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Education Tag

Introduction

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 Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS) and Defence Children Services (DCS) 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.

1. Primary & Secondary Education
Defence Children Services (DCS)

The department formerly known as CEAS is now part of Defence Children Services (DCS) and is divided into two parts – the UK Education Advisory Team (EAT) and the Overseas Education and Supportability Team (OEST). The EAT 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 whereas the OEST are their counterpart that cover overseas education. EAT 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.

Devolved administrations
  • 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.

 

  • 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. Click here to access a school toolkit produced Forces Children’s Education. The Scottish Government has also produced a useful guide for Service personnel and their families moving to Scotland.

An overview of the system in Scotland, with comparisons to England and Wales, can be found here. Click here for a poster outlining the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) system, used by schools in Scotland to support the wellbeing of all children and young people.

 

  • Wales

A new curriculum has been developed and is being phased in for settings and schools in Wales. It will be used throughout Wales by the end of 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. This Service Family Guide gives information about the new curriculum and examinations and assessments.

 

  • Northern Ireland

The MOD has some introductory information about education in Northern Ireland here.

More detailed information about the curriculum and assessment can be found 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

If you are offered an overseas assignment, you will have to look carefully into the education available for your children. Please refer to this page on gov.uk for further information. Please also see this page on guidance on unaccompanied minor flights.

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 is not identical.

 

  • England & 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • Overseas

If your family is either considering, or currently delivering, home education overseas, you should refer to the Elective Home Education Overseas Parental Guidance (November 2021). This includes important information guidance and direction, including the requirement to contact Overseas Education and Supportibility Team at RC-DCS-HQ-OES@mod.gov.uk when considering an overseas assignment and before any firm decision on elective home education is made. This guide can be accessed from the DIN Library (20211108). Please note this DIN replaces the policy contained JSP 342. Please also see our Overseas Education page for further 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 to help to provide continuity of education for a child.

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).

Please see section 6 below for full details.

 

  • 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 look 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, including a boarding school finder website from Defence Children Services (DCS), please check out the guidance from EAT (formerly part CEAS*) here. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752, Chapter 14. To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

 

  • 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 they are 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.

Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

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. Please see section 2 for further information.

Further support
  • Visit our page here to find a list of organisations that can support your young person’s education, including funding and Service clubs.
  • Click here to find out more about resources/projects available to support parents/carers.
2. Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium (SPP)

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

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 first Thursday in October every year.

 

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. Or you can email: Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – Formely DCYP): People-AFFS-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

Resources

  • For examples of effective practice for schools see here.
  • Please also contact your local authorities as they may be able to provide further information to assist schools and families in accessing the best support for Service pupils. For example, click here for a booklet created by Hampshire County Council and click here for a guide created by West Yorkshire Local Authorities.
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.

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

Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales. SSCE Cymru provide information on funding available to schools and LAs here.

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 hereInformation about the Common Funding Scheme can be found here.

3. Education Support Fund (ESF)

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 separation of their Service communities; Regular Armed Forces, including Reserves on Full Time commitment (FTRS FC).

Since 2011, the ESF has distributed over £42 million. The funding awarded from the 2022 ESF supported around 23,000 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.
2023 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.

Following evidence provided by the NFF, this year the eligibility criteria for the fund have changed slightly to make it clear that schools experiencing exceptional impact from weekending, as well as deployment, may apply.

The bidding round for the 2023 ESF is now open until 30 September 2022.

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

 

*IMPORTANT INFO* In January 2022, the MOD published its 10-year strategy for improving support to Armed Forces families. As part of the MOD’s efforts to support the implementation of this strategy, existing grant funding schemes designed to support Service children are being reviewed. The ESF is currently under review and that your application may have to be submitted again through a new scheme.

4. Admissions and Appeal

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 Education Advisorty Team* (formerly CEAS) by email RC-DCS-HQ-EAT@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.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

Admissions
  • 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 a primary or a secondary school place. 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.

  • Scotland

Information on finding schools and the process can be found on the Parentzone Scotland website.  To make an application, contact the local council through the details here.

  • 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.

    • England: The admissions code can be found here. The appeals code is here.
    • Wales: The admissions and appeals codes can be found here.
    • Scotland: Please contact your local council to make an appeal.
    • Northern Ireland: Please contact the Education Authority for further information.
5. 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, headteachers 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 headteachers 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 headteachers 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 Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – Formely DCYP): People-AFFS-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

 

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

6. Moving Schools
  • Moving schools packs for parents and schools

These 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. 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, has been updated. This improves the information being transferred and helps 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.

It now 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.

7. Continuity of Education Allowance

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.

Eligibility

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).

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 Education Advisory Team* (formerly CEAS) before the placement is accepted, as this may affect your eligibility to claim CEA. Advice and authority must also be sought from the Education Advisory Team* if a child is placed in the year behind or asked to repeat a year in a school they are already attending.

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

To find out more, check out the guidance from the Education Advisory Team* (formerly CEAS) here. Further information about eligibility is in Joint Service Publication 752 (Chapter 14). To check your eligibility and to apply, contact your Unit Personnel Office.

*Please note: CEAS is in the process of updating gov.uk to reflect its restructure. The information on the NFF website is correct as of May 2022.

CEA (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).

8. Teaching Resources
CPD resources for schools

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

The Experience of Parental Absence in Royal Navy and Royal Marines Families

The Experience of Parental Absence in Royal Navy and Royal Marines Families

Our guide to supporting children and families, as endorsed in the Living in Our Shoes report, can be downloaded free here.

Thriving Lives Toolkit

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the free Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and a 3 tier set of CPD resources. The resources in this toolkit have been developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK, and consist of:

  • an introductory animation;
  • a detailed resource introducing the evidence base, what schools can do to support their Service children and who can help and;
  • school case studies.

 

This toolkit is available as a downloadable resource as well as an online interactive platform.

Armed Forces Day

Learning resources for schools wishing to show their support for Armed Forces Day, including assembly plans and teachers’ notes for both primary and secondary schools.

Posted on: 11th May, 2022

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

** This article is about our work with the Armed Forces Covenant/ Defence Select Committee in 2018. If you would like to read an update of the work carried out in 2019, please click here. **

 

As part of our work with the Armed Forces Covenant, each year we are asked to comment formally on the Covenant Annual Report, alongside the AFF and RAF FF. In addition to our written observations, our Chief Executive Anna Wright also appeared as a witness before the Defence Select Committee (DSC) earlier this year to talk about the Covenant, how it is being delivered and how it is affecting our people and their families.

 

The DSC Report has now been published and we are delighted to see that the Committee have listened to the evidence presented by the NFF and have included some of our suggestions in their recommendations. For example, during her evidence session, Anna told the Committee that, whilst we would like to see the Service Pupil Premium amount increased, our priority would be for it to be extended to early years and up to 18 years, because there were gaps at either end in terms of pastoral support.

 

As a result, the Committee have recommended that:

“We call on the Government to review the Service Pupil Premium for England, with particular reference to whether it should be increased and whether its range should be extended to under-5s and to all Service children, including those aged 16–18 years across the UK. We also call upon the Government to provide target guidance to help schools use the Service Pupil Premium appropriately.”

(Defence Select Committee Report on the Covenant, paragraph 135)

 

This is a great example of how we are speaking up on your behalf, at all levels within government, to try and make life better for you and your family. If you want to know more about our evidence and the Committees findings, you can access the full report here.

 

Posted on: 16th July, 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

*EDIT (MAY 22): CEAS are undergoing a restructure. For the latest information, please refer to this page here.*

 

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) are part of the MOD’s Defence Children Services 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 on gov.uk here, or see this leaflet here.

 

Posted on: 2nd May, 2018
Updated on: 13th January, 2022

1. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – UCAS

UCAS is an independent charity providing information, advice, and admissions services for universities and colleges across the UK. Click here for their advice to applicants from the Armed Forces community.

Information for students
Applying to University
Telling your story to UCAS for young people

Telling your story to UCAS for young people

Children from military service families are under-represented in the higher education population. Up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family (McCullouch and Hall, 2016). This has been recognised by the Office for Students (OfS), which identifies children from military families as a target group to be addressed by universities and colleges in their access arrangements. You can find out more about this on page 18 of this document. The Office for Fair Access (the body which previously was responsible for higher education access) published a topic briefing about students for military families which you can find here.

 

The Naval Families Federation is working with its partners in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to improve further and higher education outcomes for Service children, and to encourage universities to include them in their access arrangements. The Alliance website is a useful source of resources for teachers, parents and others who are interested in championing children from Armed Forces families.

What do I need to do as a potential university applicant, or the parent of a young person applying to go to university?

What do I need to do as a potential university applicant, or the parent of a young person applying to go to university?

You can, if you wish, make the university aware of your status as a child of a military family. Very often we find that young people from Armed Forces families do not consider themselves to be particularly ‘different’. You may not see any reason why your characteristics should be of any special interest to your chosen university. On the other hand, there may be aspects of being part of an Armed Forces family that have influenced your choices and outcomes. Your UCAS application gives you an opportunity to say something about these if you wish to do so. Obviously you are your own person, and not defined by your parent’s military service, but it may have had an influence – positive, negative or neutral – on your educational journey and your personal growth.

My UCAS application

There are 3 areas of your UCAS application where you may identify as a young person from a military family:

Parental Occupation

Parental Occupation

On your UCAS application, there is a parental occupation box with a drop down menu from which you can select ‘Armed Forces’. This enables UCAS to collect data which will help build a clearer picture of what is happening for Armed Forces families nationally.

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

 

There is plenty of information on the UCAS website about writing your personal statement. We particularly like the writing tool which leads you through the sections and explains what to include.

 

Section 1 – the course

The first section of your personal statement will explain:

  • why you are applying for your chosen course;
  • why the subject interests you;
  • why you are suitable for the course;
  • how your current or previous studies relate to the chosen course;
  • and what other activities you have undertaken that demonstrate your interest in the course.

Section 2 – your skills and achievements

In the second section you will write about the skills and achievements that will help you on your chosen course of study and with life at university in general, giving evidence to support why you are right for your course. There is an opportunity to say something here about particular skills that you may have gained from being part of an Armed Forces family. Keep it positive. Include skills that are relevant to the course you are hoping to study and make the link. For example:

“I moved schools frequently as a result of my parent’s service, and have learnt to settle in quickly in new places and cope with change.”

“My parent has been away from home a lot with the Armed Forces. I have needed to be responsible for my younger siblings at times, and this has helped me to organise my time and be reliable.”

“I have learned to cope with stress and be more resilient as a result of my parent being injured whilst deployed on combat operations. Although it was hard at the time, I worry less now about big challenges because I know I can cope with difficult situations.”

“I am a young carer for my brother who has special educational needs. When my dad is serving away from home with the Armed Forces, I take on additional responsibility for my brother while my mum is at work. This shows that I am independent and resourceful.”

“As someone from an Armed Forces family, I have had to be adaptable and flexible as roles and routines in our home change a lot depending whether my dad is away.”

UCAS Undergraduate Reference

UCAS Undergraduate Reference

You can give your permission for your school, college or registered centre to include information in your reference about your circumstances that may have affected/have affected your academic work.

 

For example:

  • School moves that disrupted your learning for a particular course of study;
  • A parent deployed on combat operations during examinations;
  • Being a young carer;
  • Having a serving parent who is affected by a life-changing injury or medical condition.

 

This information can help the admissions staff at the university to consider your achievements and potential in context. It is best if you let you referee see a copy of your personal statement so that they can avoid duplicating what you said, but they can comment on what you wrote if they wish.

 

Good luck! We wish you every success with your application. If you want to tell us about your journey into higher education, please do get in touch with us. We would love to hear your story!

Further information
  • If you are a teacher, or are supporting a student with their UCAS application, please encourage them to complete all the relevant application fields in full. You can find out more about contextualised admissions here.
  • UCAS toolkit for teachers and advisers who are supporting students with individual needs through the application process.
  • If you are writing a reference for a student’s UCAS application, you can find additional guidance here.
  • If you are supporting a young person with their application, there is a ‘Make the most of your Assets pack’ from the SCiP Alliance that you can download here.
  • Connected Forces is a supportive on-line community for 16-19 year olds from military families. This UK-wide project is run by the SCiP Alliance in partnership with Brightside and fully funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

 

Student funding
National
  • The President’s Award Scheme

The President’s Award Scheme can provide educational grants and scholarships to the children of serving and ex-Service non-commissioned ranks up to university age. One-off grants of up to £500 are available to help pay for course fees, public transport costs, text books, course equipment, specialist clothing and more. Alongside the grants, scholarships are available for applicants who are going to university and aged 21 or under. A continuation application is required each year and is accepted up to age 23. Up to £1,500 per year can be awarded to Service children going to university to study for their first undergraduate degree; usually awards are made to help with accommodation costs. The awards are decided by committee who will look at the individual circumstances of each applicant. The Committee meets tri-annually in January, July, and September.

Regional

You can find information about student funding, depending on where you live, here:

 

If you experience difficulties in securing higher education funding because of your connection to the Royal Navy or Royal Marines, please do contact us and let us know. We are committed to removing disadvantage related to your Service connection. You can also contact CEAS for expert guidance on the process.

Becoming a Teacher in the UK
Becoming a teacher in the UK

You can apply through UCAS for the main postgraduate and undergraduate teacher training programmes in England, Wales, and Scotland. The route for teacher training differs in Northern Ireland. Details of all the routes can be found on the UCAS website hereIf you are already a qualified teacher, and are experiencing difficulties in transferring your skills between devolved nations on re-assignment to a new area, please do contact us.

2. Related news/updates
(April 2019) - Universities Urged To Boost Support For Armed Forces Families
  • (April 2019) – Universities Urged To Boost Support For Armed Forces Families

 

Ministers have urged all UK universities to boost support for Armed Forces communities.

 

In a joint letter dated 18th April 2019, Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, and Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister called on institutions to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Currently 57 out of 136 UK universities have signed up to the Covenant, including 3 of the 24 Russell Group universities. The Russell Group represents those universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. According to research conducted by the University of Winchester, the participation for young people from Armed Forces families in higher education is 24%, compared to a rate of approximately 43% for the overall population.

 

This call came in light of the recent announcement from Department for Education which confirmed a £5 million funding to pay the tuition fees for eligible serving personnel and Service Leavers.

 

Universities can support the Armed Forces Covenant in a number of ways including ensuring admissions policies reflect the needs of the Armed Forces community, benchmarking Service experience and qualifications against course entry requirements or having a presence at local careers fairs for those leaving the Services. Universities which have already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant are leading the way with support for military personnel and their families, pledging to support those who wish to serve in the armed forces as Reservists, and offering flexible leave before or after deployment to personnel and their partners.

 

The Ministers have also called on universities to establish Armed Forces champions within each institution, which would be empowered to uphold the commitments of the Covenant, and to act as a first point of contact for the Armed Forces community, Service charities, and local businesses.

 

Some universities have also included Service children as a target group in their Access and Participation Plans, which all English universities will be drawing up this year for implementation in 2020/21. This is an initiative which the NFF has been actively involved in.

 

We welcome your views. Please do contact us if you have any concerns or would like to share your lived experience.

 

Further Information
Last updated on: 8th April, 2022

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.

 

The Voice of Schools Survey Report

SCISS have published the results of their survey of schools supporting Service children. 461 schools responded, including schools with small numbers of Service children. The survey questionnaire listed seven previously documented challenges experienced by some Service children, their families, and/or the schools they attend. It asked respondents to indicate how much of a challenge these presented to their school.

 

The full report and a summary can be accessed here.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes this important contribution from schools that helps to evidence the needs of Service children and those supporting them. We will be working with the SCISS and other partners to address the issues raised.

 

Posted on: 7th June, 2018
Updated on: 22nd March, 2021

The Armed Forces Covenant aims to honour the sacrifices the Armed Forces Community make to keep us safe, including those of families.

 

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report details some of the successes the Covenant has had over the past year, including in the key areas of healthcare, education and accommodation.

 

Every year the Families Federations are invited to make their observations on the Armed Forces Covenant and below is an extract of part of the report written by the Naval Families Federation in conjunction with the Royal Air Force Families Federation and the Army Families Federation. Based on the feedback we receive from Service personnel and their families, our observations have highlighted areas which we believe are working well and other aspects that we believe need to be improved upon:

 

Whilst the high tempo of UK operations endures the impact of Service life on Armed Forces families remains challenging. The issues of mobility and long periods of separation from loved ones demand a level of commitment and resourcefulness from families, which sets them apart from the general population. Constant change and the prospect of new policies that will redefine the Armed Forces’ lifestyle mean that unease and uncertainty prevail. Whilst families are proud of their serving loved one, and willingly make compromises and sacrifices, it is vital that the Armed Forces Covenant plays its part to ensure that they are treated fairly.

 

The Families Federations recognise the Armed Forces Covenant as an important and valuable mechanism to effect necessary change and very much appreciate the way in which Government departments and other stakeholders continue to work with us to achieve it.

 

Much has been accomplished in the past 12 months but there remains considerable work to do. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on those aspects of the Report relevant to serving personnel and their families.

 

Healthcare

That Armed Forces and Veterans issues are now part of the national curriculum for GPs, and will be tested in their Royal College of General Practitioners membership exam, is an extremely positive development. We look forward to there being greater understanding of the unique challenges that Service personnel and their families face.

 

Following our observations about compensation for clinical negligence cases for those families living overseas, we were pleased to note that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has now issued a Defence Internal Notice on Health Service Provision for Entitled MOD Personnel in British Forces Germany.

 

Whilst we recognise that families are now able to transfer their place to new waiting lists when they move location due to an assignment, we are still hearing concerns from those who then face even longer waiting times for certain treatments. This is a particular issue for those trying to access a NHS dentist in a number of remote locations around the UK, which have a large military footprint, including North Wales, Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall. Whilst we are working with our unit Covenant Champions, local authorities and NHS England and health partners to try and find resolution locally, more could and should be done. We recognise that work is being undertaken to ensure that those families who are assigned to Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged with regard to the time they have already spent on a waiting list for treatment.

 

However, concern remains about cases involving family members who find that they do not meet the eligibility criteria in their new location, or that certain medical treatment is not provided in Northern Ireland. Additional waiting times and concern about whether they will be able to have these procedures is causing undue anxiety. We would like to recognise formally the activity, support and engagement offered by the Armed Forces Commissioning Managers within NHS England, which has been outstanding; they continue to assist many families in need of advice and help. We also welcome the Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and we are pleased to note that Mental Health is at the forefront of the Health Agenda. We look forward to seeing the new services implemented over the coming months.

Education

As key stakeholders in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP), we are delighted to be working alongside our partners in helping to improve educational outcomes for Service children. The development of the SCiP website is providing a hub of information and resources for professionals involved in Service children’s education. The organisation Service Children in State Schools (SCISS) continues to provide proactive guidance to schools on how best to support Service children, especially through the challenges of mobility and separation.

 

We welcome the introduction of a Service child flag on the Common Transfer File from September 2017, which means that Service children will now be identified when moving schools. We would welcome the addition of key information detailing each child’s support needs. We also look forward to learning about the impact of the Service Children’s Local Authority Working Group which will work collectively to improve education for Service children in the 13 key areas around the country.

 

The overseas education suitability reviews, recently conducted by the MOD, are a welcome asset for families who are considering an overseas assignment. This will enable them to make an informed decision, based on the facts, about the provision of educational facilities outside of the UK.

 

The Families Federations are reassured to learn that the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) will not be affected by the wider reform of school funding. The SPP provides schools and academies in England with a much needed additional resource, allowing them to support Service children in a number of ways, and we believe that it should be protected. It has stood at £300 per pupil, per year, for some time now and an increase would be well received. We would also welcome the extension of SPP to include early years (under 5s), to support transitional childcare arrangements, and for all children in compulsory education, including those aged 16-18 years.

 

There is still more work to be done, however, on educating schools on how best to spend their SPP, especially those that have lower numbers of Service children. While they receive less funding, they still need to use it as effectively as possible to support their Service pupils, and not combine it with their main Pupil Premium funding.

 

The issues surrounding Service children being moved to a new school during the academic year are well documented. We recognise the work that the Directorate of Children and Young People, via the Children’s Education Advisory Service, are doing to try to resolve some of the difficulties that occur, particularly as a result of these mid-term moves. We would, however, welcome information about what work, if any, is being undertaken by the single Services to help overcome some of these issues, through careful timing of assignment order dates. We recognise that the needs of the Service will always prevail, but believe that more well-timed moves in some cases would go a long way to support parents and to aid retention.

 

In our Observations on the Annual Covenant Report 2016, we requested further support for school admissions by way of changes to the Schools Admission Code. Whilst we have continued to pursue this with the Department for Education, as it stands the Code will not be changed. We believe that this decision needs to be revisited.

 

We understand that the MOD Education Support Fund (ESF) is scheduled to close. We would like to highlight our support of the ESF as a vital resource for schools, especially for those wishing to provide targeted support for Service children which cannot be funded through Service Pupil Premium. The key reasons for its introduction, i.e. deployment and mobility, remain extant, and we would like to see the fund retained.

 

We continue to receive evidence from families who are affected by the huge variations in the provision of Special Educational Needs support around the country, particularly those who are assigned to work and live in more remote locations. We would like this issue to be reviewed in the coming year to determine what extra support can, and should, be provided to those families who have to move location due to their Service commitments.

Accommodation

The issues surrounding accommodation continue to generate the highest number of concerns reported to the Families Federations. Nevertheless, we are pleased to see progress with the performance of CarillionAmey, although there is still room for improvement in some areas, such as follow-on works and communications. Their decision to 14 introduce Customer Engagement meetings is to be commended, as families have long voiced their frustrations about not having face to face contact with the team responsible for Service Family Accommodation. We also welcome the recent engagement by the MOD and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation with regards to the new housing contract, and we look forward to representing the views of families as this important consultation is taken forward.

 

The Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey 2017 report highlights that the number of Service personnel who feel that they get value for money for their Service accommodation is at its lowest for 8 years. We believe that there is a direct correlation between this decline, the previously poor performance of CarillionAmey (which only recently has started to perform to the contract targets), and the introduction of the Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) (which is deeply unpopular with many who feel that often significant rises in charges are not adequately explained or justified). This sense of frustration is compounded by poor communication and a complex challenge/ appeal process. We note the CAAS Working Group’s intent to simplify the system, but remain concerned by the negative effect of CAAS.

 

We note the MOD’s intent to establish a Single Living Accommodation Management Information System, but are concerned that this has now been in the pipeline for years, and that there is still no sign of a working solution. We continue to hear about the poor state of infrastructure in units, including Single Living Accommodation (SLA), and the concomitant adverse effect on morale and feeling valued. The MOD now needs to address this urgently as the condition of SLA is an area of real concern for those personnel still living in poor quality and badly maintained accommodation.

 

There remains much confusion, and some anxiety, about the long-term plans for Service accommodation under the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) programme. The Families Federations will continue to work with the FAM team to represent the views of families across all three Services and to ensure that those who are working on the new policy are aware of their concerns. We will also provide information and feedback on the proposals, as we believe it is essential for families to be involved in this process, especially in those locations selected to be part of the pilot in 2018. We would like reassurances that our feedback is given sufficient consideration by the FAM team, and that decisions are not solely based upon financial constraints. In addition, we would like the FAM team to recognise the unique nature of the three Services and the potentially differing requirements of those families.

 

We are delighted that, following much work by the Army Families Federation and the Royal British Legion, there is movement on the issue of divorced/ separated spouses having a local connection when applying for social housing. Once The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government) and the Local Government Association have completed their consultation, we look forward to seeing new statutory guidance being issued to ensure that military family members are not disadvantaged because they too have been mobile, in support of the Armed Forces.

Covenant in Business

The growing engagement of businesses is celebrated but we think there is still much more that could be done, especially by regional Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SME) and not just the national or multinational corporate giants. Much attention is given, quite rightly, to supporting Reservists and Veterans in the workplace but spouse or partner employment is an issue that affects a great many Service families too. We will therefore be interested to note the findings of the review being commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust to look at the pledges made by businesses to support Service family members.

Family Life

The introduction of a new MOD Domestic Abuse Strategy is to be commended. We hope that this will reassure family members that the MOD and the single Services take this issue very seriously, and that there is a clear focus on prevention through education and awareness. As a result of a successful bid for Covenant Funding, the Army Families Federation Foreign and Commonwealth Specialist, on behalf of all three Federations, has already been able to assist 20 spouses who have been victims of domestic abuse and has had a 100% success rate with their immigration applications. It is hoped that their work will complement the policies and procedures put in place by the new strategy.

 

Whilst we welcome the news that the MOD has held initial meetings with the Home Office to discuss the challenges faced by some Foreign and Commonwealth families when applying for visas, we would like to see this issue given a higher priority. These cases frequently take months to resolve and can involve substantial amounts of money, which is having a significant impact on the families involved.

 

Service families moving to and from the devolved administration areas have raised concerns regarding the nuances of living in different countries. Whilst it is acknowledged that there are some clear benefits to living and working in Scotland or Wales, there has been a particular focus on the issue of the Scottish Rate of Income Tax and the challenges faced by some family members when applying for funding for further or higher education courses.

Childcare

We were delighted that Directorate of Children and Young People was tasked to produce a draft childcare policy but are disappointed that it has been buried in the MOD for nearly a year with no news about its adoption. We recognise the potential costs, and that this is an issue that can affect all families, whether Service or civilian. Nevertheless, there are some issues that are unique to Service families, and are compounded for dual-Serving and lone parents. Childcare remains a significant challenge for our people, not just in terms of cost but in terms of availability, governance, quality, opening hours and variability of delivery. We would welcome a decision in the near future.

Transition from Service to Civilian Life

The research currently being undertaken by our Transition Liaison staff will help to identify the actual needs and concerns of families as they go through the process of leaving the Armed Forces. We expect that this evidence will prove invaluable to informing Tri-Service policy on transition.

 

The Families Federations would welcome a commitment that policy makers will continue to work with us to review the current approach to transition policy, and the current Resettlement provision, to identify where it can be explicitly extended to families or where new provision needs to be designed. This could include provision for supporting families to understand better what life after the Service could look like, and to help them to identify skills, characteristics and experiences that are of value to themselves and future employers, as well as to help families to become active citizens.

Communicating the Covenant

We recognise the Armed Forces Covenant Cross Government Communications Working Group as an effective and positive development, but suggest that more is needed in the way of tailored messaging that will resonate with every rank, trade, age group and family situation. We also believe that there is more that can be done to support Unit Covenant Champions. We still hear about organisations that have signed up to the Covenant and yet failed to tell their employees, leading to confusion, stress and unnecessary bureaucracy when approached by Service families. Finally, despite the excellent work of Forces in Mind Trust and the MOD to identify and share good practice, we would like to see more work done to ensure that the Covenant is effectively communicated to local authorities, ensuring a focus on the removal of patchy delivery of the Covenant across different authorities.

Conclusion

On behalf of the serving Armed Forces community we would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has played a part in delivering the Armed Forces Covenant during the past 12 months and are particularly grateful to those who have worked to address areas of disadvantage for our families. Whilst we celebrate the encouraging progress that has been made, we look forward to seeing the recently renewed commitment made by the Government to support Armed Forces families yielding positive outcomes.

 

Further information

To read the full Armed Forces Covenant Report, click here.

To read a summary of the Armed Forces Covenant Report, click here.

Contact us

Without your feedback we cannot gather the evidence that we need to bring about change, where required, and make life better for Naval Service families.

Call us: 023 9265 4374

Email: contactus@nff.org.uk

You can also contact us on social media:

Follow us on Facebook here.

Follow us on Twitter here.

 

Posted on: 14th February, 2018

Telling your story to UCAS

Children from military service families are under-represented in the higher education population. Up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family (McCullouch and Hall, 2016). This has recently been recognised by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), which now identifies children from military families as a target group to be addressed by universities and colleges in their access arrangements. You can find out more about this on OFFA’s website and view each university’s access arrangements here.

The Naval Families Federation is working with its partners in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to improve further and higher education outcomes for Service children, and to encourage universities to include them in their access arrangements.

What do I need to do as a potential university applicant, or the parent of a young person applying to go to university?

You can, if you wish, make the university aware of your status as a child of a military family. Very often we find that young people from Armed Forces families do not consider themselves to be particularly ‘different’. You may not see any reason why your characteristics should be of any special interest to your chosen university. On the other hand, there may be aspects of being part of an Armed Forces family that have influenced your choices and outcomes. Your UCAS application gives you an opportunity to say something about these if you wish to do so. Obviously you are your own person, and not defined by your parent’s military service, but it may have had an influence – positive, negative or neutral – on your educational journey and your personal growth.

My UCAS application

There are 3 areas of your UCAS application where you may identify as a young person from a military family:

Parental Occupation

On your UCAS application, there is a parental occupation box with a drop down menu from which you can select ‘Armed Forces’. This enables UCAS to collect data which will help build a clearer picture of what is happening for Armed Forces families nationally.

Personal Statement

There is plenty of information on the UCAS website about writing your personal statement. We particularly like the writing tool which leads you through the sections and explains what to include. You can find it on the UCAS website here.

Section 1 – the course

The first section of your personal statement will explain:

  • why you are applying for your chosen course;
  • why the subject interests you;
  • why you are suitable for the course;
  • how your current or previous studies relate to the chosen course;
  • and what other activities you have undertaken that demonstrate your interest in the course.

Section 2 – your skills and achievements

In the second section you will write about the skills and achievements that will help you on your chosen course of study and with life at university in general, giving evidence to support why you are right for your course. There is an opportunity to say something here about particular skills that you may have gained from being part of an Armed Forces family. Keep it positive. Include skills that are relevant to the course you are hoping to study and make the link. For example:

I moved schools frequently as a result of my parent’s service, and have learnt to settle in quickly in new places and cope with change.

My parent has been away from home a lot with the Armed Forces. I have needed to be responsible for my younger siblings at times, and this has helped me to organise my time and be reliable.

I have learned to cope with stress and be more resilient as a result of my parent being injured whilst deployed on combat operations. Although it was hard at the time, I worry less now about big challenges because I know I can cope with difficult situations.

I am a young carer for my brother who has special educational needs. When my dad is serving away from home with the Armed Forces, I take on additional responsibility for my brother while my mum is at work. This shows that I am independent and resourceful.

As someone from an Armed Forces family, I have had to be adaptable and flexible as roles and routines in our home change a lot depending whether my dad is away.

UCAS Undergraduate Reference

You can give your permission for your school, college or registered centre to include information in your reference about your circumstances that may have affected/have affected your academic work.

For example:

  • School moves that disrupted your learning for a particular course of study;
  • A parent deployed on combat operations during examinations;
  • Being a young carer;
  • Having a serving parent who is affected by a life-changing injury or medical condition.

This information can help the admissions staff at the university to consider your achievements and potential in context. It is best if you let you referee see a copy of your personal statement so that they can avoid duplicating what you said, but they can comment on what you wrote if they wish.

Good luck!

We wish you every success with your application. If you want to tell us about your journey into higher education, please do get in touch with us at contactus@nff.org.uk . We would love to hear your story!

Further information

If you are a teacher, or are supporting a student with their UCAS application, please encourage them to complete all the relevant application fields in full.  You can find out more about contextualised admissions here.

If you are writing a reference for a student’s UCAS application, you can find additional guidance here.

 

Download this article here.

 

Posted on: 1st December, 2017

When we speak to families they tell us that navigating allowances can be difficult. To make life a little easier we have pulled out some useful information that could have an impact on family life. There are various allowances that Service Personnel may become eligible for in certain circumstances or at different qualifying points in their career, such as a new Assignment. Advice can be taken from your family member’s Unit Personnel Office (UPO) and up to date information can also be found here.

This article aims to highlight a few of the allowances that your family member may be entitled to, and which have to be claimed for and assessed for eligibility by your family member’s UPO rather than paid automatically, of which you may not have been aware and some will require evidence, such as proof of address. Reservist’s eligibility for some allowances will be based on the type of their commitment so regulations should always be checked.

Travel Allowances

1. Home to Duties – (HTD) – An allowance paid to personnel who travel to work daily based on the mileage travelled. If the serving person lives in privately owned or rented accommodation they must contribute for the first nine miles before they are eligible to claim; if personnel live in Service Family Accommodation the allowance starts after the first three miles. It is paid automatically at a daily rate for shore side personnel but it is paid on a manual basis for personnel serving onboard a Ship. Personnel can also claim for travel on Public Transport, which will also be claimed manually.

2. Get You Home (Travel) – GYH (Travel) – Payable to personnel who live at work in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or a Residence at Work Address and travel home at weekends. To be eligible you need to live over 50 miles away. This allowance cannot be paid alongside allowances such as HTD or Longer Separation Allowance. If you are temporarily serving at a different location for 10 days or more, then you can claim this allowance for the distance between the permanent and temporary duty station.

3. Get You Home (Sea goers) – If you are serving on-board a Ship then you are entitled to 10 warrants per leave year in order to travel to an eligible nominated address, such as Next Of Kin, Spouse or Parent. You could also transfer up to six warrants per year to your immediate family, a Spouse or Dependent Child, to travel from their home to the family member’s place of duty. When your Ship is deployed, up to six warrants per year can also be transferred to close family such as a Grandparent, Parent or Sibling, as long as the travel is to visit the Spouse, or to the Spouse/Child in order to visit either set of Parents.

4. Railcards – All personnel are entitled to apply for an HM Forces Railcard at a cost of £19. The card saves 1/3 of the cost of most rail fares in the UK and is valid for a year. Spouses and Dependent children are also eligible for a card. Please note that expenses for a duty or GYH journey can’t be claimed for if that journey is undertaken using an HM Forces Railcard.

Education Allowances

If you and your family change location due to assignment, then you may be able to claim the Continuity of Education allowance.

1. Continuity of Education (CEA) – There are several parts to this allowance to take in individual circumstances, including Boarding School and children with Special Educational Needs. To be eligible in most cases, the family must be living with the Service Person unless they are serving on board a Ship at sea, or are deployed in an Operational Area where families are not allowed to accompany them.

Relocation Expenses and Allowances

Moving home due to a new assignment? Help is available with those extra costs involved.

1. Disturbance Expenses – If you are assigned a new Unit then you can claim Disturbance Expenses, though you cannot claim if you are moving on board a Ship. The allowance is paid at different rates depending on the type of accommodation such as SLA or SFA (Service Family Accommodation) and the location, for example UK or Overseas.

2. Movement and Storage of Personal Effects – This is to enable personnel to move home at Public Expense when assigned to a new Unit at a new location or after an authorised Mid-Assignment move. In the majority of cases, Removals and storage provision is to be delivered by the MOD contractor. The maximum volume of Personal Effects that can be moved or stored is 67.92 CuM. This allowance cannot be claimed when a couple are first setting up a home after marriage or Civil Partnership.

Accommodation Allowances

There are several accommodation allowances to support personnel with charges they may incur due to the nature of their assignment.

1. Lodging Allowance – To enable personnel in the UK to rent accommodation when single public accommodation is not available.

2. Overseas Rent Allowance – If you are assigned overseas and there is no suitable Service accommodation available, then you can access an allowance to reimburse you with the cost of rent and utilities for rented accommodation.

3. Overseas Furniture Provision Scheme – If you are moving to unfurnished publicly rented accommodation or foreign government quarters, then this allowance will help with the provision of furniture and furnishings.

4. Council Tax Relief – (CTR) – This allowance is for personnel who pay council tax in the UK and are serving abroad on specified operations or assignments. It is paid for each day that the person is on the qualifying assignment and includes time spent out of theatre on Rest and Recuperation. It is not paid to personnel who have already negotiated a discount with their Local Council. The allowance will be paid automatically to personnel living in SFA unless the qualifying person is living in a Married Quarter and is not the PSTAT 1/2 partner (they are not the one paying SFA and Council Tax charges) in which case they will have to claim separately as if they were living in private accommodation. The daily rate for CTR is based on the average Council Tax per dwelling in England.

Remember –

There are many different allowances that cover countless differing situations, so it is always wise to consult your Unit Personnel Office with any queries, particularly when proceeding on a new Assignment.

More information

The MOD has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive. Find it here.

If you are due to be assigned overseas, please visit this page for further information on Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).

Posted on: 9th November, 2017
Updated on: 29th November, 2018

Edit: PMK is now being led by Aggie Weston. You can contact them here.

 

Pompey’s Military Kids is a joint initiative set up by representatives from various schools across the city, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and the Naval Families Federation. The Naval Families Federation will share good practice from this initiative via its partners with other schools in the UK and overseas in order to improve support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines children. The Cluster Group was established to support Service children in a number of different ways. Local schools are already sharing good ideas and best practice and working much more collaboratively. The Group also organises events and activities which bring Service children together from across Portsmouth, to encourage them to interact and make new friends. This means that there is now a network of young people who are helping and supporting each other within the wider community.

 

Most recently, two of the leading reading initiative charities for the Armed Forces, Reading Force and Storybook Waves, organised for author, Philip Ardagh to visit St Jude’s School in Portsmouth. The Naval Families Federation were offered the opportunity to invite Service children from the other Schools in the Pompey’s Military Kids Cluster. In total 40 additional children were able to attend. Each child received a Reading Force Scrapbook and a book which was signed with a personal message from the author.

 

As well as attending events within the schools, the children have visited Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth to take part in the Service of Remembrance, and spent a day in HMS St Albans, learning more about life on board ship, which was a great adventure for both the pupils and teaching staff.

 

The number of schools taking part in Pompey’s Military Kids has already increased, which means that more than 220 Service children are now getting extra pastoral support.

 

As a result of its success, the group has divided into two regional subgroups and the Naval Families Federation ran a competition for the children to design a logo for the group. We’re grateful to Commander Chris Ansell, Commanding Officer of HMS St. Albans, who had the difficult task of judging our competition and picked a winning design (pictured below).

 

If you want to find out more about Pompey’s Military Kids, please email Nicola.Thompson@nff.org.uk.

 

 

Posted on: 16th October, 2017