Time Absence for Children of Service Personnel Guidance’ in full, click here.

6. Moving Schools
  • Moving schools packs for parents and schools

These packs can be used by parents and schools to supplement the information that schools must transfer by law. You can personalise the pack by using the sheets you find most useful, or you can add others that you think will help the school to know more about your child. The activity pack is aimed at children aged 6 to 11 years old, but you may want to adapt some of the ideas for your own child.

Download a copy of the moving school pack and pupil passport.

  • Common Transfer File – transferring between and from schools in England

The Naval Families Federation has been asking for better information transfer for Service pupils moving between schools, in response to feedback from families. The Common Transfer File (CTF), which is used by schools and local authorities to send pupil data whenever a pupil moves from one school to another in England, has been updated. This improves the information being transferred and helps to identify children who may need support as a result of their Service connection. It is not an extra form for schools to complete but a normal part of their practice.

It now contains a ‘flag’ which is used to identify a child’s Service status.

It also asks for four data items for Service children:

    • “Does the school have any concerns about the child’s response to moving school?”
    • “Does the school have any concerns about the child’s response to parental deployment?”
    • “Does the school have any concerns about the child’s response to parental separation?” (This field should be used to record concerns that the school has about Service children being separated from their parents due to extended training periods or other forms of duty.)
    • “Details about concerns”: this is a free text box in which the school can include further details about their concerns. The school may wish to include, in this free text section, contact details to assist in the integration of the new pupils.

The CTF system will be configured so that when a CTF is received by a school with the Service Child flag set to ‘Yes’, an alert will be automatically raised asking that a) the head teacher or appropriate member of staff should be informed of the identity of the Service child joining the school; and b) where the “concerns” section (described above) has not been completed, that the appropriate member of staff be informed and advised to contact the CTF sending school for clarification.

We would be interested to hear from families about their experiences of information transfer between schools. We are very aware that there are differences between the English system, the Devolved Governments and overseas provision. Do contact us and let us know about the challenges you have experienced, and also about examples of really effective practice.

7. Continuity of Education Allowance

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is offered by the MOD to assist with funding a place in boarding school in order to help to provide continuity of education for a child.

Eligibility

In claiming CEA, a Service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement. An exception to this requirement is when a Service person is classified as Involuntarily Separated (INVOLSEP).

CEA is available for children aged eight years and over. If your child has Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND), this should not prevent their admission to a boarding school, and an allowance for SEN support may be available in some circumstances.

Children for whom CEA is being claimed must be placed in their correct chronological year group. If a school suggests that a child be placed, on entry to the school, in the year behind (or in front of) their correct year group, advice and authority for this must be sought from the Education Advisory Team* (formerly CEAS) before the placement is accepted, as this may affect your eligibility to claim CEA. Advice and authority must also be sought from the Education Advisory Team* if a child is placed in the year behind or asked to repeat a year in a school they are already attending.

You are expected to contribute a minimum of 10% towards the fees. The fees are only part of the costs of attending a boarding school and so it is important to be clear about any extras the school charges for.

To find out more, check out the guidance from the Education Advisory Team* (formerly CEAS) here. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752 (Chapter 14). To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

CEA (Guardians)

The aim of Continuity of Education Allowance (Guardians) (CEA (Guardians)) is to financially assist Service parents who elect to place their child in the care of a guardian so that the child may continue to attend a particular day school. The allowance is intended to contribute to the additional costs of a child maintaining contact with its family when it is living away from the family home. The allowance is not intended to cover any costs for accommodation, education or welfare.

An eligible guardian is any person in whose care a child is placed to enable them to remain at a particular day school that the child could not attend if resident with their claimant parent. In this context, guardianship is deemed to exist if the claimant arranges private accommodation for the child, e.g., with a relative, friend, in rented accommodation, or in a YMCA or similar privately-run hostel. The safety and security of each child is the responsibility of the parents in such an arrangement. For full details of the allowance and of eligibility, see JSP 752 (Chapter 14 Section 5).

8. Teaching Resources
CPD resources for schools

A review of all current CPD resources for schools can be found here.

The Experience of Parental Absence in Royal Navy and Royal Marines Families

The Experience of Parental Absence in Royal Navy and Royal Marines Families

Our guide to supporting children and families, as endorsed in the Living in Our Shoes report, can be downloaded free here.

Thriving Lives Toolkit

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the free Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and a 3 tier set of CPD resources. The resources in this toolkit have been developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK, and consist of:

  • an introductory animation;
  • a detailed resource introducing the evidence base, what schools can do to support their Service children and who can help and;
  • school case studies.

 

This toolkit is available as a downloadable resource as well as an online interactive platform.

Armed Forces Day

Learning resources for schools wishing to show their support for Armed Forces Day, including assembly plans and teachers’ notes for both primary and secondary schools.

Posted on: 11th May, 2022

1. NFF Parental Absence Resource

Parental absence report front page.Being a parent and raising children is exciting and rewarding, but it can be tough at times for any family. The amount, patterns and types of parental absence faced by Royal Navy and Royal Marines families present additional challenges that are not routinely experienced by most civilian families.

 

In response to feedback from families, the Naval Families Federation has produced a resource about the experience of parental absence. The purpose of the resource is to draw together some useful information about parental absence and separation, and provide some strategies to help families thrive.

Request a copy

If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to give a copy to your child’s school, or to other people in your network, to help them to understand your circumstances.

 

You can download a free copy here.

 

Alternatively, Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and those supporting them, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.

 

*Please note: Since its publication, some of the supporting organisations/ charities have undergone rebranding. We are currently working on updating this resource. Please double check their contact details before making contact.

2. Strengthening Families – By Your Side

‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, an offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, was officially launched on 1st September 2020. Developed by the NFF and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), the project aims to provide RN/RM families the right support, at the right time. Please note, this programme officially extended its eligibility to serving RFA families as of April 2022.

Strengthening Families Info Poster
A5 insert, talking about strengthening families.

Please click on the images to view the enlarged version. Find out more about how this can help you and your loved ones from the sections below or click here to visit RNRMC’s website for further details.

Relationship support

Relate logo

Relate are the UK’s largest provider of relationship support.

  • ‘Building Stronger Families’ is a free-of-charge, self-directed relationship online learning portal for RN/RM Service personnel and their partners.
  • Free face-to-face, online and telephone counselling is also available. They can help with relationships, family life and parenting, separation and divorce and help for children, young people and young adults. It also includes bereavement and loss support. You can contact them via their dedicated RN/RM hotline (01302 380 279) or visit this page.
Support for children and young people

Aggies logo

Dame Agnes Weston’s Royal Charity for the Naval Service (or “Aggie Weston’s”) is one of the oldest Naval charities. Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.

  • Aggie’s Pastoral Workers offer support by phone, through social media, at events, or on occasions through home visits. The team are to listen, encourage, signpost and provide practical support.

 


KIDS UK logo

KIDS provides a wide range of support services to disabled children, young people and their families across England, supporting over 13,500 families each year. They work with children with any disability from birth to 25 years of age, offering support to the whole family with the aim of giving disabled children a brighter future.

  • KIDS support young carers aged 7-19 across England.
  • They also run weekly Staying Positive group for young disabled people aged 14-25 (Gosport and Havant).

 


Kings Active Foundation logo

Kings Active Foundation exist to get children active, having fun and learning together.

  • Kings run activity camps at Naval establishments over school holidays for children aged 5-17 with a serving parent. The cost is subsidised by the RNRMC. Those who live away from base port areas can also take part in the camps at a civilian location near them with the same subsidised cost.
  • Teenagers aged between 15-17 and take part in the Rookie Academy. It is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.
Community support

Aggies logo

Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.

  • Aggies holds groups and events for spouses/partners and toddlers, including but not limited to after-school homework clubs, Storybook Waves book clubs, financial management courses.

 


Home Start logo

Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. They are there for parents when they need help the most, because childhood can’t wait. Please make contact via their dedicated RN/RM phone line: 0116 464 5450

  • Local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young people through challenging times, including 1-to-1 sessions, group support, linking to other local support networks.
  • 2-hour weekly support sessions by a volunteer to support you during challenging times (e.g. isolation health, bereavement).

 


Mellow Mums logo

Mellow Mums is an 8-week digital support group that is ‘postcode blind’. It aims to support mums in the RN/RM community with children under 2. It has been developed to reduce isolation and to support better perinatal mental health. Participants will have the opportunity to meet other mums in the community and share their experience too.

  • 8-week informal, confidential one-hour session delivered on Zoom with a Home-Start coordinator. Please email homestart.shpt@gmail.com for further information.
Financial support

Naval Children's Charity logo

The Naval Children’s Charity (NCC, formerly the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund) offers help to children up to the age of 25 with a parent or guardian who is a current or former member of the Royal Navy including the Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

  • NCC offers help to their beneficiaries by providing grants, advice and guidance.
  • NCC offers free books to help children to understand feelings when a parent goes away.
Information and support

 

Have you signed up to the Royal Navy Forum yet?

 

The Royal Navy Forum is a safe and secure environment to engage with RN/RM Families to ensure they are INFORMED INVOLVED INTOUCH with the Royal Navy and its stakeholders. The topics area works as a notice board to inform readers on all aspects and updates from the MOD and external stakeholders – this is an open area – should you wish to have these updates into your mailbox then all you need to do is join and subscribe to the areas you are interested in.

 

Inside the Members area, you will find Local Support groups, Unit and Network areas, Overseas and Training Establishments which provide more bespoke information and discussion areas to engage with like-minded people.

 

To join, you or your family and friends need your full name as it is on JPA and your Service Number. Once in, navigate to the areas of interest and ask to join – the RN Forum Team will let you in. Don’t forget to click on the bell to follow and receive regular updates to your inbox.

3. Subsidised holiday camps for young people

As part of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ (see section above), young people from serving RN/RM/RFA families can apply to access sports and activity camps right across the UK at a subsidised rate. This is a partnership between the RNRMC and the Kings Active Foundation.

5 - 14 years olds
  • Baseport areas: The camps are available at selected bases and establishments during school holidays. Please check out the RNRMC’s website and their social media channels for the latest news and updates.

 

  • Other locations: For those who live away from baseport areas, you can also book your children onto any of Kings Camp’s 55 nationwide non-military locations – click here for a list of venue. When making the booking, please mention that you a RN/RM family in order to recieve the discount.
15 - 17 years olds

Rookie Academy is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.

4. Thriving Lives toolkit

SCiP Alliance - Thriving Lives tookitThe Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance), has worked with partners across the UK to develop a self-reflection tool for schools to consider their support for children in Armed Forces families. Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and suite of resources developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK.

 

Parents are encouraged to share this resource with their children’s school(s). 

Last updated: 27th May, 2022

News: 21st February 2022

 

Today the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations launch the ‘Duty and Care: Armed Forces Family Mobility and Health Care’ report. This report provides practical recommendations to inform and tackle disadvantage as well as improve health outcomes for families required to move frequently due to Service need.

 

This study, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the MOD Families Team, was conducted by the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and sponsored by the three Families Federations. Families have shared their experiences to form the basis of this research and as the Foreword says, “Their voices are the most important ones here”.

The recommendations were co-created by key stakeholders to identify the clearest possible lines of responsibility and accountability.

 

Top line recommendations are:
  1. Gaining confidence of families – that the Service will support them, but the Service needs to be kept informed about any health factors that might affect postings
  2. Building on existing frameworks – to support postings – ensuring that information is captured effectively
  3. Encourage families to identify current and potential needs to primary care
  4. Expand the education and training of all NHS staff to understand the needs of mobile military families
  5. Provide more information to military families on the variable nature of the NHS, particularly when moving across devolved national borders
  6. Improving transfer of information – the transfer of health care records between primary care organisations
  7. Continuity of care, using remote access
  8. Creating single points of contact for Armed Forces families to seek advice
  9. Dentistry – look for ways to support Service families seeking dental care

 

Access the report

Click here to access the report.

 

Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty says:

“As a former soldier, I know only too well that families are the backbone of our Armed Forces. But unlike Serving personnel, they haven’t chosen this career, so it is even more important we give them the support they need. One of the greatest challenges faced by military families is access to quality health care.

“That’s why I very much welcome the practical recommendations set out in Anglia Ruskin University’s excellent report published today.

“Anglia Ruskin University and the Families Federations have played their part… Now it is our turn. Our upcoming Families Strategy will work hand-in-glove with the NHS, care providers, MOD, single Services and the Families Federations to translate this advice into action.”

 

Forces in Mind Trust Professor of Veterans and Families Studies, Michael Almond says:

“Through interviews with military families and those with responsibility for providing, commissioning and advising on health care for military families we were able to deliver this report which provides practical and operational recommendations for policy and practice, directed at care providers, the NHS, MOD, and families themselves, to tackle disadvantage and improve health outcomes for those families required to move frequently as a result of Service need.”

 

The Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Martin Connell CBE says:

“The wellbeing of our Naval families is a vital factor in the effectiveness of our operations, so I welcome initiatives that provide our families with the support they deserve.

 

“Military life creates a number of disruptive challenges for families to contend with, not least of which is the occasional requirement to move as duty demands.

 

“This can disrupt or interrupt access to quality health care or education, so Anglia Ruskin University’s comprehensive report, sponsored by the Naval Families Federation and its partner organisations, will prove a valuable asset in improving the service and support provided to families.

 

“The fact that the report draws directly on families’ experiences gives the recommendations particular weight, and it is now down to the MOD, the three Services, NHS England, care providers and the families federations to ensure that these recommendations are converted into practical measures.

 

“We are proud of our Naval families, just as we are proud of our sailors and marines, and we must ensure that all members of the wider Naval family have unhindered access to the first-class health care provided by our wonderful NHS.”

 

Further information/advice

If you experience issues or concerns regarding your family’s health care you can contact us where our health and wellbeing subject lead can be on hand to help.