Top
 

Service children Tag

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

 

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

 

RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire will be the first bases to offer the scheme, with service personnel based in Catterick and Plymouth able to access the pilot scheme from January 2021. We will update you with further details of the Plymouth pilot as soon as these become available.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Further guidance will be published shortly.

September 2021

Extension to Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot scheme – Plymouth

 

The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot scheme for the Plymouth area has been extended. Applications for eligible Service Personnel are now being accepted until 31 December 2021. This includes those whose Assignment Orders have report for duty dates between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021 and who meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Service Personnel should refer to the following DIN for further details on the offer, including eligibility criteria and how to take part: 2021DIN01-110.

November 2021

WAC pilot scheme – Expansion

The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot scheme has been expanded to include sites at Woolwich and Lincolnshire. The pilot expansion will include all Service personnel (regardless of Service) who are assigned to these areas between 01 September and 31 May 2022.
 
SP should refer to the below for further details on the offer, including eligibility criteria and how to take part:
  • 2021DIN01-135 – Woolwich
  • 2021DIN01-133 – Lincolnshire
 
At the NFF, we are extremely committed to championing the issue of childcare. Please be assured that we are continuing to advocate strongly on behalf of families about this issue to our key stakeholders.

Should you wish to tell us about your experiences in this area, please contact us.

Posted on: 7th July, 2020
Updated on: 5th November, 2021

 

Calling young people aged 11-18 with a parent in the Armed Forces

 

A study is being carried out at the University of Southampton to investigate how adolescents from Armed Forces families cope with stressful life events (both normal adolescent stressful events and events specific to Forces life). The results of this study could be used to provide recommendations for how best to support young people from Forces families during difficult times. We are particularly interested in encouraging effective practice in the use of Service Pupil Premium in schools, and there is currently a lack of evidence about what interventions are effective for young people and teenagers.

 

This online study is open to participants aged 11-18 who have a parent in the UK Armed Forces. Consent is needed from both the participants and their parent/guardian, which is given online. Participants are asked to complete some demographic questions and 3 questionnaires: one on stressful life experiences; one on resilience; and one on coping styles. The whole thing will take around 1 hour to complete. Participants will receive a £5 Amazon voucher to thank them for taking part in the study.

 

We would very much appreciate your support with this work, as without evidence it is very hard to encourage change. Thank you so much for sharing and participating!

 

Posted on: 28th February, 2019

Reading Force is a shared reading initiative for Service families. The charity provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, in order to support and encourage Armed Forces families with shared reading both at home or when separated.

 

Through this programme, participating families experience the following benefits:
• Maintaining good contact with a parent when they are away from home;
• Increased contact with extended family, especially grandparents;
• Improved communication within the whole family;
• More fathers get involved with their children’s reading;
• A sense of community and affirmed identity.

 

Please see this brochure to find out more about their causes, and use this link to sign up for your copy.

 

Posted on: 6th September, 2018
Updated on: 21st June, 2019

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 17th July, 2018

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) are part of the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) 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: 6th June, 2019

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families. It is funded by the Ministry of Defence. The Naval Families Federation has been a proactive partner since the Alliance’s inception and is represented on the Board.

 

The SCiP Alliance’s Mission is to champion the progression of the children of military personnel, so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers. It is working to establish and sustain an alliance of stakeholder organisations across the UK to develop a coherent strategy for the progression of Service children into thriving adult lives and careers. It is also developing an effective practice hub that will enable the continuous improvement of practitioners’ work with and for Service children’s education and progression in local contexts. The Alliance leads a research and knowledge exchange unit to drive improvements in understanding, evidence and impact focused on Service children’s outcomes.

 

You can find out more about the Alliance on its website here.

 

Posted on: 7th June, 2018

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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 Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) by email rc-dcs-hq-ceas@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.

 

Admissions in 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:

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.

 

Admissions in 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.

 

Admissions in 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.

The admissions code for England can be found here. The appeals code is here.

The admissions and appeals codes for Wales can be found here.

In Scotland, contact your local council to make an appeal. You can find out about the process here.

The appeals process for Northern Ireland is here.

 

Posted on: 2nd May 2018
Updated on: 24th September, 2021

Moving schools packs for parents and schools

These from CEAS 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. A form called a Pupil Information Profile had been developed to enable schools to pass on information, but in practice it is not always used. From September 2018, 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, is being updated. This will improve the information being transferred and help 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, and therefore likely to be more consistently used.

It 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.

 

Pupil Information Profile

The Pupil information profile (PIP) form is a transfer document which is consistent for all pupils in any school setting (regardless of location) to support specific aspects of a pupil’s background and learning.

It contains information that supports a young person’s future learning and parents are encouraged to bring this to the attention of their child’s school about using it as a helpful tool, when the child is about to move to another school. It is intended to support continuous learning by identifying the pupil’s current and future learning needs.

It can be downloaded here.

 

 

Posted on: 4th April, 2018
Updated on: 10th February, 2020

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