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Service children Tag

 

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

*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

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

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

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

Are your dependent children declared on JPA? Declaring dependent Service Children on JPA can enable appropriate allowances to be obtained, enable paternity and adoption leave requests and can have an influence on allocation of service housing and potential assignments.

In order to complete the registration process, Service Personnel should provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate to unit HR who will complete the JPA process in accordance with BPG IN914005.

Contact: DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk

 

Posted on: 27th March, 2017

What impact does Service life have on children’s education?

Have you ever wondered whether your Service, or that of a serving parent, has affected your children’s educational achievement? At the Naval Families Federation, we’ve been asking these questions of the Department for Education. They have responded by providing information on education statistics for England specifically on UK Armed Forces Personnel’s children, which you can find on the ‘Official Statistics’ part of the Gov.uk website. The bulletin compares Service children to non-Service children (in comparable socioeconomic circumstances). A summary of the key findings is below:

  • In each year between 2012/13 and 2014/15 there’s been little difference between the attainment of service children and non-service children at Key Stage 2 (2014/15: 82.3% and 82.9% respectively) and Key Stage 4 (2014/15: 64.9% and 63.0% respectively).
  • In 2014/15 Service children were more likely to attend more than one school, compared to non-Service children, at both primary (65.8% and 37.4% respectively) and secondary (29.8% and 18.5% respectively). This is most likely due to the requirement for Service personnel to be mobile, as an assignment to a new role could require a locational move, resulting in their children having to move schools.
  • For Service children attending one school, the attainment at Key Stage 2 and 4 was the same or higher than for non-Service children.
  • For Service children who attended more than one school, at both primary and secondary (Key Stage 2 and 4), the percentage achieving the acceptable level fell. However, they performed better than non-Service children who attended more than one school.
  • The same percentage of Service children and non-Service children attended outstanding and good OFSTED rated schools (80.1% and 80.2% respectively) in 2014/15. However fewer Service children attended outstanding schools (17.6% and 21.5% respectively).

The good news is that Service children appear to be achieving at least as well as their peers, if not better in some cases. Clearly we don’t know how well they might have achieved if they were not from a Service background, but these statistics do seem encouraging. Where children appear to be at the most disadvantage is around frequent and repeated mobility, which seems to have a negative impact on attainment. Transitions between schools need to be carefully managed to mitigate this situation.

The DfE have told us that they now hope to be able to produce regular annual statistics about the education of Service children.

As always, we welcome your thoughts on this subject, including feedback from families outside of England whose experiences are not captured by the DfE’s statistics.

Posted on: 9th March, 2017