Top
 

Education

It is with great pleasure that we, at the Naval Families Federation, are launching our 2021 Childcare report. We hope that you will agree with us, that it has been worth the wait and that it will help to shape the future of childcare for the Royal Navy.

 

We are so grateful to everyone who responded to our childcare survey last year. Our report aims to ensure that your voices, experiences and concerns that you have about childcare in the Royal Navy have been accurately represented. In addition to families’ feedback we have included lots of relevant research.

 

The focus of this report is on those aspects of childcare which place an extra burden on households as a direct result of Royal Navy Service life.

 

It is our aspiration that the short and long term recommendations made in this report will inform future MOD policy (including the wraparound childcare pilot and policy), as well as Royal Navy and wider Royal Navy charitable support.

 

To read the full report, please download the interactive PDF here.

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2021

 

The Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance), has worked with partners across the UK to develop a self-reflection tool for schools to consider their support for children in Armed Forces families. Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and suite of resources developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK.

This tool provides policy makers and practitioners with a clear picture of the number and distribution of Service children by local authority, based on English Service Pupil Premium data.

Kath Lawrence, SCiP Alliance Head of Operations, said “Children and young people in Armed Forces families have unique strengths and challenges. Discontinuity in learning, relationships and opportunities due to the complex and highly individual interplay of school transition and separation from parents can affect Service children’s achievement, progression and wellbeing. This toolkit will help teachers to reflect on their approach to supporting Service children and give them the tools to plan and deliver effective support. The SCiP Alliance’s network of Hubs will be organising a series of training conferences to further support schools in engaging with the Toolkit.”

 

Service parents are encouraged to share this with their child(ren)’s school.

 

Posted on: 29th October, 2020

 

On the 1st September ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy families, will officially launch.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Naval Families Federation (NFF), in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. This project is supported by funding over the next three years from the Armed Forces Covenant. In addition to this, the RNRMC have also brought together funded projects from the Naval Children’s Charity, Aggie Weston’s and KIDS to provide a comprehensive support package to service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.

 

 

Professor Janet Walker, who has been instrumental in the project’s development, said:

“Increasingly, as Royal Navy families choose to live away from their home base, many are experiencing loneliness and social isolation, the absence of a military peer group who understand and share the same pressures, relationship difficulties caused by time spent apart during deployments and weekending, and the unpredictability of home-comings and family time.”

“‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ can break down the barriers to seeking support and will assist members of Navy families, wherever you live and whoever you are, to access confidential and personalised practical and emotional help.”

 

The importance of support for dispersed families was echoed by Anna Wright, CEO of NFF:

“From my perspective the most exciting aspect of this project is that it supports our dispersed community.  With 39% living away from bases, having located in every county in the UK, it is essential that RNRM families can access appropriate support on the ground. And being able to self-refer to this support as a naval family is vital. We are delighted to be working with a group of charities that are collaborative, flexible and committed to supporting the naval lifestyle.

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC added:

“By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.”

 

Further information

For more information about the full range of support available and how to access it please visit: rnrmc.org.uk/how-we-help/families-and-relationships

 

Posted on: 1st September, 2020

The Naval Families Federation has been at the forefront of raising awareness of the childcare challenges for serving families since it carried out its first childcare survey in 2016, and its follow-up survey earlier this year (which will be published shortly). We are very grateful to everyone who responded so generously with their time and thoughts. You have allowed us to represent your experiences with authority and in detail to the Government, the Royal Navy and other stakeholders.

 

We are delighted that the announcement has been made of a new offer of free ‘wraparound’ childcare, to be piloted from September.

 

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. We will update you with further details of the Plymouth pilot as soon as these become available.

 

While we very warmly welcome this news, we are aware that wraparound care is only one aspect of this complex issue. We will continue to work hard to represent your experiences and challenges in all areas of childcare.

 

  • Read more about the announcement here.
  • Find out more about childcare for Service children here.
  • Click here to listen to an interview with our CEO’s reaction to the announcement from an episode of Sitrep via BFBS Radio (23rd July, 12:12 onwards).
Updates
November 2020

Royal Navy Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot for eligible Service Personnel assigned to the Plymouth area

 

The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot provides funding to eligible parent(s) with children between the ages of 4 to 11 years old with up to 20 hours per week of free before and after school childcare during term time.

 

Parent(s) can choose their own OFSTED, (or equivalent), registered childcare provider. The first pilot started in the autumn term 2020 and included Service personnel assigned to RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton. In January 2021, the pilot will be extended to include Service personnel assigned to the Plymouth area.

 

The second pilot is for Service Personnel (Tri-Service, Regular and Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)) who are assigned to the Plymouth area, and have child /children aged 4 to 11 years old who are in school and/or being home schooled at the start of the spring term. Those whose Assignment Orders have a report for duty date between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021 may also apply.

 

At the start of the pilot, the Service person and their partner, or a sole parent in a lone parent family, must be:

  • In paid employment, or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
  • Working at least 16 hours each per week.
  • Earning a weekly income equivalent to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage.
  • Financially responsible for a child who usually lives with them, unless separated due to Service commitments or are on unaccompanied assignments.
  • Each earning less than £100K per year.

 

You can only claim for WAC if you are using registered, regulated and inspected providers who are eligible to use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) or Childcare Vouchers.

 

Further guidance will be published shortly.

Posted on: 7th July, 2020
Updated on: 18th November, 2020

Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru is a Welsh Local Government Association programme initially funded by the MOD’s Education Support Fund and funded by Welsh Government from 2019.

 

Since the programme began in 2014 SSCE Cymru has worked with schools, children and young people, Local authorities, Welsh Government, education professionals, Armed Forces families and support organisations to gather their views and experiences, build networks across Wales and raise awareness and understanding of the experiences of children of Armed Forces personnel. SSCE Cymru has developed guidance and digital resources for schools and families, hosted conferences and stakeholder days and commissioned research to better understand the needs of Service children in education.

 

School survey

In 2019, SSCE Cymru invited all schools in Wales that have Service children enrolled to participate in a survey. The topics included:

  • School information – e.g. number of Service children, language of school, location
  • Mobility data – number of Service children joining and leaving the school
  • Challenges – those that Service children face in education, and schools face in supporting them
  • Support – that schools offer to their Service children, including mental health and wellbeing assistance, and how schools are working collaboratively
  • Funding – that schools are accessing, and what it is being used for
  • Armed Forces community – and how schools are engaging with it
  • SSCE Cymru resources – to learn what schools would find beneficial in helping them to support their Service children
  • SSCE Cymru training – to identify what type of training schools would like, and for who

You can download the full survey findings here.

 

Listening to our Service children

In 2019/20, SSCE Cymru ran a number discussion groups in schools in Wales, to hear from Service children about their experiences of education in Wales.

These findings will feed into the Year of the Service Child Voice project by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance).

You can download the full project analysis here.

 

Posted on: 31st March, 2020

 

EDIT

Sincere thanks to everyone who generously gave their time to respond to our childcare survey. The survey is now closed. We will keep you updated via our website and social media channels once the final report becomes available. We will take your thoughts and concerns to the government and the Chain of Command to inform change.

 

If you missed the survey deadline, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk as we would still like to document your ‘lived experience’ about this and any other issues that concern you.

 

 

You may recall that the NFF conducted a Childcare survey back in 2016.  Thank you for your excellent responses which we collated and used to advocate strongly for change to remove disadvantage in this area. The whole report can be downloaded here. 

 

As a result of our advocacy, the MOD has now agreed to consider how Service families can be better supported with childcare.  We now have an opportunity to directly inform any potential changes and decisions and wish the specific needs of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families to be represented.

 

By completing this survey, you will be informing us and helping us to build a clearer picture of the childcare issues that affect you.

 

This survey should take about 10 minutes to complete: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/nff-childcare

 

Posted on: 13th February, 2020
Updated on: 20th April, 2020

Overseas Accompanied Assignments and School children’s visits – 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. Some airlines provide unaccompanied minors flights services, some airlines will only allow children from the age of 12 to 14 (if they have a letter of consent from their parents) and some airlines will only allow children over the age of 16 to fly unaccompanied. Some airlines will require you to call the airline directly to book for a person under the age of 16, rather than order tickets online.

 

If you cannot find an airline to book an unaccompanied minors flight, MOD policy will fund return flights for one parent to collect their children. Please refer to the following sections in JSP 752 for details:

  • 10.0222: Locations where no Airline Offers an Unaccompanied Minors (UNMIN) Service to/from/within the UK
  • 10.0223: Reimbursement of any Costs Charged by Civilian Airlines for the Moving
    of Unaccompanied Minors (UNMINS)

 

Posted on: 3rd September, 2019

In July 2019, the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations took the opportunity to submit a joint response to the Department for Education’s call for evidence: ‘Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and for those who need additional provision: how the financial arrangements work’.

 

The Naval Families Federation advocates on behalf of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and we support the view that children’s education should not be disadvantaged by their parent’s Service.  In our submission we highlight some of the key issues and challenges that can arise for Armed Forces children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and suggested a number of recommendations, based on evidence gathered by the three Families Federations. The full report can be accessed here.

 

Posted on: 12th August, 2019

 

An extended funding partnership between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Kings Camps is about to enable more children and young people from Naval Service families to access sports and activity camps right across the UK and at a significantly subsidised rate of £60 per week.

 

In addition to operating Kings Camps for 1,800 children at 8 Royal Navy bases, Naval Service families can now access Kings Camps at 55 locations across the UK, from Aberdeen to Cornwall.

 

The announcement follows input from the NFF informing RNRMC of the need to support dispersed families.

 

Richard Holmes, CEO of Kings Camps, states:

‘We’re a not-for-profit with a vision of a world where children love being active, so we are absolutely delighted to be strengthening our partnership to enable thousands of children from Naval Service families to be active, have fun and learn together, and to be significantly helping Navy families. The fantastic contribution by the RNRMC enables us to provide a 5-day experience for just £60 per child; this represents a reduction of around 66% off our standard charge.’

 

Adrian Bell, CEO of RNRMC, is equally as pleased with the partnership:

‘The feedback we’ve had from Royal Navy and Royal Marine families that have accessed this service has been overwhelmingly positive, so to be able to extend this opportunity to Naval Service families wherever they live in the UK is an obvious next step.’

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation, said:

‘This is a tremendous development in support of dispersed families during school holidays. I think this is a really positive step in terms of tackling the very complex and multi-faceted issue of childcare.’

 

Around 1.5 million children have attended Kings Camps since 1991. During a typical week, children get to participate in around 30 activities, the environment is friendly, fun and inclusive and Kings have a high regard for safeguarding and child-welfare. Kings are the only organisation in the activity-camp sector that have independent parent-reviews, regularly receiving maximum scores for customer experience and product rating.

 

Kings’ national network of programmes are based at schools and universities with exceptional facilities and they feature at HMNB Clyde, RNAS Culdrose, Northwood Joint Forces, HMNB Devonport, HMS Collingwood, HMS Temeraire, RNAS Yeovilton and CTCRM Lympstone.

 

Read more about this latest partnership in Homeport magazine (Summer ’19 edition, p.34-35) here.

 

 

For information on Kings Camps Summer 2019 in the Portsmouth area, please visit this page. Full information can be found at www.kingscamps.org and bookings can be made by calling the experienced and knowledgeable Kings Camps booking team on 0114 263 2160 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

 

Posted on: 10th May, 2019
Updated on: 17th June, 2019

 

The Education Support Fund (ESF), launched in 2011 and subsequently extended by the Secretary of State for Defence (2018-2020), provided funding to assist publicly funded schools, Academies and Free Schools throughout the UK to mitigate the effects of exceptional mobility and/or deployment of their Service communities; Regular Armed Forces, including Reserves on Full Time commitment (FTRS FC).

 

Since 2011, the ESF has distributed over £40 million. The funding awarded from the 2021 ESF supported around 16,500 Service children from all three Services.

 

Successful applications to date have been for a wide range of initiatives. All been able to provide strong evidence of how their proposal would help Service children and schools to overcome the effects of exceptional mobility or deployment. The bids also demonstrated a good relationship with their Service community.

 

Schools supporting children of Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel typically have relatively smaller numbers of Service children on role, and often these children are affected more by deployment than by mobility (although mobility will be a strong feature in the lives of some). Such schools are still able to bid successfully to the ESF, but will need to ensure that they provide strong evidence of how their proposals will mitigate the challenges faced by their Service children. Full details of how to bid can be found via the link at the bottom of this section. Bids that are incomplete or do not follow the instructions may be weeded out in the first round, so it is important to follow the process. Particular attention in the bid-writing process should be paid to:

 

  • Explaining how the school already utilises Service Pupil Premium (SPP) and demonstrating the effectiveness of this.
  • Identifying a suitable Armed Forces sponsor who can assist with a statement that focuses on the impact of the proposed project. Generic statements are less effective in strengthening a bid.
  • Providing actual numbers of Service children being supported and ensuring that the size of the bid is proportionate.
  • Demonstrating a sound understanding of the needs of Service children and how these might be addressed.
  • Avoiding bidding for projects which are clearly intended to bolster funding for whole-school activity without a clear rationale for specific impact for Service children.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant a school needs to be in the UK and have children of Service personnel on roll whose parents are subject to mobility and/or separation (see Criteria). Applicants should include clear evidence of the exceptional impact of mobility and/or separation which regional panels can then use to accurately score applications.

 

Applications can be accepted from:
  1. Maintained schools;
  2. Academies;
  3. Free schools;
  4. Sixth Form colleges;
  5. Groups of any schools described above (referred to as ‘cluster bids’ and are strongly encouraged);
  6. Local authorities on behalf of the publicly funded schools in their area.

 

If applying as a cluster, an individual school can also submit their own separate bid, provided it is for a different initiative. Full details need to be provided on the application form. A cluster bid may be stronger than an individual school bid as resources are being shared; helping to achieve better value for money outcomes. Where possible, applicants are to make their local authority aware of their application.

 

The following are not eligible:
  1. Childcare providers;
  2. Colleges of higher education or further education;
  3. Commercial organisations or those that would seek to charge for their solution to be provided to a school, for example – an organisation could not be awarded a grant to develop a training course which it then charges schools to attend.

 

2022 Bidding Round

In light of ongoing rebasing activity, with further unit and personnel moves and associated disruption expected, Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – formerly DCYP) has secured £3 million from the Head Office Top Level Budget to fund an extension of the ESF.

 

The bidding round for the 2022 ESF is now open until 30 September 2021.

 

Please click here for further information/ download the grant application pack.

 

Posted on: 6th August, 2018
Updated on: 20th April, 2021