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Author: NFF

Education system

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

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

These differences can be summarised under the following headings:

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

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

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

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

 

Children’s Education Advisory Service

CEAS are part of the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) and are a small team, who are experienced in advising service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of service children in the UK and overseas. CEAS are also the first port of call for people considering an application for Continuity of Education Allowance. You can find their contact details and further information about the types of advice they offer here.

 

Admissions and appeals

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

If you have a particular problem with admissions to schools, please contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) by email rc-dcs-hq-CEAS@mod.gov.uk to seek advice. If you would like to provide feedback to the NFF about your admissions issue, so that we can represent your experience to effect change, please email contactus@nff.org.uk .

 

Admissions in England and Wales

You must apply for a place at a school, even if it’s linked to your child’s current nursery or primary school.

The way you apply depends on whether you’re applying for:

You should apply in the same way if you have just moved to England or Wales or are applying from abroad. Contact the council if you’re applying for a school place after the start of the school year (eg changing schools).

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

 

Admissions in Scotland

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

 

Admissions in Northern Ireland

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

 

Appeals

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

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

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

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

The appeals process for Northern Ireland is here.

 

Moving schools

Moving schools packs for parents and schools

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

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

 

Common Transfer File – transferring between and from schools in England

The Naval Families Federation has been asking for better information transfer for Service pupils moving between schools, in response to feedback from families. A form called a Pupil Information Profile had been developed to enable schools to pass on information, but in practice it is not always used. From September 2018, the Common Transfer File (CTF), which is used by schools and local authorities to send pupil data whenever a pupil moves from one school to another in England, is being updated. This will improve the information being transferred and help to identify children who may need support as a result of their Service connection. It is not an extra form for schools to complete, but a normal part of their practice, and therefore likely to be more consistently used.

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

It also asks for four data items for Service children:

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

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

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

 

Pupil Information Profile

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

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

It can be downloaded here.

 

Education in England

The national curriculum sets out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects at all 4 key stages in England. All local-authority-maintained schools in England teach these programmes of study. You can find out more about the English system here.

An overview of the key stages and assessments in the English education system can be found here.

 

Education in Scotland

Education is devolved to the Scottish Government, which means that the Scottish Government has the power to introduce new laws, curricula and guidelines on education within Scotland. An overview of the Scottish education system can be found here. You can find out about how the Scottish education system differs from other parts of the UK by reading the Directorate Children and Young People’s Education in Scotland – An Introductory Guide.

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

 

Education in Wales

A new curriculum is being developed for settings and schools in Wales. The curriculum will be available by April 2019 for feedback. A final version will be available in January 2020, and will be used throughout Wales by 2022.

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

You can find out more about how Service children are supported in Wales by visiting the Supporting Service Children in Education Wales website. Click here to access a school toolkit produced by the SSCE.

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

 

Education in Northern Ireland

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

More detailed information about the curriculum and assessment is here.

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

 

Overseas education and Service Children’s Education (SCE) schools

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

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

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

 

Gibraltar

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

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

 

Home education

Home education is legal throughout the UK, and has been for many decades. It is a positive long-term choice for some families. It can also be an option for families who are moving between areas and seeking to avoid starting a child in a school for a short period of time (for example when a child is on a waiting list, or if you are just about to be reassigned after the start of a school year).

The legal position in the four countries of the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) is not identical.

 

Home Education in England and Wales

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

 

Home Education in Scotland

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

 

Home Education in Northern Ireland

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

 

Boarding school and Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is offered by the MOD to assist with funding a place in boarding school in order to help to provide continuity of education for a child, and to enable the spouse of a Service person to accompany them on assignments.

In claiming CEA, a Service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement. An exception to this requirement is when a Service person is classified as Involuntarily Separated (INVOLSEP). This classification must be confirmed by the claimant’s Commanding Officer or by means of casework to Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) before claiming while serving unaccompanied.

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

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

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

 

State Boarding School

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

 

Further Information

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

 

Continuity of Education Allowance (Guardians)

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

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

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

 

 

Term-time absence

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

Since September 2013, by law, head teachers are only able to grant requests for leave during term time in “exceptional circumstances”.

In July 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released additional advice for head teachers regarding school term time absence for the children of Armed Forces personnel, stating:

  • The educational needs of Service children affected will always be a critical factor when determining whether term-time absence should be granted.
  • As well as operational tours overseas or afloat, there are many situations where the unusual and often unpredictable demands of life in the Armed Forces may prevent Service families taking holidays together outside term time, which should be considered.
  • However as with all children, the decision on whether to authorise term-time holidays for the children of Service personnel sits solely with the Head Teacher of their school.
  • Separate advice should be provided to Service families explaining how they should present evidence when requesting absence during term-time, and reminding them firmly that the educational needs of their child(ren) will remain of great importance.
  • To assist Head Teachers in making their decisions on absence applications, Unit Commanding Officers and their Welfare Staff will be able to provide advice, verification and endorsement as required.
  • If Head Teachers are unsure how to make contact with the relevant Armed Forces unit they should contact the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People at DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

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

 

Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

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

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

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

 

England – Service Pupil Premium

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

Key facts:

  • The SPP is provided by the Department for Education, to State maintained schools, Free Schools and Academies in England who have children of Regular Armed Forces personnel among their pupil population to provide additional (mainly pastoral) support. Children of parents on Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment) also attract SPP.
  • The SPP is currently £300 per Service pupil and is paid directly to schools.
  • It is not transferable between schools and does not move with the pupil when they leave the school.
  • Schools with Service children in Reception to Year 11 classes are eligible to receive the fund, but only if your child(ren)’s name appears on the school’s roll as being a Service child. This is why it’s of utmost importance for you to ensure that you have informed the school of your Service status.
  • It is possible for step children to receive SPP provided that you meet the criteria.

For more information on eligibility please see here.

 

Support in Scotland

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

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

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

 

Support in Wales

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

 

Support in Northern Ireland

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

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

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

 

Military Kids Club Heroes

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

 

Armed Forces Education Trust

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

 

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

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

 

Since September 2013, by law, head teachers are only able to grant requests for leave during term time in “exceptional circumstances”.

 

In July 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released additional advice for head teachers regarding school term time absence for the children of Armed Forces personnel, stating:

  • The educational needs of Service children affected will always be a critical factor when determining whether term-time absence should be granted.
  • As well as operational tours overseas or afloat, there are many situations where the unusual and often unpredictable demands of life in the Armed Forces may prevent Service families taking holidays together outside term time, which should be considered.
  • However as with all children, the decision on whether to authorise term-time holidays for the children of Service personnel sits solely with the Head Teacher of their school.
  • Separate advice should be provided to Service families explaining how they should present evidence when requesting absence during term-time, and reminding them firmly that the educational needs of their child(ren) will remain of great importance.
  • To assist Head Teachers in making their decisions on absence applications, Unit Commanding Officers and their Welfare Staff will be able to provide advice, verification and endorsement as required.
  • If Head Teachers are unsure how to make contact with the relevant Armed Forces unit they should contact the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People at DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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, information on a variety of childcare settings can be found from the Scottish Family Information Service and you can find a place here.
  • 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.

 

Help with childcare costs

You may be eligible to access free childcare. Find out more about the schemes from this poster.

The government have 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.

 

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

 

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.

 

Free ‘wraparound’ childcare pilots are rolled out from September 2020 following recent announcement. RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire will be the first bases to offer the scheme, with service personnel based in Catterick and Plymouth able to access the pilot scheme from January 2021. At least 1 parent has to be an Armed Forces Regular and both parents have to be in paid employment.

 

England – 15 and 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds

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 around 16 hours a week in term time if your child is 3 or 4 years old

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 – a minimum of 10 hours of free, part-time Foundation Phase education in a school, or funded nursery, in the term following their third birthday

The Welsh government plans to provide 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds in Wales, for 48 weeks of the year. The current free early education provided by Foundation Phase will form part of this offer. The pilot scheme started in September 2017.  You can find out more here.

 

 Northern Ireland – Tax-Free Childcare or childcare vouchers

Find out more here.

 

Childcare provided by relatives
If you live in England or 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.

 

If you live in 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 or crisis

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund (RNRMCF) 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 RNRMCF 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@rnrmchildrensfund.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.

To ensure stability for children, parents and providers, the government has introduced a grace period should families cease to be eligible, before the existing entitlement is withdrawn. This grace period will be mirrored, where reasonably practicable, by the MOD.

 

How to apply

If you currently qualify for the free 15 hours in an MOD-provided setting and fulfill the above eligibility criteria for the additional 15 hours entitlement, please complete this Application Form.

If you qualify for MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance and fulfill the above eligibility criteria for the additional 15 hours entitlement, please complete this Application Form for MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.

 

Contact

Please contact SO2 Policy, DCYP for further information at DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk

 

Further Information

Find out more about childcare for Service children here.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Last updated on: 15th July, 2020

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

 

England – Service Pupil Premium

Read a beginner’s guide to SPP and have your questions answered from the Autumn ’19 issue of Homeport magazine (p.14-15). (Note: the SPP has since increased to £310 per Service child)

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

 

*Note: There has been an update posted on gov.uk: The Autumn census (first Thursday in October) will now be the determining factor for SPP payments 2021/22 rather than the normal January.

 

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

 

For more information on eligibility please see here. For examples of effective practice for schools see here. This booklet has been created by been produced by West Yorkshire Local Authorities to support schools develop their understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Armed Forces Community and the Service Pupil Premium. It pulls together information that is already available for schools and parents into one place.

 

Or you can email: The Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP): DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

Support in Scotland

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

 

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

 

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

 

Support in Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales. You can find out more about the Supporting Service Children in Education Project by clicking here.

 

Support in Northern Ireland

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

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 5th January, 2021

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.

 

*Please note that the NFF beneficiaries are current serving Royal Navy/Royal Marines personnel and their loved ones.*

Accessing NHS Services

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.

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.

Emotional first aid for children

Emotional first aid for children runs training courses for teachers supporting children. Costs £300 per person – in which  Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is £310 per child in a school in England.

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.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

If you are due to leave the Naval Service, the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) will work with the MOD to offer you mental health support through your transition period and beyond. The TILS provides a range of treatment and can help with housing, employment, alcohol misuse and social support. Find out more in this booklet here.

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.

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 Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute is an Australia-based not-for-profit organisation and world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.  Information and superb resources for teachers and those working with young people, including Headstrong 2.0 which can be downloaded free of charge.

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: 24th June, 2021

NHS Dentists

It can be difficult for serving families to access NHS dentistry in some areas. Here are links to help you to locate a dentist in your area:

 

If you find that you are encountering problems gaining access to an NHS dentist, or continuing with a course of treatment, such as orthodontic care, when you are assigned and these problems are directly attributable to you being part of a serving Armed Forces family, please contact us via contactus@nff.org.uk or call 023 9265 4374.

 

The Community Dental Services provide treatment for people who may not otherwise seek or receive dental care, such as people with learning disabilities, housebound people, and people with mental or physical health problems or other disabling conditions which prevent them from visiting a family dentist.

 

For information on NHS dental charges or other issues relating to dental care, you can visit the British Health Foundation. Their free and impartial advice centre is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

 

NHS Orthodontic Transfer Information
Armed Forces entitlement

The Armed Forces Covenant is a “promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly”. Due to the transient nature of their role, the Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list if moved around the UK due to the Service Personnel being assigned.

 

General Information

The following sections are for use when patients request an orthodontic case transfer either within the UK or from abroad. It is recognised that patients receive the best treatment outcome by completing their treatment under the care of one orthodontist. NHS Orthodontic treatment can take between 18 months to over 2 years. The average length of time of treatment is 21 months.

Orthodontists with existing NHS contracts in England can accept a patient who has moved from another part of the country (or from overseas) who is already waiting for or undergoing NHS orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontists operate two waiting lists; one for assessment and one for treatment. The assessment appointment will determine NHS eligibility e.g. whether a patient can be treated under the NHS and prioritise clinical need.

 

Transfers within the UK

Q: What if I am on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: If a patient moves and needs to change orthodontists, the current orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider. As Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on the waiting list, the referring orthodontist should provide the date of the patient’s acceptance on their list to the new provider to ensure their relative position is retained.

 

Q: What if I am receiving orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: A patient should remain with their current orthodontist, if at all possible. If the patient requests a transfer, the treating orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider to continue treatment.

 

Transfers from Abroad

Where a patient begins treatment abroad (not just EEA) and returns to the UK and is entitled to NHS care, NHS criteria is applicable and not the criteria from the country where they began treatment.  The patient should have been under 18 at the point of referral, have had an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health. Patients can find information on who currently provides dental and orthodontic treatment on the NHS Choices website. Patients can enter their postcode and the treatment they require, and a list of practices will be displayed.

Patients should contact their preferred dental practice to arrange an initial appointment and discuss a referral to an orthodontist if appropriate. Alternatively, your GDP may refer you to an orthodontist for their clinical opinion.

 

Q: I have moved to the UK and have been on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment abroad. Can I access treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Upon referral, if the orthodontist deems that the patient meets NHS criteria, the orthodontist will agree the appropriate waiting time based on clinical need and the need to retain the patient’s relative position on the waiting list. In order for the patient’s relative position to be retained, it would be useful for the patient to provide evidence of how long they have been waiting for treatment (e.g. date of patient acceptance on overseas waiting list).

 

Q: I have moved to the UK and have been receiving orthodontic treatment. How can I continue my treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Patients should arrange for their original patient records including study models, radiographs, photographs and notes to be provided so that an NHS orthodontist can confirm whether they would have met  NHS criteria on their original assessment date (i.e. that they were under 18, an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health).

If the orthodontist feels that the NHS criteria would have been met, a course of treatment within the NHS can continue to be provided; If the orthodontist does not feel that the NHS criteria would have been met, or original patient records are not provided, a course of NHS treatment will not be provided.

 

Further information

If you have any further queries concerning orthodontic transfers, the Customer Contact Centre is the point of contact for patients and their representatives wanting information about accessing primary care (GP, dental, optical and pharmacy services). Any queries can be directed to NHS England’s Customer Care Centre, as follows:

Telephone: 0300 311 22 33
 Email: england.contactus@nhs.net

 

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 11th September, 2019