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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 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

 

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is delighted to announce the launch of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. This project is supported by funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), as well as funds awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the RNRMC and the NFF, in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. Initial funding of project activities, provided by the RNRMC and the Armed Forces Covenant, is to be rolled out over the next three years. The offer aims to provide comprehensive support to Naval 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.  The RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report highlighted that dispersed Naval Service families, i.e. families distributed throughout the country, are less likely than those who live close to base ports to be aware of available help and support and far more likely to have difficulties accessing the support available.

 

The project also seeks to tackle problems reported by Naval Service personnel and their families to the Naval Families Federation and the Royal Navy Chaplaincy. These can include a sense of isolation, relationship and parenting issues or mental health difficulties.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

‘We are delighted to have been involved in this vital initiative, particularly in the case of our isolated families.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are more widely dispersed than those of our sister Services, which brings its own challenges in terms of mutual support, gleaning information and access to the range of services that are available to families near base ports and other Naval establishments.

This kind of partnership between ourselves, the RNRMC and other stakeholders points to a potentially more effective way of using scare resources to greater effect.’

 

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

‘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.’

 

More information about Strengthening Families – By Your Side will be coming soon to our website.

 

Posted on: 6th 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

In December 2017, the Department of Health and the Department for Education released a Green Paper to consult on mental health provision for children and young people. It set out 3 key proposals for schools and the NHS to improve services.

 

The NFF released a formal response, following the publication of this Green paper. Our response highlighted the impacts of Naval Service have on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and called for action in the Government’s future plans. To read a short summary of the Government’s proposals and our response, please click here.

 

Implementation

The consultation period lasted for 13 weeks from December 2017 to March 2018, and has received over 2,700 responses. The Government’s response to the consultation was published in late July 2018. The implementation began in early 2019 – 25 trailblazer areas across England to provide expert mental health support to almost half a million children and young people every year. 59 new Mental Health Support Teams are now undergoing training at seven universities nationwide, with plans to be operational by December 2019.

 

Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and they are responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, to build on support already in place from different sectors (e.g. school counsellors, nurses). The teams are designated to help with treating mild and moderate mental health issues in school; a link to specialist NHS services will also be provided to those with more severe needs, to access the right support. Funding from the Department for Education is also in place to train senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, to work closely with the NHS teams.

 

The Current Trailblazer Areas

North

  • Doncaster CCG & Rotherham CCG
  • Liverpool CCG
  • Newcastle Gateshead CCG
  • Northumberland CCG
  • North Kirklees CCG & Greater Huddersfield CCG
  • South Tyneside CCG
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

 

Midlands & East

  • Herts Valley CCG & East and North Herts CCG
  • North Staffordshire CCG
  • Rushcliffe CCG and Nottingham North and East CCG
  • South Warwickshire CCG
  • Stoke on Trent CCG

 

South East

  • Buckinghamshire CCG
  • Berkshire West CCG
  • North Kent CCG grouping: Swale and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCGs
  • Oxfordshire CCG

 

South West

  • Gloucestershire CCG
  • Swindon CCG

 

London

  • Bromley CCG
  • Camden CCG
  • Haringey CCG
  • Hounslow CCG
  • South West London HCP: Wandsworth and Sutton and Merton CCGs
  • Tower Hamlets CCG
  • West London CCG

 

 

Further Expansion

The trailblazer sites are made up of the NHS and key local stakeholders, including schools and colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations and will be rolled out to between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023/24. Plans for further expansion of this service has also been set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

 

The NFF welcomes the introduction of the new services. Please do contact us if you would like to share your comments.

 

Posted on: 5th February, 2018
Last Updated on: 25th January, 2019

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, recently published a report looking at the lives and experiences of children who grow up in an Armed Forces family. The Naval Families Federation attended the launch of the report, and spoke with the Children’s Commissioner afterwards about particular challenges experienced by Naval Service families.

 

The report, ‘Kin and Country: Growing up as an Armed Forces Child’, explores how primary and secondary school children with parents in the Armed Forces feel about moving school or country, how their lives at home and school change with deployment and whether or not they feel they receive the support they need.

 

The Children’s Commissioner’s Office spoke to children up and down the country whose parents are currently serving in the Army, Navy or RAF, as well as speaking to teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces to build a clear picture of where there are gaps in provision for children, and why these gaps exist.

 

The report shows that most children in Armed Forces families are growing up living happy lives, despite the unique challenges they face. It is clear though that the lifestyle can be tough, and that multiple school moves often leave children feeling unsettled and anxious. For children with additional needs or teenagers in the middle of exam courses, moving around adds another layer of complication.

 

Alongside the impact of mobility, service children describe a range of complex emotional responses to the deployment of their parents, sharing the impact that parental absence has at home, with changing family dynamics and increased responsibility for siblings and household tasks. For children who had both parents deployed at the same time, these issues are exacerbated by the need to move to stay with another family member for a significant period of time.

 

You can read the full report, and its recommendations, here.

 

Posted on: 17th July, 2018

Service children in state schools (SCISS) was formed as a working group to look into the issues relating to English state schools providing for children whose parents serve in the Armed Forces. It was convened by CEAS (Children’s Education Advisory Service) in the latter part of 2003. CEAS is a UK wide Ministry of Defence (MOD) service which provides information, guidance and support to service families, schools and local authorities and has been part of the MOD’s Directorate for Children and Young People (DCYP) since 2010.

 

SCISS is now an affiliation of more than 1500 state-maintained schools in England which have children of service personnel on roll, led by a National Executive Advisory Committee made up of headteachers, local authority representatives, and representatives of the three Families Federations. The group is supported by representatives from the Department for Education (DfE), and DCYP.

 

You can find out more about SCISS on its webpage here.

 

Posted on: 7th June, 2018

Children and young people should be protected from inappropriate and excessive caring responsibilities so they can enjoy their childhoods, thrive and reach their potential.

 

Young carers from Armed Forces Families have been highlighted as a particularly vulnerable group. The impacts of the caring roles for these young people are further compounded by other factors linked specifically with military life. We have worked in collaboration with the Children’s Society to help them to produce this report.

 

It evidences the need for support for these young people and proposes actions to improve identification and assistance. The report also contains recommendations for military and civilian services and suggestions for further actions and reading.

 

Posted on: 16th November, 2017

A new Childcare Choices website has now been launched, so that millions of parents can pre-register for the government’s new childcare offers.

 

We know that childcare is important to many Naval families (click here to see our Childcare survey results) so we’re pleased to see that Childcare Choices has brought together all the government childcare offers for the first time, to help parents find the right childcare support to suit them.

 

As part of Childcare Choices, the government is introducing two new offers in 2017 – HMRC’s Tax-Free Childcare and the Department for Education’s 30 hours free childcare.

 

The introduction of Tax-Free Childcare will begin on 28 April, for parents of the youngest children. It will be gradually rolled out over 2017 – cutting childcare costs by up to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children, for working families across the UK.

 

The new 30 hours free childcare offer will be available in England for working parents of three and four year olds from September 2017. Parents will be able to apply in advance of September, and at the same time as Tax-Free Childcare.

 

The Childcare Choices website, launched today, includes a Childcare Calculator for parents to compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for their families.

 

Through the site parents can also pre-register for email alerts that will notify them when they can apply.

 

David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“The new Childcare Choices website provides busy families with options that suit their needs, so they can clearly see which childcare offer works best for them. For the first time, we have brought all the childcare options together to make the process easier and simpler for families and childcare providers.”

 

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said:

“Affordable childcare and early years education are a vital part of how we can get our children on the right path, whilst also helping parents to be back at work, if that is what they want. Many parents are struggling to balance the cost of childcare against the benefits of being in work and this government wants to help.

 

“From today, parents can use the Childcare Choices website to find out what support is available for their family. It’s a quick and easy way for parents to choose the offer that’s best for them and their children.”

 

Posted on: 25th March, 2017

Grandparents caring for grandchildren under 12 could qualify for National Insurance credits that can top up their income in retirement.

Many working-age grandmothers and fathers could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits for looking after children aged under 12 – which can be used to top up their income in retirement.

Half of Britain’s 7 million working-age grandparents have a grandchild under the age of 16.

Working parents can give up the Child Benefit credits they receive and donate them to their child’s grandparents or other adult family members for the previous tax year. Grandparents and parents must apply for the credits to be transferred.

 

Top grandparent facts

Top grandparent facts include:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use grandparents for childcare
  • 63% of all grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare
  • 1 in 5 grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • the proportion of grandparents who are of working age is set to grow as the retirement age gradually rises

 

More information

Applications for NI credits for caring for children under 12 need to be made to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and must be signed by both the adult carer and the Child Benefit recipient. Applications need to be made in the October following the end of the tax year in which the caring took place.

The credit is a Class 3 National Insurance credit and protects entitlement to basic State Pension and bereavement benefits for spouses and civil partners.

There is no minimum requirement for the number of hours of care in a week as long as the credit is transferred for a full week. For details of who can apply and how, visit here or phone the National Insurance Helpline on 0845 302 1479.

The new flat-rate State Pension, set above today’s means-tested support, is designed to provide certainty to people about what they will get in retirement. It will benefit women, and also the self-employed, who are currently excluded from qualifying for state second pension.

Figures in this release come from the Grandparents Plus briefing paper on grandparental childcare and their publication Doing it all?

 

Posted on: 20th January, 2017