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Author: NFF

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, and to enable the spouse of a Service person to accompany them on assignments.

 

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). This classification must be confirmed by the claimant’s Commanding Officer or by means of casework to Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) before claiming while serving unaccompanied.

 

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 Children’s Education and Advisory Service before the placement is accepted, as this may affect your eligibility to claim CEA. Advice and authority must also be sought from CEAS if a child is back-yeared 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 CEAS here. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752, part 2 (Chapter 9). To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

 

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 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).

 

CEA (Guardians) is paid at the rate of £10.00 per day (correct August 2018).

 

Posted on: 17th May 2016
Last updated on: 24th January, 2019

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published fertility guidelines that make recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England and Wales.

If you are considering IVF, you may want to have a look at the links as they provide a lot of useful information:

The policies regarding NHS funding for Assisted Conception procedures vary across the UK. More information on the policies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found below.

 

England 

NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service. But the provision of IVF treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local CCG policies. In some cases, only 1 cycle of IVF may be routinely offered, instead of the 3 recommended by NICE. Find out more here.

Please note that there is a specific policy in place for members of the Armed Forces who wish to consider IVF treatment which only applies in England. More information can be found here.

 

Scotland 

Eligible patients who are new referrals from 1st April 2017 may be offered up to three cycles of IVF/ICSI. Find out more here.

 

Wales 

In November 2009 the Minister for Health & Social Care announced that patients who meet the access criteria, where the woman is aged less than 40, will be entitled to two NHS cycles of treatment. In 2013, in view of the NICE Guidance update for fertility services, the all Wales expert advisory group made recommendations that fertility services should be available up to a woman’s 43rd Birthday. Find out more here.

 

Northern Ireland 

In Northern Ireland the Health and Social Care Board (HSC) are responsible for commissioning of fertility services. A motion calling for the HSC to provide three full cycles of treatment has been approved in principle, but in reality additional finance needs to be made available to make this happen, even in a phased approach. Find out more here.

 

Posted on: 17th May, 2016

SSAFA Adoption Service is an independent adoption agency. Registered with OFSTED, the Scottish Care Commission and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (Northern Ireland), they are one of a network of professional not for profit specialists, who work independently across local authority boundaries to provide consistent high quality support for adopters in the military and their adopted children. They help to create families fulfilling lives together. They are there for anyone serving who wishes to create a family through adoption.

SSAFA understand the particular challenges that serving families face during the adoption process.

Regular postings and deployments can make it difficult for serving personnel to adopt through local authorities but by offering a nationwide service SSAFA is able to support families through the entire process no matter where they move and no matter how long it takes.

Their dedicated staff work tirelessly to help ensure that serving personnel have the same opportunity to be assessed as adoptive parents as anyone else. They are always looking for people who can offer children a loving and supportive family for life.

SSAFA staff work with Armed Forces employers to ensure housing and educational needs are met and they also offer a wide range of extra support to adoptive families including practical help and assistance from local volunteers on the ground, and a dedicated post-adoption Social Worker who adopters can speak to at any stage in their post-placement journey.

More information about the SSAFA Adoption Service can be found here.

 

Have you considered fostering but you’re not sure whether you are able to if you live in Service provided accommodation?

The Joint Service Publication which sets out the policy for Service accommodation states that: ‘All Service personnel (including personnel who are single) who are active foster carers are entitled to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or SFA above entitlement, where required, akin to personnel with natural or adopted children. Within the UK, approval as a foster carer and active (or forthcoming) fostering should be confirmed by means of a letter from the relevant Local Authority stipulating the geographical area (as this impacts on whether foster carer status carries over after being posted to a new location) and duration of approved foster carer status’. For further information, please click here.

 

Further information about Fostering

Recently awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted. The National Fostering Agency has been finding loving foster parents to improve children’s lives for decades. Find out more here.

 

Posted on: 17th May, 2016

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Research shows that Royal Navy and Royal Marines spouses/partners represent an untapped pool of skilled labour. However, a study by Barclays also shows that almost 40% of Service spouses and partners believe that having their other half in the Armed Services has prevented them from being offered a job interview. We have put together some facts, figures and real life examples of how employing a Service spouse or partner can benefit your organisation, please click here. 

 

Sharing good practice

Military Network – many organisations have set up a network for those staff members that have a connections to the Military community. This provides support within the workplace and also gives the organisation the opportunity to raise new ideas and suggest possible future projects that are specific to the Military community.

 

Internal Moves Policyreferencing a Military spouse/partner within the policy reassures your staff member that you are supportive of internal moves due to their serving partner’s Military assignments.

 

Cultureeach member of staff has different family needs at different times. The greatest support will come from creating a culture where everyone is treated as an individual and these needs can be discussed open and honestly with a view to finding a solution that works for both the individual and the organisation.

 

Employment Workshops  the Naval Families Federation has been approached by a number of organisations wishing to facilitate employment workshops for Service spouses. Barclays Bank, for example, have run a ‘skills’ workshop for Royal Navy and Royal Marines partners and spouses in the summer of 2018. A pilot workshop was held in Portsmouth and it is now rolling out across the country.

 

Recruitment – if you have a position which you think would be suitable for a Service spouse or partner and you would like us to assist with advertising the role, please email info@nff.org.uk with the details and we will be able to share this on our LinkedIn page here; Forces Families Job (ForcesFamiliesJobs.co.uk) is a Tri-Service platform to enable family members of serving personnel to have a ‘one stop shop’ where they can apply for jobs directly with employers who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as well as find signposting to other career and training opportunities. Please visit this page for more information. Listen to this podcast and find out more about how this platform can benefit employers.

 

Find out more

If you’re interested in finding out how you can offer employment support to Service spouses, or if you would like to know about Forces Families Jobs, please contact us at contactus@nff.org.uk.

 

Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge to acknowledge and understand those who serve/ have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, that they should be treated with fairness and respect. The Armed Forces Covenant can be signed by businesses of all sizes, charitable organisations, local authorities, public sector organisations and single services. Employers can choose specific promises or pledges to support their employees within the Armed Forces community. For example, employers can pledge to promote the fact that they are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation.

 

A report launched by The Forces in Mind Trust, titled ‘Benefit not Burden’, calls for increased awareness around the benefits to businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations in the UK in signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Defence Relationship Management has also produced a video to explain why this partnership is good for businesses and the Armed Forces community.

 

Defence – Employers Recognition Scheme

The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the Armed Forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant. 

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Last updated on: 24th February, 2020

Further education

Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that is not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree).

Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

FE also includes 3 types of technical and applied qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds:

  • level 3 tech levels to specialise in a specific technical job;
  • level 2 technical certificates help get employment or progress to another tech level;
  • applied general qualifications to continue general education at advanced level; through applied learning.

You can find out more about types of qualifications, funding and financial support here.

You can find a course through the National Careers Service.

Links to information for Scotland can be found from Skills Development Scotland.

For information about courses in Wales visit Adult Learning Wales.

For information about courses in Northern Ireland visit Northern Ireland Direct.

 

Scholarships for children whose parent died in Service – Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

You can apply for help with the costs of further and higher education if all of the following are true:

  • one of your parents died as a result of their service in the Armed Forces;
  • your parent died on or after 1 January 1990;
  • you’re 16 or over and in full-time education;
  • you or a surviving parent receive bereavement benefits from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, War Pension scheme or Armed Forces Attributable Benefits scheme.

You can’t apply if you were the foster child of the person who died.

You can use the money to pay tuition fees and your maintenance for:

  • a further education course of up to 3 years;
  • your first undergraduate course at a UK university or other higher education institution (such as a college or art school) – this can include study abroad if it’s part of the course;
  • a higher level technical education course at qualification levels 4, 5 or 6.

Find out more and apply here.

 

If you’re interested in learning new skills or starting a course, there are a range of educational opportunities open to you:

The Naval Education and Training Service (NETS)

The Naval Education and Training Service runs Learning and Development (LDC) centres at every Royal Navy and Royal Marines major Unit and Establishment. The aim is to promote and sustain a culture of continuous learning, and personal and professional development that maximises performance, growth and employability. The centres are set up for Service people, but spouses and partners can also access their functional skills, GCSE and other courses. Priority for spaces will go to serving people, but the centres do regularly provide courses to civilian partners. There will be an examination fee for GCSEs for civilian partners; tuition is free.

Contact your local NETS team:

NETS (East) – Portsmouth Naval Base

Enquiries Office:  023 92 725292

NETS (West) – Devonport Naval Base 

Enquiries Office:  01752 555300

NETS (North) – Clyde Naval Base

Enquiries Office:  01436 674321 Ext 3241

NETS (North) – Rosyth Naval Base

Rosyth Learndirect Centre: 01383 425775

 

The Open University

The Open University (OU) teaches through its own unique method of distance learning, called ‘supported open learning’. This is flexible, allowing students to work where and when they choose to fit in with jobs, families and other commitments. Find out about their courses here.

 

Learn Direct

Learn Direct are the UK’s largest provider of skills, training and employment services. They can help you to access qualifications in everyday skills like maths, English and IT, as well as vocational qualifications and Apprenticeships. Learning can be based in one of their centres, at work or online. Depending on what level you’re working towards and your age, your qualification could be funded by the government. For some qualifications, there might be a charge. If there is a charge and you’re 24 or over and on an eligible qualification, a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan could help. Find out more here.

 

Open Distance Learning Quality Council

Open or Distance Learning can be a good choice for Armed Forces family members. It is important to choose a reputable training provider. The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) aims to identify and enhance quality in education and training, and to protect the interests of learners. You can find out if a training provider is accredited by checking on the ODLQC’s website.

 

Future Learn

Future Learn is a private company wholly owned by The Open University. They offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life. They have 145 partners from around the world. These include many of the best UK and international universities, as well as institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, such as the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum, and the National Film and Television School.  They also work with a range of internationally renowned organisations – from professional bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), to businesses like the BBC and Marks & Spencer, to the UK Government. Find out more here.

 

Enhanced Learning Credits (for serving people)

The MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces. The scheme provides financial support in the form of a single up-front payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years. ELC funding is only available for pursuit of higher level learning i.e. for courses that result in a nationally recognised qualification at Level 3 or above on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (England, Northern Ireland and Wales), a Level 6 or above on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) or, if pursued overseas, an approved international equivalent qualification with an approved learning provider. To check eligibility and find out more visit the ELC website.

 

DistanceLearningCentre.com

Provides Access to Higher Education courses, and is an approved learning provider for the MOD ELC scheme. Find out more here.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016

If you are offered an overseas assignment, you will have to look carefully into the education available for your children. It is essential that your children are registered on JPA, and that you contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) for advice. This is especially important if you have a child with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).

 

The type and quality of education available will differ from country to country and often from one part of a country to another. Remember that what is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. The age and ability of your child will have an effect on your decision. The opportunity for a child to be educated in a different system and different culture can be attractive, but you will have to weigh up carefully the advantages and disadvantages.

 

Education provision overseas can be roughly divided into the following types, not all of which will be available in every location:

  • MOD schools;
  • English speaking schools (these may be local state schools, or in some cases independent day schools);
  • Non-English speaking schools (local state schools, with an allowance to help your child to learn the local language);
  • International schools (independent, usually English speaking schools).

 

If you decide that there is no suitable schooling for your child at the overseas posting you might want to consider boarding in the UK. The Continuity of Education Allowance is available for eligible service personnel to help them with the cost of boarding education.

 

Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools

MOD Schools is part of the Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP). MOD Schools provide education to the dependent children of service personnel and MOD entitled civilians, entitled contractors and fee payers. MOD schools are predominantly overseas, with one school in Scotland.

 

Unaccompanied Minors Flights

Different airlines have different policies regarding unaccompanied minors’ flights. To understand an airline’s specific unaccompanied minors’ policy, have a look on their website. If you cannot find an airline to book an unaccompanied minors flight, MOD policy will fund return flights for one parent to collect their children. Please visit this page for more information.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 3rd September, 2019

Special Educational Needs & Disability

The term ‘Special Educational Needs & Disability’ (SEND) has a legal definition, referring to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn or access education than other children of the same age.

If your child has a special educational need, they may require extra help in a range of areas, such as reading and writing, comprehension of information, building relationships and behavioral issues. They may also have a physical or sensory need which must be addressed.

 

UK wide

Contact a Family is a national charity for families with disabled children. It provides information, advice and support. It brings families together so they can support each other, click here.

 

England

The Family and Childcare Trust has produced a guide to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities in England, click here.

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) was launched in 2011, and is funded by central government. The NNPCF is a network of local forums meeting in regional settings, working together to effect local and national service improvement through participation and co-production with parent carers, click here.

 

Scotland

Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides education, employment and care services for, disabled children and adults across Scotland, click here.

 

Wales

SNAP Cymru provides information, advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs or disabilities. It provides impartial, confidential and free advice through its helpline and specialist casework service, click here.

 

Northern Ireland

The Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC) is a charity providing confidential, independent advice and advocacy on behalf of children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) attending schools in Northern Ireland up to the age of 19 years, click here.

Childcare Partnerships offer information and support to childcare providers, parents and employers. It supports parents to access quality childcare through an online childcare search facility, a guide to choosing a quality childcare service and by providing information on reducing childcare costs, click here.

 

Further Information
Registering a Special Educational Need

A special educational need should be registered with the Service. Although it is not compulsory, it would also be beneficial to register with CEAS, so that they can liaise with your employer to ensure that your child’s needs can be met on future postings.

 

Other Organisations

If your child has an additional need or disability, SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) can help.  It provides trained volunteers to help your family access practical and financial support.  It also hosts a Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum which is a support group for Armed Forces families with a family member with an additional need or disability.

 

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

 

Disability Benefits

GOV.UK – the official government website for citizens with a comprehensive section on Money, Tax and Benefits. Visit the website to find out if you are entitled to any disability benefits.

Citizens Advice Bureau – Offer advice on many subjects, including welfare and disability benefits.

Those residing in Scotland should contact Citizens Advice Scotland.

 

Naval Service Family & People Support (NS FPS) Information Office

Your local NS FPS Information Office is another excellent source of information regarding educational support agencies in your community.

 

Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS)

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) has been established specifically for Service families. It is aware of the unique circumstances of Service families and can offer information, advice and support on all aspects of a child/young person’s education within the UK and overseas. You can contact CEAS on: 01980 618244 or e-mail them at: dcyp-ceas-enquiries@mod.uk. CEAS is part of the Directorate Children and Young People; the MOD’s tri-Service lead for the delivery of statutory services for children and young people within the Armed Forces community worldwide.

 

Important Information for Parents and Schools regarding changes to the Special Educational Needs Addition to the MOD Continuity of Education Allowance

The MOD regulations for the Special Educational Needs Addition to the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA (SENA)) and CEA (SENA)(Day) have been revised with effect from January 2017; important changes which parents and schools should be aware of have been listed below including a list of frequently asked questions.

If further advice is required please contact CEAS by email: DCYP-CEAS-enquiries@mod.uk or telephone: 01980 618244.

  • The aim of Continuity of Education Allowance (Special Educational Needs Addition) (CEA (SENA)) is to contribute towards the additional costs associated with a specific support plan for an individual service child who has a level of Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) which cannot reasonably be met within the expected resources of a school.
  • The previous SENA system defined Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) as solely being ‘Dyslexia’. The new sections have been updated so that SEND is defined in terms as used by other government departments such as the Department for Education.
  • School generated information is required to evidence the level of a child’s special needs. School staff have the experience and knowledge of individual children and should be the best source of detailed information, collected over time, as to an individual child.
  • State boarding schools already work within the existing SEND Code of Practice and therefore SEND provision within those schools is easily understood as well as it being inspected by Ofsted
  • Independent schools other than Independent Special Schools are not bound by the SEND Code of Practice but do work with the duties outlined by the 2010 Equality Act – which requires all schools to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ when working with a child with special educational and/or additional needs
  • The requirement within the January 17 JSP 752 (version 29) regulations is that all SENA applications will now use the revised application paperwork and include a detailed individualised support plan for the child, articulated by the school and clearly outlining what the school can provide and also what the school believes is beyond what is ‘reasonable’ to provide from their existing resources
  • The application process will therefore have a more transparent focus on any potential gap between what the independent school does provide and what they believe should be provided through additional funding.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If SENA is changing, will I have to re-apply now, although my eligibility is still valid for some time yet?

SENA has always been a time limited allowance and that will not change with the revised arrangements. As before it will be the case that each eligibility certificate will have an end date. The SENA application process can take between 4-12 weeks and that is the same whether it is a new application or a renewal application. Decisions on renewals are taken based on the evidence that is provided. There are times when the evidence provided by the school is not clear enough to make a decision and in those cases we may request that the school gives better detail – hence why it can take up to 12 weeks to reach a decision.

If you intend to apply for a renewal of SENA then it is best to do so 12 weeks before the expiry date on your current certificate. In the meantime it is also best to make sure that your child’s school is capturing the information that it should be doing routinely, i.e. the interventions that they are using and their rationale for what they are doing, the outcomes and progress of those interventions for your child.

 

My child has no history of SEND. Will I be able to apply for SENA as he has just started boarding school and they think they may have discovered he has a need?

SEN can and does emerge at different ages and can take many and varied forms. Not all SEND requires an allowance to support the child’s needs, since much SEN related support should be routine for good schools and good teachers to be delivering as part of their practice. Decisions as to whether or not a child’s SEN is complex enough to require additional funding can only be taken based on the quality of the information provided. That information includes information specific to your child but it also includes information on what the school is doing and what they think that they should be doing differently for your child. That kind of information takes time to generate as every child is different and schools may work in different ways.

If your child has just started boarding school then it will take time for that school to collate the information that they would like to present which has led them to believe that your child has SEND and that it is complex enough to require something that they do not routinely provide. In the meantime it would also be useful for you to obtain information from your child’s previous school as to what they understood as to how your child presented in that school. That would help us to be able to understand any potential future application for SENA.

 

Under the Equality Act 2010 schools should be making reasonable adjustments – what does this mean?

Reasonable adjustments are those steps that schools have a duty to take to avoid ‘substantial disadvantage’ for pupils with a disability. The term ‘disability’ itself is also one that needs explanation and there are many resources online which explain these terms in more detail for example here.

Many adjustments are about changes in practice rather than to do with provision of anything expensive. A simple example would be a pupil with a visual impairment, who may require information printed in a larger font and it is entirely reasonable for a teacher to print any hand outs in a way that the pupil can readily access. Differentiating the curriculum means that pupils in the same class may have information and teaching presented to them in slightly different ways within the same class and that would also be a reasonable adjustment. In the state sector a school is expected to provide additional services to pupils with SEND up to the first £6,000 of provision. While that same expectation is not applied to the independent sector, who can and do charge parents directly for various services, the SEND allowance decision process expects that a range of adjustments have already been made by the independent school before the parents are encouraged to apply for SENA.

 

Why is the SENA process changing?

The SEND system has evolved significantly over recent years. The level of skill and expectation for all teachers has risen and it is expected now that all teachers are teachers of children with SEND. The old system where by a child with SEND was removed from main stream classes to be taught separately, often in specialist units or special schools changed many years ago with the move towards better inclusion.

The 2017 update of the SENA process brings the allowance into a more current and evidence based system, where the allowance is available to support SEND on a case by case basis rather than it being tightly ring fenced to only one aspect of SEND. The change in the process will also allow a better body of information to be generated by school staff so that it includes information on the child themselves but also builds evidence of what additional support has been delivered and what works for that child.

 

Will the new process take longer for me to receive the payments?

The process of payments remains the same which requires you to have a current SENA eligibility certificate and to process your claims in the usual way. Decisions on eligibility will take between 4-12 weeks and will always been significantly quicker if the information from the school regarding your child’s needs and the plan for how they are providing for those needs or will provide for them in the future is presented with detail and clarity. The updated application form will help guide the schools in how they need to record and present information and CEAS is always available to guide you as parents in the questions and requests that you can be asking of the school.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Last updated on: 2nd December, 2019

Education system

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 Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) 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.

 

Children’s Education Advisory Service

CEAS are part of the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) and 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 and overseas. CEAS 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.

 

Admissions and appeals

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 Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) by email DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@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 .

 

Admissions in 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:

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.

 

Admissions in Scotland

Information on finding schools and the process can be found on the Parentzone Scotland website. A guide about Scottish Education written for parents can be found here.  A full list of all the catchment schools serving military bases in Scotland can be found on Forces Children’s EducationTo make an application, contact the local council through the details here.

 

Admissions in 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.

The admissions code for England can be found here. The appeals code is here.

The admissions and appeals codes for Wales can be found here.

In Scotland, contact your local council to make an appeal. You can find out about the process here.

The appeals process for Northern Ireland is here.

 

Moving schools

Moving schools packs for parents and schools

These from CEAS 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. A form called a Pupil Information Profile had been developed to enable schools to pass on information, but in practice it is not always used. From September 2018, 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, is being updated. This will improve the information being transferred and help 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, and therefore likely to be more consistently used.

It 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.

 

Pupil Information Profile

The Pupil information profile (PIP) form is a transfer document which is consistent for all pupils in any school setting (regardless of location) to support specific aspects of a pupil’s background and learning.

It contains information that supports a young person’s future learning and parents are encouraged to bring this to the attention of their child’s school about using it as a helpful tool, when the child is about to move to another school. It is intended to support continuous learning by identifying the pupil’s current and future learning needs.

It can be downloaded here.

 

Education in 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.

 

Education in 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 here. You can find out about how the Scottish education system differs from other parts of the UK by reading the Directorate Children and Young People’s Education in Scotland – An Introductory Guide.

An overview of the system in Scotland, with comparisons to England and Wales, can be found here.

 

Education in Wales

A new curriculum is being developed for settings and schools in Wales. The curriculum will be available by April 2019 for feedback. A final version will be available in January 2020, and will be used throughout Wales by 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.

A quick guide for parents about how the education system in Wales is structured, plus information about the National Reading and Numeracy Tests and the new curriculum for Wales can be found here.

 

Education in Northern Ireland

The Children’s Education Advisory Service has some introductory information about education in Northern Ireland on their website here.

More detailed information about the curriculum and assessment is 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 and Service Children’s Education (SCE) schools

If you are offered an overseas assignment, you will have to look carefully into the education available for your children. It is essential that your children are registered on JPA, and that you contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) for advice. This is especially important if you have a child with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).

The type and quality of education available will differ from country to country and often from one part of a country to another. Remember that what is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. The age and ability of your child will have an effect on your decision. The opportunity for a child to be educated in a different system and different culture can be attractive, but you will have to weigh up carefully the advantages and disadvantages. There is lots of information at the following link for Overseas Education For Service Children.

If you decide that there is no suitable schooling for your child at the overseas posting you might want to consider boarding in the UK. The Continuity of Education Allowance is available for eligible service personnel to help them with the cost of boarding education.

 

Gibraltar

Primary and secondary education in Gibraltar is no longer provided by Service Children’s Education. Instead, the Government of Gibraltar provides school places for all MOD-entitled children requiring primary and secondary education. Students can also enrol at the College of Further Education which delivers vocational courses, as well as traditional academic subjects for the post 16-age group. Find out more about schooling for Service children in Gibraltar through the SCE’s site here and through the Government of Gibraltar’s website here.

Further information about all types of overseas education is available from the CEAS website.

 

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 (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) is not identical.

 

Home Education in England and 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.

 

Home Education in 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. For more information, visit the Schoolhouse website.

 

Home Education in 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. Visit the Home Education Northern Ireland website for more 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 in order to help to provide continuity of education for a child, and to enable the spouse of a Service person to accompany them on assignments.

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). This classification must be confirmed by the claimant’s Commanding Officer or by means of casework to Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) before claiming while serving unaccompanied.

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 Children’s Education and Advisory Service before the placement is accepted, as this may affect your eligibility to claim CEA. Advice and authority must also be sought from CEAS if a child is back-yeared 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.

 

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 lot 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 click here and check out the guidance from CEAS here. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752, part 2, Chapter 9. To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

 

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 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

CEA (Guardians) is paid at the rate of £10.00 per day (correct August 2018).

 

 

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, head teachers 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 head teachers 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 Head Teachers 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 Directorate Children and Young People at DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

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

 

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. We love to hear from people who have experienced great support so that we can showcase examples of effective practice. Do please contact us if your child’s school is doing something we can share to improve practice in other schools.

The Thriving Lives Toolkit has been produced in partnership with the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to help all schools to quickly and easily reflect on their practice and identify ways to support children effectively. It is underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in schools, contains a 3 tier set of CPD resources and offers access to staff training. The toolkit is available free to schools here.

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

 

England – Service Pupil Premium

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 third Thursday in January every year.

Key facts:

  • The SPP is provided by the Department for Education, 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.
  • The SPP is currently £300 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.
  • It is possible for step children to receive SPP provided that you meet the criteria.

For more information on eligibility please see here.

 

Support in 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.

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

The last official response from the Scottish Government on this subject is here. It was also raised by Jackie Baillie MSP in a Scottish Parliament Debate in late September 2018. We will continue to address this with the Scottish Government.

 

Support in Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales but support is available to schools and Service children through the Supporting Service Children in Education Wales (SSCE Cymru) programme by clicking here.

 

Support in 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 here. More information on The Common Funding Scheme can be found here.

 

Military Kids Club Heroes

MKC Heroes is a unique ‘student voice’ group originally formed in the City of Plymouth for the support of Service children and young people. A growing network of schools across the UK are following in their footsteps. The NFF has been supporting Pompey’s Military Kids to learn more about effective practice, read more about this here.

 

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. It helps to help fund the education of the children of service men and women who have been disadvantaged by their parents’ service, and ensures that children do not miss out because of their parents’ service, regardless of age, ability, parental rank or past or current service. It can also provide schools with funding for additional resources to support the education of children whose parents serve or have served in our Armed Forces. You can find out more about its work and about how to apply for grants here.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 10th February, 2020

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, head teachers 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 head teachers 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 Head Teachers 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 Directorate Children and Young People at DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

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

 

Find out more about this in our Homeport Magazine (Autumn 18 edition, p. 44-45) here.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 10th February, 2020