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Author: NFF

If your child attends a state school, Academy or Free school in England and has been registered with the school as a Service pupil, the school will be granted a Service Pupil Premium of £300.

The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is provided by the Department for Education (DfE) to enable schools to offer additional, mainly pastoral support during challenging times; this could include anything from a Service parent being away, being injured on active service, to bereavement. Funds are paid directly to schools with Head Teachers and school Governors deciding how the funds are used.

Schools with Service children in Reception to Year 11 classes are eligible to receive SPP, but only if your child’s name appears on the school roll as being a Service child. The annual census takes place on 18 January 2018 and children must be registered with the school before this date.

You are encouraged to contact the school and make them aware your child is from a Service family. Pupils with a parent who is on full commitment as part of the full time Reserve Service are classed as Service children. This information is not shared with other organisations and is protected on the National Pupil database.

 

Service Pupil Premium – examples of best practice

Service Pupil Premium – information for schools

Service Pupil Premium – what you need to know

Elsewhere in the UK:

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
  • posted 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 here.

 

Scotland

A Service child indicator is available and Service families should be encouraged to register. Currently there is not Service Pupil Premium for Service children living in Scotland, but the Scottish government strategy for school funding takes into account areas such as deprivation, mobility and under achievement. By registering as a Service family, this highlights clusters of mobile families and will attract more funding for the school.

 

Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales, however there is a pupil deprivation grant which supports pupils who are eligible for free school meals.

 

For any other queries regarding Service children contact the Directorate Children and Young People’s educational advisory arm, Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) via email: DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.uk or telephone: 01980 618244

 

Edit: The Secretary of State for Defence in July 2018 announced the extension of the Education Support Fund, on a limited basis, for an additional two years. The fund will consist of £3 million in 2018/19 and £2 million in 2019/20. The bidding round for 2019 is now closed.

 

Posted on: 18th December, 2017
Updated on: 6th September, 2018

Aggie Weston’s Storybook Waves project has secured funding from Annington Trust to help families connect, particularly during times of separation, through a new nationwide network of Book Clubs.

The Storybook Waves Book Club has just launched in 21 venues close to home port areas. Thanks to a grant of over £40,000 from Annington Trust, the monthly book clubs will provide families with the opportunity to meet in a secure and friendly environment. While the children are entertained with books and craft activities based around the theme of a popular children’s book, their parents can chat and build relationships with other families. An Aggie Weston’s Pastoral worker will be available at each of the venues to be a listening ear to anyone experiencing challenges that separation can bring, and provide encouragement and support to families when needed.

 

Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Naval Families Federation and also Trustee of Annington Trust,  along with Jane Harsham from Annington, presented Aggies with the grant.

 

Chair of Trustees for Annington, Helen Liddell said:

“Aggies Storybook Waves is a simple, thoughtful and sensitive way of bringing pleasure to the families of our sailors and Royal Marines. These Book Clubs will help to reduce isolation, bring communities together and strengthen those vital support networks Service families deserve. We hope the Book Clubs will help build community cohesion within the ‘patch’ or amongst the separated families. Annington’s is proud to be supporting the Clubs.”

 

To contact Storybook Waves, please call 0300 302 0183

 

Posted on: 12th December, 2017

The Naval Families Federation shared the announcement made by the Government last year (2017), that spouses and civil partners of Service personnel will be able to apply for a new type of National Insurance (NI) credit to protect their State Pension, if they have accompanied their partner overseas. However, the BBC reported yesterday that fewer than 4,000 people have applied for this so far. Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, insisted that not enough people are getting what they deserve, saying: “this is a very good scheme to recognise the service of military wives over the years, but the take-up so far has been very poor”.

The payments could be worth up to £30,000 over the course of retirement so if you believe you are eligible, please ensure that you apply.

 

How do you know if you’re eligible to apply for the new credits?

Service spouses and civil partners will be eligible to apply for the new Class 3 NI credits if they:

  • reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means they were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man); and
  • are or have been married to/ in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
  • have accompanied their spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
  • at the time of the posting their spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance.

You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad. Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits. For example, you may not have a gap if you:

  • were working in a job during the accompanied assignment where you paid UK NI contributions
  • were self-employed and paying self-employed Class 2 NI contributions throughout the accompanied assignment;
  • received certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (previously called Incapacity Benefit or Invalidity Benefit) or Child Benefit for the whole of the accompanied assignment(s)outside the UK.

 

How do I apply?

There is no time limit in applying for Class 3 NI credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age any increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application. For information about applying for the new Class 3 credit visit here.

 

The Class 1 NI Credit: A wider range of benefits for deployments since April 2010

The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to new State Pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits (to be replaced for new claimants by Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017).

 

More information

Further information about NI credits for Service spouses and civil partners is available online at here.

 

Posted on: 7th December, 2017

Telling your story to UCAS

Children from military service families are under-represented in the higher education population. Up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family (McCullouch and Hall, 2016). This has recently been recognised by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), which now identifies children from military families as a target group to be addressed by universities and colleges in their access arrangements. You can find out more about this on OFFA’s website and view each university’s access arrangements here.

The Naval Families Federation is working with its partners in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to improve further and higher education outcomes for Service children, and to encourage universities to include them in their access arrangements.

What do I need to do as a potential university applicant, or the parent of a young person applying to go to university?

You can, if you wish, make the university aware of your status as a child of a military family. Very often we find that young people from Armed Forces families do not consider themselves to be particularly ‘different’. You may not see any reason why your characteristics should be of any special interest to your chosen university. On the other hand, there may be aspects of being part of an Armed Forces family that have influenced your choices and outcomes. Your UCAS application gives you an opportunity to say something about these if you wish to do so. Obviously you are your own person, and not defined by your parent’s military service, but it may have had an influence – positive, negative or neutral – on your educational journey and your personal growth.

My UCAS application

There are 3 areas of your UCAS application where you may identify as a young person from a military family:

Parental Occupation

On your UCAS application, there is a parental occupation box with a drop down menu from which you can select ‘Armed Forces’. This enables UCAS to collect data which will help build a clearer picture of what is happening for Armed Forces families nationally.

Personal Statement

There is plenty of information on the UCAS website about writing your personal statement. We particularly like the writing tool which leads you through the sections and explains what to include. You can find it on the UCAS website here.

Section 1 – the course

The first section of your personal statement will explain:

  • why you are applying for your chosen course;
  • why the subject interests you;
  • why you are suitable for the course;
  • how your current or previous studies relate to the chosen course;
  • and what other activities you have undertaken that demonstrate your interest in the course.

Section 2 – your skills and achievements

In the second section you will write about the skills and achievements that will help you on your chosen course of study and with life at university in general, giving evidence to support why you are right for your course. There is an opportunity to say something here about particular skills that you may have gained from being part of an Armed Forces family. Keep it positive. Include skills that are relevant to the course you are hoping to study and make the link. For example:

I moved schools frequently as a result of my parent’s service, and have learnt to settle in quickly in new places and cope with change.

My parent has been away from home a lot with the Armed Forces. I have needed to be responsible for my younger siblings at times, and this has helped me to organise my time and be reliable.

I have learned to cope with stress and be more resilient as a result of my parent being injured whilst deployed on combat operations. Although it was hard at the time, I worry less now about big challenges because I know I can cope with difficult situations.

I am a young carer for my brother who has special educational needs. When my dad is serving away from home with the Armed Forces, I take on additional responsibility for my brother while my mum is at work. This shows that I am independent and resourceful.

As someone from an Armed Forces family, I have had to be adaptable and flexible as roles and routines in our home change a lot depending whether my dad is away.

UCAS Undergraduate Reference

You can give your permission for your school, college or registered centre to include information in your reference about your circumstances that may have affected/have affected your academic work.

For example:

  • School moves that disrupted your learning for a particular course of study;
  • A parent deployed on combat operations during examinations;
  • Being a young carer;
  • Having a serving parent who is affected by a life-changing injury or medical condition.

This information can help the admissions staff at the university to consider your achievements and potential in context. It is best if you let you referee see a copy of your personal statement so that they can avoid duplicating what you said, but they can comment on what you wrote if they wish.

Good luck!

We wish you every success with your application. If you want to tell us about your journey into higher education, please do get in touch with us at contactus@nff.org.uk . We would love to hear your story!

Further information

If you are a teacher, or are supporting a student with their UCAS application, please encourage them to complete all the relevant application fields in full.  You can find out more about contextualised admissions here.

If you are writing a reference for a student’s UCAS application, you can find additional guidance here.

 

Download this article here.

 

Posted on: 1st December, 2017

The Royal Navy has announced that in order to meet the demands of future Defence tasks, they are planning to conduct a number of Type 23 (T23) frigate baseport changes to co-locate all Towed Array Anti-Submarine T23 frigates in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport, and all General Purpose T23 frigates in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.

 

Why?

The introduction of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carriers into service and the Royal Navy’s future focus on Carrier Strike Task Group (CSTG) operations has presented the opportunity to optimise the baseport locations of the T23 Frigates.

A CSTG will comprise of at least one Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carrier, two Type 45 (T45) Destroyers and two T23 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates. With the baseports of the eight T23 ASW frigates currently split between Portsmouth and Devonport, there is the potential for Portsmouth to have to simultaneously generate five major platforms; the Royal Navy has stated that this would be extremely challenging for a single dockyard to manage. Re-baseporting all T23 ASW frigates in Devonport aims to provide greater operational flexibility and de-risk T23 availability for CSTG.

 

What is the timescale?

The Naval Families Federation has been told that the baseport changes will occur during, what the Royal Navy calls, unmanned ‘Upkeep’ periods, so that they can aim to provide a smooth personnel transition programme to minimise disruption for ships’ crews and their families.

The change programme will start with HMS Richmond in August 2018, with all subsequent ships baseport changing on the first day of their next ‘Upkeep’ period. We have been assured that all baseport changes, which will complete by 2023, are in excess of the minimum manning notice.

Portsmouth Naval Base aims to benefit from additional investment to support QEC and T45 Destroyers; Devonport will become the focus for the generation of surface ship Anti-Submarine Warfare capability.

The Royal Navy routinely reviews its requirements for future waterfront infrastructure, including berths, docks and related facilities, to inform decisions regarding infrastructure investment, base porting and maintenance. A decision has yet to be made for the base porting of the Type 26 and Type 31e Frigates, however we will update you as soon as we receive further information.

 

The T23s to be baseport changed are as follows: 

Ship Current Baseport Future Baseport
RICHMOND Portsmouth Devonport
ST ALBANS Portsmouth Devonport
MONMOUTH Devonport Portsmouth
ARGYLL Devonport Portsmouth
WESTMINSTER Portsmouth Devonport
MONTROSE Devonport Portsmouth
KENT Portsmouth Devonport

 

If you would like to contact us with your feedback or you have any questions regarding this announcement, please phone us on 023 9265 4374 or email contactus@nff.org.uk .

 

Posted on:  30th November, 2017

Policy Announcement

Under existing rules, living accommodation provided to members of the Armed Forces is free from a benefit-in-kind tax charge. The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) is still under development, however it plans to provide Service personnel with an accommodation allowance to help them rent or maintain accommodation in the private housing market in the United Kingdom. This does not affect members of the Armed Forces serving overseas.

The accommodation allowance will not be subjected to National Insurance contributions (NICs). A Class 1 NICs disregard will be introduced through regulations after Royal Assent to Finance Bill 2017-18.

This measure was announced at the Autumn Budget 2017.

 

Operative date

The measure will have effect after the date of Royal Assent to Finance Bill 2017-18, once regulations have been laid to impose conditions on the types of allowance that qualify for the exemption.

 

Current law

Service personnel are subject to income tax on the full amount of cash received as earnings from an employment under Part 2 of ITEPA 2003.

 

Proposed revisions

Legislation in the Finance Bill 2017-18 will introduce a new section in Chapter 8 of Part 4 of ITEPA 2003 which will provide that accommodation allowance payments to members of the Armed Forces are not liable to Income Tax.

The new legislation defines the accommodation allowance as an allowance paid for or towards the cost of accommodation for a member of the Armed Forces.

Regulations will be laid at a further date after Royal Assent to Finance Bill 2017-18 that will set out the conditions on the types of allowances that will qualify for the exemption. These conditions will be confirmed once the Ministry of Defence has taken its final decision on the types of accommodation allowance it will provide.

To find out more, please click here.

 

Feedback

We welcome your comments and feedback on The Future of Accommodation Model and we will continue to take your views forward. You can email us at contactus@nff.org.uk.

 

Posted on: 23rd November, 2017

Children and young people should be protected from inappropriate and excessive caring responsibilities so they can enjoy their childhoods, thrive and reach their potential.

 

Young carers from Armed Forces Families have been highlighted as a particularly vulnerable group. The impacts of the caring roles for these young people are further compounded by other factors linked specifically with military life. We have worked in collaboration with the Children’s Society to help them to produce this report.

 

It evidences the need for support for these young people and proposes actions to improve identification and assistance. The report also contains recommendations for military and civilian services and suggestions for further actions and reading.

 

Posted on: 16th November, 2017

When we speak to families they tell us that navigating allowances can be difficult. To make life a little easier we have pulled out some useful information that could have an impact on family life. There are various allowances that Service Personnel may become eligible for in certain circumstances or at different qualifying points in their career, such as a new Assignment. Advice can be taken from your family member’s Unit Personnel Office (UPO) and up to date information can also be found here.

This article aims to highlight a few of the allowances that your family member may be entitled to, and which have to be claimed for and assessed for eligibility by your family member’s UPO rather than paid automatically, of which you may not have been aware and some will require evidence, such as proof of address. Reservist’s eligibility for some allowances will be based on the type of their commitment so regulations should always be checked.

Travel Allowances

1. Home to Duties – (HTD) – An allowance paid to personnel who travel to work daily based on the mileage travelled. If the serving person lives in privately owned or rented accommodation they must contribute for the first nine miles before they are eligible to claim; if personnel live in Service Family Accommodation the allowance starts after the first three miles. It is paid automatically at a daily rate for shore side personnel but it is paid on a manual basis for personnel serving onboard a Ship. Personnel can also claim for travel on Public Transport, which will also be claimed manually.

2. Get You Home (Travel) – GYH (Travel) – Payable to personnel who live at work in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or a Residence at Work Address and travel home at weekends. To be eligible you need to live over 50 miles away. This allowance cannot be paid alongside allowances such as HTD or Longer Separation Allowance. If you are temporarily serving at a different location for 10 days or more, then you can claim this allowance for the distance between the permanent and temporary duty station.

3. Get You Home (Sea goers) – If you are serving on-board a Ship then you are entitled to 10 warrants per leave year in order to travel to an eligible nominated address, such as Next Of Kin, Spouse or Parent. You could also transfer up to six warrants per year to your immediate family, a Spouse or Dependent Child, to travel from their home to the family member’s place of duty. When your Ship is deployed, up to six warrants per year can also be transferred to close family such as a Grandparent, Parent or Sibling, as long as the travel is to visit the Spouse, or to the Spouse/Child in order to visit either set of Parents.

4. Railcards – All personnel are entitled to apply for an HM Forces Railcard at a cost of £19. The card saves 1/3 of the cost of most rail fares in the UK and is valid for a year. Spouses and Dependent children are also eligible for a card. Please note that expenses for a duty or GYH journey can’t be claimed for if that journey is undertaken using an HM Forces Railcard.

Education Allowances

If you and your family change location due to assignment, then you may be able to claim the Continuity of Education allowance.

1. Continuity of Education (CEA) – There are several parts to this allowance to take in individual circumstances, including Boarding School and children with Special Educational Needs. To be eligible in most cases, the family must be living with the Service Person unless they are serving on board a Ship at sea, or are deployed in an Operational Area where families are not allowed to accompany them.

Relocation Expenses and Allowances

Moving home due to a new assignment? Help is available with those extra costs involved.

1. Disturbance Expenses – If you are assigned a new Unit then you can claim Disturbance Expenses, though you cannot claim if you are moving on board a Ship. The allowance is paid at different rates depending on the type of accommodation such as SLA or SFA (Service Family Accommodation) and the location, for example UK or Overseas.

2. Movement and Storage of Personal Effects – This is to enable personnel to move home at Public Expense when assigned to a new Unit at a new location or after an authorised Mid-Assignment move. In the majority of cases, Removals and storage provision is to be delivered by the MOD contractor. The maximum volume of Personal Effects that can be moved or stored is 67.92 CuM. This allowance cannot be claimed when a couple are first setting up a home after marriage or Civil Partnership.

Accommodation Allowances

There are several accommodation allowances to support personnel with charges they may incur due to the nature of their assignment.

1. Lodging Allowance – To enable personnel in the UK to rent accommodation when single public accommodation is not available.

2. Overseas Rent Allowance – If you are assigned overseas and there is no suitable Service accommodation available, then you can access an allowance to reimburse you with the cost of rent and utilities for rented accommodation.

3. Overseas Furniture Provision Scheme – If you are moving to unfurnished publicly rented accommodation or foreign government quarters, then this allowance will help with the provision of furniture and furnishings.

4. Council Tax Relief – (CTR) – This allowance is for personnel who pay council tax in the UK and are serving abroad on specified operations or assignments. It is paid for each day that the person is on the qualifying assignment and includes time spent out of theatre on Rest and Recuperation. It is not paid to personnel who have already negotiated a discount with their Local Council. The allowance will be paid automatically to personnel living in SFA unless the qualifying person is living in a Married Quarter and is not the PSTAT 1/2 partner (they are not the one paying SFA and Council Tax charges) in which case they will have to claim separately as if they were living in private accommodation. The daily rate for CTR is based on the average Council Tax per dwelling in England.

Remember –

There are many different allowances that cover countless differing situations, so it is always wise to consult your Unit Personnel Office with any queries, particularly when proceeding on a new Assignment.

More information

The MOD has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive. Find it here.

If you are due to be assigned overseas, please visit this page for further information on Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).

Posted on: 9th November, 2017
Updated on: 29th November, 2018

In preparation for presenting evidence to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) 2017 the Naval Families Federation (NFF) asked you what you thought about pay in the Naval Service.

 

Your Voice Heard 

438 of you responded with 215 choosing to provide us with invaluable free text feedback.

 

Around 50% of you told us that you were: concerned about your financial situation some of the time; able to save for a rainy day some of the time; worried about managing your debts some of the time; and felt there was enough money coming in to pay for the things that you need some of the time.

 

Around 25% of you felt satisfied with your financial situation and shared with us that there was enough money coming into your household to pay for the things that you need a lot of the time.

 

Of those of you who said you have had to make changes as a result of the ongoing public sector pay restraint during the past 12 months, three quarters of you told us that you had to cut back on holidays/leisure activities.

 

To read the results in full, please click here.

 

Update: 

The AFPRB will meet in the Autumn term in 2018. The survey for AFPRB is now closed. Read the survey results in full here.

 

Posted on: 24th October, 2017
Updated on: 12th November, 2018

Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to members of the public across a range of different legal areas. They help those who are unable to access legal advice as part of their effort to bridge the gap in access to justice.

 

Advice is delivered by QMLAC Student Advisers under the supervision of qualified lawyers.

 

A member of QMLAC will contact you within three working days to get a few more case details, to establish whether your legal issue is something student advisers are able to assist with. You will also be asked for your household income to determine whether you meet the income threshold to receive free legal advice.

 

If they are able to help, a virtual appointment will be offered to the you. Following that appointment, you will receive your advice letter 14 days later. Please note the clinics run on an academic term time basis only.

 

Appointments will start from October to April only. Follow this link to find out more.

Posted on: 19th October, 2017
Updated on: 6th October, 2020