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SEND Tag

 

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity announced the release of a new survey report written by the FANDF committee. This powerful report shares the voices of this sometimes-overlooked Additional Needs and Disability community within the Armed Forces. This is the first time that this demographic has shared these insights and their experiences in an official capacity with the Ministry of Defence.

 

Under the MOD’s Defence and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, efforts are being made to shine a light into every corner of the Forces community. In order to better support these families, their opinions and personal experiences have been collated and their own on-the-ground-recommendations are being shared.

 

Key report findings:

  • Lack of a ‘normal’ family routine caused by military lifestyle leaves those families with additional needs and disabilities struggling to climb waiting lists and access specialist services required
  • Children’s education can suffer as stretched local authorities subconsciously under-resource support for children who will ‘move on’ shortly. The report finds ongoing issues with obtaining an educational diagnosis and support for children, according to 29% of respondents surveyed
  • Access to continuity of health care is a big concern, with health and educational records taking time to be transferred and those families claiming access to support having to start again from scratch every time they move
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the most common additional need identified by 48% of respondents, and specialist support for military families dealing with this is necessary

 

Click here to read the report in full. 

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2020

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 12th August, 2019

It’s important to register an additional need and/ or disability with the Chain of Command, so that they are aware that your family may require extra support sometimes. There are a number of organisations that can assist you or offer you support such as the MOD, Government, your Local Authority (LA), NHS and specific charities.


Armed Forces Support

It is mandatory to register your family member’s additional need and/or disability with the chain of command to ensure that extra support required by your family is formally recognised.

 

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

Guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25, from 1 September 2014.

 

Additional needs Adaptions (ANA) to Service Family Accommodation (SFA)

If you or your family member has a disability which means that your SFA needs additional needs adaptions:

  • Contact Amey Occupancy Service Team at the Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 or email occupancyservices@ameydefenceservices.co.uk.
  • You will need to submit medical evidence and/or an Occupational Therapy report depending on the adaptations required. Therefore you are advised to ask the Occupancy Services Team for a specific point of contact and email address to send your confidential medical information to.
  • If you require a larger SFA to allow for the required adaptations to be done you will need to complete an e1132 form, which you can find here.
  • Joint Service Publication (JSP) Vol 1, Part 1, Section 3 also contains information about the process for applying for SFA if you have additional needs. You can find the information here.

 

Government Support
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. Find our more here.

 

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16;
  • has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability.

Please find out more here.

 

Claiming Benefits Overseas

If you are living overseas as part of a Service family, The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have stated:

“When Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was introduced in April 2013 DWP also took the opportunity to amend residence and presence tests in Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA) and Carer’s Allowance (CA). For DLA and CA, like PIP, they made an exception for Serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces and members of their families, so that they should be classed as satisfying the habitual residence when stationed abroad.”

This means that you are able to continue claiming your benefit as if you were still living within the UK or apply for a new benefit as if you were living in the UK.

 

Carer’s Allowance

If you are 16 and over and care for someone for at least 35 hours a week you may be eligible to claim carer’s allowance. Please find out more here.

 

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) is an alternative to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It is designed to provide financial support to Service personnel and Veterans who are seriously injured as a result of service to cover the extra costs they may have as a result of their injury. If you are eligible you will not be required to have an additional medical assessment and you will not be required to undergo regular re-assessments to maintain eligibility. AFIP applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is not taxable or means tested. Visit their website here.

 

SSAFA’s Guide for Service Families with Additional Needs and Disability

The challenges of military life are greater when you or a member of your family has a disability or an additional need. There are many questions to consider: When will we move? Will the housing be suitable? Will the local school be able to offer adequate support? How far are the local hospitals? What is transport like? Will the same treatment, medication or services be available?

This guide intends to offer families with challenging issues a step towards finding some answers to these questions. It is by no means comprehensive, but aims to signpost some of the services and resources available, to help find the appropriate support and make life easier. Please click here.

 

SSAFA Support Groups
Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF)

The Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) support group was set up over 20 years ago for Service families who have a child or dependant who has additional needs or a disability, or if they are disabled themselves. It is a forum for families to raise issues of importance with the MOD and welfare providers about the factors unique to Service life and a way of ensuring that both children and adults with additional needs and/or disability have access to the best support available. FANDF is facilitated by SSAFA. To find out more, please click here.

 

Short Breaks

These adventures give children a break away from home, where they can gain independence, make friends and have fun. The breaks also give family left at home a rest, to spend time together and recharge their batteries. For full details click here.

 

Posted on: 18th May, 2016
Updated on: 11th February, 2021

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Continuity of Education Allowance (Guardians)

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

 

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 17th May 2016
Last updated on: 24th January, 2019

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

 

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

 

Education provision overseas can be roughly divided into the following types, not all of which will be available in every location:

  • MOD schools;
  • English speaking schools (these may be local state schools, or in some cases independent day schools);
  • Non-English speaking schools (local state schools, with an allowance to help your child to learn the local language);
  • International schools (independent, usually English speaking schools).

 

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

 

Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools

MOD Schools is part of the Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP). MOD Schools provide education to the dependent children of service personnel and MOD entitled civilians, entitled contractors and fee payers. MOD schools are predominantly overseas, with one school in Scotland.

 

Unaccompanied Minors Flights

Different airlines have different policies regarding unaccompanied minors’ flights. To understand an airline’s specific unaccompanied minors’ policy, have a look on their website. If you cannot find an airline to book an unaccompanied minors flight, MOD policy will fund return flights for one parent to collect their children. Please visit this page for more information.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 3rd September, 2019

Special Educational Needs & Disability

The term ‘Special Educational Needs & Disability’ (SEND) has a legal definition, referring to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn or access education than other children of the same age.

If your child has a special educational need, they may require extra help in a range of areas, such as reading and writing, comprehension of information, building relationships and behavioral issues. They may also have a physical or sensory need which must be addressed.

 

UK wide

Contact a Family is a national charity for families with disabled children. It provides information, advice and support. It brings families together so they can support each other, click here.

 

England

The Family and Childcare Trust has produced a guide to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities in England, click here.

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) was launched in 2011, and is funded by central government. The NNPCF is a network of local forums meeting in regional settings, working together to effect local and national service improvement through participation and co-production with parent carers, click here.

 

Scotland

Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides education, employment and care services for, disabled children and adults across Scotland, click here.

 

Wales

SNAP Cymru provides information, advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs or disabilities. It provides impartial, confidential and free advice through its helpline and specialist casework service, click here.

 

Northern Ireland

The Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC) is a charity providing confidential, independent advice and advocacy on behalf of children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) attending schools in Northern Ireland up to the age of 19 years, click here.

Childcare Partnerships offer information and support to childcare providers, parents and employers. It supports parents to access quality childcare through an online childcare search facility, a guide to choosing a quality childcare service and by providing information on reducing childcare costs, click here.

 

Further Information
Registering a Special Educational Need

A special educational need should be registered with the Service. Although it is not compulsory, it would also be beneficial to register with CEAS, so that they can liaise with your employer to ensure that your child’s needs can be met on future postings.

 

Other Organisations

If your child has an additional need or disability, SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) can help.  It provides trained volunteers to help your family access practical and financial support.  It also hosts a Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum which is a support group for Armed Forces families with a family member with an additional need or disability.

 

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

 

Disability Benefits

GOV.UK – the official government website for citizens with a comprehensive section on Money, Tax and Benefits. Visit the website to find out if you are entitled to any disability benefits.

Citizens Advice Bureau – Offer advice on many subjects, including welfare and disability benefits.

Those residing in Scotland should contact Citizens Advice Scotland.

 

Naval Service Family & People Support (NS FPS) Information Office

Your local NS FPS Information Office is another excellent source of information regarding educational support agencies in your community.

 

Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS)

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) has been established specifically for Service families. It is aware of the unique circumstances of Service families and can offer information, advice and support on all aspects of a child/young person’s education within the UK and overseas. You can contact CEAS on: 01980 618244 or e-mail them at: dcyp-ceas-enquiries@mod.uk. CEAS is part of the Directorate Children and Young People; the MOD’s tri-Service lead for the delivery of statutory services for children and young people within the Armed Forces community worldwide.

 

Important Information for Parents and Schools regarding changes to the Special Educational Needs Addition to the MOD Continuity of Education Allowance

The MOD regulations for the Special Educational Needs Addition to the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA (SENA)) and CEA (SENA)(Day) have been revised with effect from January 2017; important changes which parents and schools should be aware of have been listed below including a list of frequently asked questions.

If further advice is required please contact CEAS by email: DCYP-CEAS-enquiries@mod.uk or telephone: 01980 618244.

  • The aim of Continuity of Education Allowance (Special Educational Needs Addition) (CEA (SENA)) is to contribute towards the additional costs associated with a specific support plan for an individual service child who has a level of Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) which cannot reasonably be met within the expected resources of a school.
  • The previous SENA system defined Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) as solely being ‘Dyslexia’. The new sections have been updated so that SEND is defined in terms as used by other government departments such as the Department for Education.
  • School generated information is required to evidence the level of a child’s special needs. School staff have the experience and knowledge of individual children and should be the best source of detailed information, collected over time, as to an individual child.
  • State boarding schools already work within the existing SEND Code of Practice and therefore SEND provision within those schools is easily understood as well as it being inspected by Ofsted
  • Independent schools other than Independent Special Schools are not bound by the SEND Code of Practice but do work with the duties outlined by the 2010 Equality Act – which requires all schools to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ when working with a child with special educational and/or additional needs
  • The requirement within the January 17 JSP 752 (version 29) regulations is that all SENA applications will now use the revised application paperwork and include a detailed individualised support plan for the child, articulated by the school and clearly outlining what the school can provide and also what the school believes is beyond what is ‘reasonable’ to provide from their existing resources
  • The application process will therefore have a more transparent focus on any potential gap between what the independent school does provide and what they believe should be provided through additional funding.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If SENA is changing, will I have to re-apply now, although my eligibility is still valid for some time yet?

SENA has always been a time limited allowance and that will not change with the revised arrangements. As before it will be the case that each eligibility certificate will have an end date. The SENA application process can take between 4-12 weeks and that is the same whether it is a new application or a renewal application. Decisions on renewals are taken based on the evidence that is provided. There are times when the evidence provided by the school is not clear enough to make a decision and in those cases we may request that the school gives better detail – hence why it can take up to 12 weeks to reach a decision.

If you intend to apply for a renewal of SENA then it is best to do so 12 weeks before the expiry date on your current certificate. In the meantime it is also best to make sure that your child’s school is capturing the information that it should be doing routinely, i.e. the interventions that they are using and their rationale for what they are doing, the outcomes and progress of those interventions for your child.

 

My child has no history of SEND. Will I be able to apply for SENA as he has just started boarding school and they think they may have discovered he has a need?

SEN can and does emerge at different ages and can take many and varied forms. Not all SEND requires an allowance to support the child’s needs, since much SEN related support should be routine for good schools and good teachers to be delivering as part of their practice. Decisions as to whether or not a child’s SEN is complex enough to require additional funding can only be taken based on the quality of the information provided. That information includes information specific to your child but it also includes information on what the school is doing and what they think that they should be doing differently for your child. That kind of information takes time to generate as every child is different and schools may work in different ways.

If your child has just started boarding school then it will take time for that school to collate the information that they would like to present which has led them to believe that your child has SEND and that it is complex enough to require something that they do not routinely provide. In the meantime it would also be useful for you to obtain information from your child’s previous school as to what they understood as to how your child presented in that school. That would help us to be able to understand any potential future application for SENA.

 

Under the Equality Act 2010 schools should be making reasonable adjustments – what does this mean?

Reasonable adjustments are those steps that schools have a duty to take to avoid ‘substantial disadvantage’ for pupils with a disability. The term ‘disability’ itself is also one that needs explanation and there are many resources online which explain these terms in more detail for example here.

Many adjustments are about changes in practice rather than to do with provision of anything expensive. A simple example would be a pupil with a visual impairment, who may require information printed in a larger font and it is entirely reasonable for a teacher to print any hand outs in a way that the pupil can readily access. Differentiating the curriculum means that pupils in the same class may have information and teaching presented to them in slightly different ways within the same class and that would also be a reasonable adjustment. In the state sector a school is expected to provide additional services to pupils with SEND up to the first £6,000 of provision. While that same expectation is not applied to the independent sector, who can and do charge parents directly for various services, the SEND allowance decision process expects that a range of adjustments have already been made by the independent school before the parents are encouraged to apply for SENA.

 

Why is the SENA process changing?

The SEND system has evolved significantly over recent years. The level of skill and expectation for all teachers has risen and it is expected now that all teachers are teachers of children with SEND. The old system where by a child with SEND was removed from main stream classes to be taught separately, often in specialist units or special schools changed many years ago with the move towards better inclusion.

The 2017 update of the SENA process brings the allowance into a more current and evidence based system, where the allowance is available to support SEND on a case by case basis rather than it being tightly ring fenced to only one aspect of SEND. The change in the process will also allow a better body of information to be generated by school staff so that it includes information on the child themselves but also builds evidence of what additional support has been delivered and what works for that child.

 

Will the new process take longer for me to receive the payments?

The process of payments remains the same which requires you to have a current SENA eligibility certificate and to process your claims in the usual way. Decisions on eligibility will take between 4-12 weeks and will always been significantly quicker if the information from the school regarding your child’s needs and the plan for how they are providing for those needs or will provide for them in the future is presented with detail and clarity. The updated application form will help guide the schools in how they need to record and present information and CEAS is always available to guide you as parents in the questions and requests that you can be asking of the school.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Last updated on: 2nd December, 2019