County Council Supporting Service Children

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County Council Supporting Service Children

North Yorkshire County Council is stepping up its support for the children of Armed Forces families in the county’s schools.

There are already nearly 3,000 Service pupils of school-age in North Yorkshire, one of the largest groups in the country, and the county council is recognised nationally for its good practice in the support it gives – providing advocacy for Service pupils and both supporting and challenging schools to ensure the highest standards of education and wellbeing.

At a recent service in Ripon Cathedral over 600 armed forces children and young people attended a service to celebrate the rich diversity that Service pupils bring to their schools and communities. It drew in over 30 schools which between them have had hundreds of new starters from Germany, Canada and many other countries from around the world over the past 18 months.

The County Council has expanded several of the county’s primary schools – Dishforth Airfield Primary School which has tripled in size and a number of primaries in Catterick, which continues to be developed as Europe’s largest super garrison.

North Yorkshire’s Children and Young People’s Service is planning to provide additional support for school leaders through a Catterick Project, providing help to schools with mathematics and children’s emotional health and wellbeing.

The County Council has applied to the Ministry of Defence to extend funding for its two Service Pupil Champions which the County Council created over two years ago. The two champions, who are both members of Service families, operate in the areas of the county where there is a concentration of Service personnel – Ripon; Dishforth, Catterick and Richmond and Bedale.

The role of the champions is to provide bespoke support to families and to develop a peer support network for children. The network, which was originally called HMS Heroes and supported by the Royal British Legion, brings Service children together for mutual support and activities.

HMS Heroes, which has recently been rebranded the Military Kids Club Heroes, aims to give young people a voice; raise the profile of Service children and explain to others the unique challenges that go hand-in-hand with being part of a military family.