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Author: NFF

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

1. Introduction

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.

 

2. Get started

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

 

3. Qualification

A question that often gets asked when people are transitioning between devolved administrations, is – what is the difference between their qualifications? If this is something you have wondered or would like further information on, please have a look at this UK qualifications comparison table. 

4. Other schemes/ support

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

Click here to explore the initatives.
Bereavement Scholarship Scheme - Scholarships for children whose parent died in Service

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.

Connected Forces

Connected Forces is a supportive on-line community for 16-19 year olds from military families. This UK-wide project is run by the SCiP Alliance in partnership with Brightside and fully funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

 

What does it involve?

  • Young people will connect with like-minded peers and keep in touch via group chats
  • Opportunities to question ‘experts’ in careers or education to support their next steps
  • Contribute to discussion forums led by university students and recent graduates from military backgrounds
  • Access specially assigned resources and live events throughout the year
The Learning and Development Organisation (LDO)

The Learning and Development Organisation (LDO)

The LDO enables RN/RM Service personnel to access learning, development and resettlement support. This is available when shoreside, or at sea when deployed on operations.

The Open University
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

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 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

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)

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 each of a maximum of three separate financial years for higher level learning of a nationally recognised qualification at Level three or above 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
DistanceLearningCentre.com

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

Last updated on: 7th April, 2022

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 Overseas Education and Supportability Team (OEST – formerly 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.

 

*Important note: The gov.uk pages are being updated to reflect the restructure in the MOD’s education teams. The information on our website is correct as of May 2022. 

General information

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 location you might want to consider boarding in the UK. The Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is available for eligible Service personnel to help them with the cost of boarding education. 

MOD Schools

MOD Schools is part of the Defence Children Services (DCS – formerly DCYP). MOD schools and settings 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 refer to the following sections in JSP 752 for details: 

  • 10.0222: Locations where no Airline Offers an Unaccompanied Minors (UNMIN) Service to/from/within the UK 
  • 10.0223: Reimbursement of any Costs Charged by Civilian Airlines for the Moving of Unaccompanied Minors (UNMINS) 
Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 17th May, 2022

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

The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) is a tri-Service group for current Serving families or individuals who have a child or adult dependent with an additional need and/or disability.

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS) Information Office

Your local RN 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: rc-dcs-hq-ceas@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: rc-dcs-hq-ceas@mod.gov.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: 17th September, 2021

Introduction

Finding suitable childcare for your children can be tricky, but there are lots of ways to help you find different types of childcare in your area.  If you are looking to put your child into childcare for the first time or are due to move and need to change childcare setting, we advise that you identify suitable childcare options as soon as possible and establish if there are spaces or whether there is a waiting list. We recommend putting your child’s name down for a place or onto a waiting list as soon as your child is born or as soon as you have had a move confirmed.

If you are moving be sure to give your current nursery/childcare setting plenty of notice that you are leaving so that you do not incur any additional costs.  If you claim the government funded free hours for 3-4 year olds you will also have to change the details of the setting that you are claiming from.

 

Find out more about childcare for Service children here.

Finding childcare

Each local authority is responsible to ensuring that there is enough suitable childcare provision in their area.  Most local authorities have a childcare directory on their council websites which will list all of the OFSTED registered local nurseries, preschools, childminders and playgroups.

Local childcare services and directories can be found via the search facility on the GOV.UK site:
There are a number of other websites offering support to find childcare options in your area:
  • childcare.co.uk is the UK’s largest online, government-endorsed childcare platform.
  • Childminders in England and Wales can be located from the Government website here.
  • Before and after school and holiday clubs in England and Wales can be found here.
  • In Scotland, you can here to find a nursery or childcare place.
  • The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) website offers helpful advice about choosing childcare, as well as information for people considering childminding as a career here.
Inspection reports for approved childcare providers can be found via the following websites:

Approved childcare can also include care provided by a maintained or independent school that is registered with the relevant inspection body. If your child is over 5, the childcare must be outside school hours and on the school premises.

Childcare costs

The government has a website that provides information on of the different childcare support options that are available to you for children aged 0-16. The Childcare Choices website includes information and links on where to apply for tax-free childcare offers. You must use ‘approved childcare’ settings to qualify for help. Click here for a step-by-step guidance. Click here for an information pack from HMRC.

For more information on what level of childcare support you may be eligible for, there is childcare calculator available here.

Statutory Provision
England

15 and 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds; 30 hours for working parents.

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get free early education or childcare.

Some 2-year-olds are also eligible for 15 hours free childcare, for example if you get certain benefits.

The free early education and childcare:

  • must be with an approved childcare provider
  • stops when your child starts in reception class (or reaches compulsory school age, if later)

Find out more and apply here.

Scotland

Up to 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year (around 30 hours a week in term time), if your child is 3 or 4 years old. You may be able to get more funded hours in your area. Visit mygov.scot for further details.

Some 2-year-olds are also eligible for free childcare, for example if you get certain benefits.

Find out more and get a link to your council to claim your funded place here.

A parents’ guide to early learning and childcare in Scotland was produced by Audit Scotland to help to provide clearer information to families.  You can find it here.

Wales

Up to 30 hours a week of childcare or early education if your child is 3 or 4 years old.

For eligibility and more information, click here.

 Northern Ireland

Tax-Free Childcare or childcare vouchers – Find out more here.

Wraparound childcare (WAC)

The Naval Families Federation 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 (click here to access the report). 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 were delighted that the announcement was made of a new offer of free ‘wraparound’ childcare.

The pilots were rolled out from September 2020 RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire were the first bases to offer the scheme, with Service personnel based in Catterick and Plymouth able to access the pilot scheme from January 2021. Applications to these are now closed. The pilot was expanded in September 2021 to include a Lincolnshire Cluster and a Woolwich Cluster (note: applications will close on 31 May 2022). At least 1 parent has to be an Armed Forces Regular and both parents have to be in paid employment. Further details can be found here.

While we very warmly welcome this news, we are aware that wraparound care is only one aspect of this complex issue. We will continue to work hard to represent your experiences and challenges in all areas of childcare. Please watch our website and social media channels for further development of the pilot scheme.

MOD Childcare vouchers

The MOD Childcare vouchers are available to Service personnel. The scheme is now closed to new entrants. For those that are already registered it enables you to convert part of your salary into vouchers before your usual tax and NI contributions are taken. This means that you only have to pay the tax and NI on what’s left, saving you up to £933 per year. Find out more here. Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you get. Find out more about whether you would be better off taking childcare vouchers, and or applying for Tax-Free Childcare by checking here.

Childcare provided by relatives

England/Scotland –

You can only get help paying for childcare by a relative (for example a grandparent) if:

  • they’re a registered childminder and care for your child outside your home
  • you’re paying them using Universal Credit, tax credits or childcare vouchers
  • You can’t get help for childcare provided by your partner or paid for by the free early education and childcare scheme.

Northern Ireland –

You can only get help paying for childcare provided by a relative if all of the following apply:

  • they’re in a childcare approval scheme in Northern Ireland
  • they care for your child outside your home
  • they care for at least one other child that isn’t related to you

If you live in Wales –

You can’t get help paying for childcare provided by a relative.

Childcare support in emergency/crisis

The Naval Children’s Charity can offer financial support towards childcare costs in times of emergency or family crisis.  If you need help with extra childcare support, if for instance one child is in hospital which means you need help with your other children outside of your usual childcare or if your family is experiencing marital difficulties or breakdown, the NCC can help.  They are on hand to help you to ensure that your children feel more settled, particularly if moving to a new home or if you are unable to look after them in an emergency situation.  They are generally able to respond to an emergency situation within a couple of hours.

 

Phone: Monday – Friday 0800-1600,  02392 639534

Email: caseworkers@navalchildrenscharity.org.uk

 

Private fostering (eg during deployment)

Are you are deploying or working away for more than 28 days, and organising childcare with someone who is not your child’s parent? Please check the regulations regarding private fostering.  If an individual is looking after someone else’s child for more than 28 days they must notify their local council – failure to do so is a criminal offence.  You can find out more about Private Fostering here.

 

The law on leaving your child on their own

Government guidance is here. The NSPCC has produced a guide to help you to decide when it is safe for your child to be home on their own, and what you can do if they are too young. Find out more here.

Extended free childcare overseas

In overseas locations, MOD provides services (or access to services) that, so far conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England (but paying due regard to the equivalent legislation in the Devolved Administrations).

The 2006 Childcare Act introduced 15 hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year for 3 and 4 year olds free of charge. In overseas locations the MOD currently delivers this entitlement through places at MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.

From 01 September 2017, there has been an extension of the entitlement and an offer of an additional 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year of free childcare for children that are eligible. The additional 15 hours are available to families where either parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) a minimum of 16 hours each per week. Parents each earning £100,000 or more do not qualify for the additional entitlement.

Entitlement

The additional entitlement was introduced on 1 September 2017 across England and is mirrored in MOD locations overseas, using the same eligibility criteria defined under the 2016 Childcare Act above. In overseas locations where the MOD-provided settings have sufficient capacity, the additional entitlement will be provided through those settings, free of charge. Free childcare cannot be claimed when using childminders or nannies. In overseas locations where there are no MOD-provided settings, or where MOD-provided settings lack sufficient capacity, the additional entitlement will be provided through the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance. The entitlement applies to eligible Service Personnel and entitled Civilians only. The latter means UK Based Civil Servants posted overseas or Specially Recruited for Overseas Service.  Fee-paying contractors cannot apply.

Eligibility criteria for the additional 15 hours

The MOD currently delivers, 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, free early education to all Regular Service Personnel, Reserve Personnel undertaking Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment) (FTRS FC) and entitled Civilians who are assigned overseas where they are accompanied by their eligible children, through places at MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance. In order to be eligible for the additional 15 hours of free childcare each parent must be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) a minimum of 16 hours each per week. These limits are measured for eligibility purposes on average over a period of three months on a reasonable expectation basis. In order to be eligible for the additional 15 hours of free childcare, the maximum income per parent is £100,000 per annum. For Dependants working overseas who pay Income Tax to HMRC or devolved equivalents, confirmation of eligibility is required from their employer (DBS). For Dependants working overseas as Locally Engaged Civilians (LECs) not paying Income Tax to HMRC or devolved equivalents, it will be the responsibility of the local Command through the LEC employer or agency, to confirm their eligibility. Dependants working overseas on the local economy will be required to provide proof from their employer in order to confirm their eligibility.

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Last updated on: 24th May, 2022

Where Service Family Accommodation (SFA) is unavailable, privately rented accommodation may be allocated.

 

Houses are found from the commercial rental market by the MOD Accommodation Agency contractor and as far as is possible, will meet the equivalent size and specification of property that broadly reflects the prospective occupant’s equivalent SFA entitlement. The property will also usually be located within an appropriate radius (10 miles maximum) of the place of duty.

 

To read more about the SSFA rules and regulations on the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, pages Part 1 UK, Part 2 Overseas or Part 3 SLA, click here.

 

Posted on: 11th May, 2016

Civilian Housing Options
What are the Options?

There are a number of housing schemes that are available to the Service and ex-Service community.

These include the Ministry of Defence Nominations scheme, Low Cost Home Ownership and the Key Worker Living Programme.

If you are thinking of buying your own home or you are just about to leave the Royal Navy or Royal Marines and want to know what housing options are open to you, take a look at the JSHAO pages on GOV.UK. This Tri-service organisation can provide you with a wide range of information about the civilian housing opportunities available to you and hold regular briefings which we would recommend.

The aim of the JSHAO is to provide Service personnel and their families with information and advice on the increasingly complex range of civilian housing options. The JSHAO provides a focal point for housing information and advice to all Service personnel and their families in particular those about to return to civilian life, and to ex-Service personnel who are still in Service Families Accommodation.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

JSHAO provide information and advice regarding civilian housing to Service Personnel and their Dependants. You can contact them at anytime in your career by email or telephone (details below).

 

Housing Briefings

JSHAO deliver briefs which are designed to give you the information to help you make informed choices on your civilian housing. While these briefings are normally attended in the last two years of Service, all Service Personnel and/or partners are welcome to attend at any stage of your career. Click here to find out more.

 

Affordable Housing Options

Service Personnel (and ex Service personnel within 12 months of discharge) have priority status for government affordable housing initiatives. Schemes include Forces Help to Buy, shared ownership, shared equity loans and the mortgage guarantee scheme. For more information on the current government housing schemes and MOD funded initiatives available, please contact JSHAO.

 

The MOD Referral Scheme

The JSHAO runs the Ministry of Defence Referral Scheme. This scheme may be able to help you if you are looking for Affordable Housing to rent on leaving the Service. Applications should be made up to six months before your date of discharge to the JSHAO; you will then be contacted if a suitable property becomes available in your chosen area.

 

Housing Matters Magazine

Ten months a year the JSHAO produces the Housing Matters magazine which has a worldwide distribution of 10,000 copies per month. Copies should be available within your Unit or if you want your own copy, call the JSHAO.

The magazines are also available to read online here.

 

JSHAO Contact Details

JSHAO, Floor 2 Zone 2, Montgomery House, Queens Avenue, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 2JN

Tel: 01252 787574          Mil: 94222 7574

Email: RC-Pers-JSHAO-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk

 

Posted on: 10th May, 2016
Updated on: 12th August, 2019

Mental Health

Everyone has mental health as well as physical health, and these aspects of health are often related. All of us will experience challenges at some point in our lives that affect our emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. These difficulties may be temporary or part of a longer-term mental health condition. Help is available so please reach out and ask for support if you need to.

Accessing NHS Services

NHS Urgent Mental Health Line (England)

If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. It’s important to know that support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment because of Covid-19.

 

Mental Health Services at NHS 24 (Scotland)

NHS 24 mental health services are available to everyone in Scotland. The services they offer include listening, offering advice, and guiding you to further help if required.

 

NHS Wales Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Extra help for your mental wellbeing is available across Wales, online and over the phone. These resources are safe, free, and you don’t need a referral, so take a look and see what can help you today.

 

Northern Ireland Mental Health Services

If you are experiencing problems with your mental health it is important to talk to your GP about your thoughts and feelings. The earlier you seek help the easier it will be to identify and resolve your problems.

 

NHS Every Mind Matters

There are times when we all feel the strain. As parents and carers, there are ways we can support children and young people to give them the best chance to stay mentally healthy.

 

  • The following services may be open to Service Leavers, Veterans, Reservists and their families – please contact the appropriate organisation to check your eligibility.

 

England

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is delivered by NHS England in partnership with a range of specialist providers. A map which provides more information about the services available can be found here.

 

Scotland

Veterans First Point Scotland is an NHS Scotland programme which provides a veteran-led mental health and welfare support service. The partnership aims to maximise engagement with Scottish veterans and support recovery from mental health issues through welfare and psychological support.

 

Wales

Veterans NHS Wales provides specialised, priority service for individuals who have served in the Armed Forces, at any time in their lives and who are experiencing mental health difficulties related specifically to their military service.

 

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Veterans Support Office can provide more details about the range of mental health support services available to Veterans and their families.

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness helps people take action for a happier and kinder world.

CAMHS Resources

This site was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support your mental health and well-being.

*Please note that this is not an official NHS website*

Combat Stress

The ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, Combat Stress, is the only Services charity specialising in helping those of all ranks from the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy suffering from psychological disability as a result of their Service. You can visit their website here.

If you’re currently serving, or have served in the UK Armed Forces, you can call the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline to talk about mental health. If you are a family member or carer worried about a loved one or need to talk to someone yourself, you can use it too.

The Helpline is open all day, every day, offering support and advice. This is a free and confidential service. Combat Stress are there for you if you are having a tough time, have trouble sleeping, have flashbacks, get depressed, get anxious sometimes or just feel that something is not quite right.

Call 0800 138 1619 / Text 07537 404 719 / E-mail helpline@combatstress.org.uk.

Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to maintain the health and wellbeing of its people primarily to ‘deliver and support military effect’. This ensures its people can deploy on operations and remain fully employed in their day to day role. For Service Personnel, the MOD must also meet the commitment of the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that Armed Forces personnel and their families are not disadvantaged within wider society, either during their time in the Service or in their lives beyond the military.

The Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our Armed Forces, their families, veterans, and civilians. It builds on five years of health and wellbeing research and activity to establish the integration of mental and physical health. It is focused on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing; preventing and detecting mental health illness; and treating such illness when it is diagnosed.

You can read the document in full here.

Contact

Contact is a group of charities working with the NHS and MOD. They want to make it simpler for the military community to find support for their mental wellbeing. Find out more here.

Headspace

The RN is offering all serving personnel (Regular, Reserve and RFA) and their families free access to the Headspace App.

Heads Together

Heads Together was launched to change the national conversation on mental health and tackle the stigma that prevents people from getting help, alongside developing a series of new mental health initiatives.

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

Hidden Wounds supports thousands of men and women and their families from the Armed Forces.

Mind

The mental health charity, who offer advice and run support groups for those affected by mental health problems. To find your nearest MIND, please visit their website.

NSPCC

Recognising the signs that a child may be struggling with their mental health can be really hard. The NSPCC have got advice to help you support children who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings or self-harm.

Overseas

Service families living overseas may register with the Service’s Medical Centre to receive routine and emergency health care. Personnel should speak with their UPO for guidance on registering.

Papyrus

PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK.

Project Regain

Regain is an initiative masterminded by a serving Royal Marines Captain, which aims to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. This initiative will help Royal Marines access treatments at the start of an issue, which can reduce the treatment timelines.

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

If you have any problems regarding well-being, please remember that RN FPS are here to support you, staffed by Service people and civilians from a variety of specialisations and offers advice, counselling and advocacy on a wide variety of issues, including mental health issues.

See, Hear, Respond

The See, Hear, Respond Partnership is a service funded by the Department for Education. With your help, the See, Hear, Respond Partnership will quickly identify and support children, young people and families who are struggling to cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

Suicide prevention and peer support in the armed forces: A pocket guide by the Samaritans

The Suicide prevention and peer support in the armed forces: A pocket guide by the Samaritans guide, jointly launched by Samaritans and the Ministry of Defence, gives advice on how to identify signs that someone may be having difficulties, suggests ways of offering support and gives information on where help can be found. You can access it here.

The Recovery Pathway

This leaflet provides a guide to recovery for all wounded, injured and sick Naval Service personnel and their families. It details each stage of the recovery progress, looks at temporary employability during the Recovery Pathway, and lists the contact details for numerous support organisations.

Togetherall (Formerly Big White Wall)

Togetherall is an online early intervention service for people in psychological distress. It combines social networking principles with a choice of clinically informed interventions to improve mental wellbeing. It can be accessed 24/7 and has staff who ensure the full engagement, safety and anonymity of all members.

Togetherall is a community of people who are experiencing common mental health problems who are supported to self-manage their own mental health. According to members, one of the most important elements of the service is the ability to talk freely, whilst remaining completely anonymous.

Togetherall has won multiple awards for its services, and its LiveTherapy service is CQC registered. It is free to join for Regular and Reserve members of the Armed Forces and their family members.

Young Minds

Young Minds are leading the national charity for children and young people’s mental health. They have a helpline for parents and lots of useful information on their website.

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 9th February, 2022