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Author: NFF

Any sudden death is a devastating event for children. When the death is that of a member of the Armed Forces there are additional difficulties to come to terms with and it is essential to understand the context of military life to make sense of these.

 

 

 

Government guidance

This page provides guidance for those who have lost their serving person. Please visit this page for information on bereavement compensation.

 

SSAFA

If you lose someone who has previously served in our Armed Forces, or you are ex-Forces and you lose someone, then SSAFA is committed to giving support during your bereavement. Find out how here.

 

Families’ Activity Breaks (FAB)

FAB is a non-public funded, tri-Service charitable initiative in partnership with YHA (England & Wales) Ltd., providing fun and challenging activity camps around the UK for bereaved Military families. Please find out more here.

 

Cruse Bereavement Care

Death is always hard to cope with but different groups of people will have different needs. Military life is different from life in ‘civvy street’ and Cruse understands that that those who have lost a loved one whilst they were serving in the Armed Forces may have particular issues and experiences that can complicate the grieving process.

Cruse Bereavement Care can offer face-to-face and group support delivered by trained bereavement support volunteers across the UK. They also offer information, publication, and support for children. Find out more here.

 

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting children and young people who have lost a parent whilst serving in the British Armed Forces. Find out what support is available here.

 

Penhaligon’s Friends

Penhaligon’s Friends is a Cornish charity supporting bereaved children, young people, parents and carers throughout the country. Handbooks for bereaved families, healthcare professionals and schools are available from their website.

 

Jeremiah’s Journey Childhood

Jeremiah’s Journey Childhood is a bereavement support service in Plymouth. Find out they could help your family here.

 

Winston’s Wish

A death in the Armed Forces can be difficult to understand and make sense of for children, it is also very much in the public eye, making it difficult to find ways to say goodbye, there is however support available to families, click here to find out more.

 

Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

The Ministry of Defence has a Bereavement Scholarship Scheme which is available to provide University and Further Education Scholarships for the children of Service Personnel whose death has been attributed to Service since 1990. For further information please click here.

 

Posted on: 18th May, 2016
Updated on: 20th February, 2020

Please find a list of other charities below that may be useful to you:

Aggie Weston’s

Key role: Supporting families

Aggie Weston’s is here to help serving members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and their families. They provide pastoral support around the country and enable families to stay connected through projects such as Storybook Waves. More information can be found here.

 

Help for Heroes

Key Role: Fundraising and grant making, advice and guidance, support to families

Help for Heroes are a vast network of professionals and partners. They help serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans and support families through physical and emotional rehabilitation and recovery, identifying new career opportunities as well as offering financial and welfare support. They also run beneficiary support networks, to offer support, camaraderie and a listening ear.

During their first 10 years, they have directly helped more than 17,000 individuals and their families in this way. Offering this to thousands more who need it remains possible thanks to their supporters, and specialist charity partners. More information can be found here.

 

The Royal British Legion (RBL)

Key Role: Fundraising and grant-making, advice and guidance, support to families

The Royal British Legion provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces Community – Serving men and women (Regulars and Reservists), veterans, and their families. They provide information, advice and guidance to help the Armed Forces Community find and access the support they need.

The Legion provides families of serving and ex-Service personnel the chance to take a break and get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life through their Family Holiday Breaks scheme. They also run Adventure Breaks for young people, so that they can enjoy themselves, meet new people, have new experiences, improve their self-esteem and most of all have fun, while giving parents a well-earned break. More information can be found here.

 

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund

Key Role: Providing financial support for children

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund (RNRMCF) provides a range of support to children whose parents work, or have worked, for the Naval Service. This support includes childcare, special needs education, days out and in-home support in times of crisis. An area of particular growth has been the Charity’s focus on assisting children within its remit who have special needs. This work now accounts for nearly half of its awards to beneficiaries. In the last year alone, RNRMCF has supported over 1,500 children, but with over 40,000 servicemen currently in the Naval Service, it is keen to ensure that Naval families know where to find them. More information can be found here.

 

The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (RNBT)

Key Role: Providing financial support

RNBT gives help, in cases of need, to serving and former Royal Naval ratings and Royal Marines other ranks, which includes Reservists. They also help their partners, children and some others connected with them. They make grants to assist in a very wide variety of circumstances, such as help towards living expenses, house repairs, disability aids, job training, all sorts of financial difficulties, care home top-up fees, domiciliary care and much more. Every year RNBT respond to just under three thousand applications with grants totaling about £1.3 million. More information can be found here.

 

SAIL

Key Role: Advice and guidance

Seafarers’ Advice and Information Line – this organisation gives free advice to seafarers and their families on issues such as benefits, debt, housing and is part of the UK’s Citizen’s Advice Network. More information can be found here.

 

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association)

Key Role: Fundraising and grant-making, advice and guidance, support to families

SSAFA provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army or the Royal Air Force (Regulars and Reserves) and their families. They have a network of trained volunteers on Army, RAF and Naval bases in the UK and around the world who can give you local support. They provide a range of personalised services, including welfare advice, housing and healthcare, and signposting to organisations that offer more specialised support. More information can be found here.

SSAFA Forcesline is a free and confidential telephone helpline and email service that provides support for Serving (regulars and reserves) and ex-Service men and women from the Armed Forces and for their families. As an independent charity, SSAFA is not part of the military Chain of Command. The team are there to listen and not to judge. They can give you factual information and ‘signpost’ ways forward to assist you. They can also speak with you in confidence if you, or someone you know, are absent without leave (AWOL).

To contact Forcesline from the UK, please call the freephone number: 0800 731 4880.  The line is open from 0900 – 1700 (UK local time) Monday – Friday. To contact Forcesline from overseas please call –

Germany: 0800 731 4880

Cyprus: 800 91065
Falkland Islands: # 6111
Anywhere in the world (Call-back): + 44 (0)207 463 9292

To email Forcesline, click here.

COBSEO

Key Role: Information about Service charities

COBSEO, as the Confederation of Service Charities, provides a single point of contact for interaction with Government, including local government and the Devolved Administrations; with the Royal Household; with the Private Sector; and, of course, with other members of the Armed Forces Community. This allows COBSEO members to interact with all interested parties and especially to cooperate and collaborate with others in order to provide the best possible level of support to our beneficiaries.

The COBSEO website holds a Member Directory which details the type of support that the member charities can provide. This database can be searched using various criteria, such as ‘education’ or ‘disability support’. More information can be found here.

 

Military Wives Choir Foundation

With an aim to bring women in the military community closer together through singing, there are now over 70 Military Wives Choirs in British Military bases across the UK, and overseas, helping to combat this isolation. For more information and to find a Military Wives Choir near you, click here, or call 020 7463 9407.

 

 

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC)

Key Role: Fundraising and grant-making

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is the principal charity of the Royal Navy. The charity exists to support sailors, marines and their families, for life. Since 2007, they have funded projects and facilities that boost morale for those who serve today. They also distribute millions of pounds annually to military charities which care for the children, families and veterans of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

In practical terms, the RNRMC is a fundraising and grant-making charity. This means it delivers its charitable outputs through dispensing grants to:

  • Other Naval charities;
  • Military charities;
  • Other charities with Naval beneficiaries;
  • Ships, units and personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and Auxiliaries;
  • Individual serving personnel and veterans through the RNOC and RMCTF.

More information can be found here.

 

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Widows’ Association

Key Role: Providing advice and support

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Widows’ Association was formed in 2008 when a small group of widows decided to set up an association to support other widows with the aim of bringing friendship, support, guidance and comfort to those who have experienced the trauma of bereavement.

Their members range in age from their 20’s through to their 80’s, each with a different story to tell, but bound by a common bond of support and friendship.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer to the grief bereavement brings, there is no time scale, each of us will take a different path on the journey. However, they have all been helped along by friendships they have made in the association and they would like to offer their support to other too. More information can be found here.

 

Royal Navy Officers’ Charity (RNOC)

Key Role: Financial support

RNOC provides benevolence to both serving and retired officers of the Naval Service (RN, RM and QARNNS), their spouses, former spouses and dependants who are in need of financial support. The Charity continues to make a real difference to the quality of life for beneficiaries through the breadth of their grant making. Support includes assistance to those on low incomes, care home fees, scholarships and re-training to gain employment. More information can be found here.

 

Seafarers UK

Key Role: Fundraising and grant-making

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.

They do this this by giving grants to organisations and projects that make a real difference to people’s lives, across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. They gave grants totaling £3.2 million to over 60 maritime welfare charities in 2017. More information can be found here.

 

Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust (WRNS BT)

Key role: Providing financial support and advice

The primary object of this Trust is to provide relief in cases of necessity or distress among its members and their dependants. The Trust is also empowered, to make grants for the education of dependants. The Trust aims to give help in the most constructive way possible, whilst dealing with all requests speedily and effectively. The Trust maintains a close working relationship with all the other Service Charities to ensure the best possible assistance for its members.

Assistance need not only be financial; many members have found the advice available even more valuable than material aid. More information can be found here.

Posted on: 16th July, 2015
Updated on: 3rd January, 2019

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

Details about the current Assisted Conception Services and Fertility Preservation procedures in place for serving personnel and their spouse/partners can be found in 2021DIN01-020, which was updated in February 2021. This DIN can be accessed via the MoD Intranet system and provides guidance for Armed Forces Personnel initiating, accessing and/or continuing Assisted Conception Services (ACS) or Fertility Preservation (FP). We would recommend that you read through this DIN before making any decisions or undertaking any medical treatment.

 

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
Updated on: 31st August, 2021

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

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