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Service personnel will be able to apply for enhanced flexible working opportunities after the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill became law on 08 February 2018.

 

Surveys have found that Service personnel want more choice over the way they work when their personal circumstances change, such as having, or looking after children, needing to care for elderly relatives, or taking on further training or education.

 

We know that Naval Service personnel have consistently reported the impact of service on family and personal life as the most important factor that might influence them to leave. Importantly, this new policy will allow personnel to be able to restrict the amount of time they spend away from their home base and their families.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This change will make it significantly easier for our dedicated Armed Forces to raise their children, care for elderly relatives, or look after an ill family member. This will ensure we are able to retain and recruit the brightest and the best from all backgrounds to keep Britain safe.”

 

The flexible working measures are designed so that they won’t impact the military’s ability to deliver its core tasks of defending the country. Applications for part-time service and restricted separation will be assessed against the need of the Armed Forces and personnel would be required to deploy on operations should the need arise, such as in cases of national emergency.

 

The plans will come into effect on 1st April 2019 for Naval Service personnel.

 

Here is a guide which explains in more detail what Flexible Working for the Armed Forces will look like, the different options available and how you can apply.

 

Here is a video produced by the MOD introducing this measure.

 

EDIT: Please click here for a digital booklet ‘Flexible Working and You’  produced by the MOD for further information.

 

Posted on: 15th February, 2018
Updated on: 28th January, 2021

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

Families often talk to us about their experiences of parental absence, whether through deployment, weekending, or other causes. In response to their feedback, and in consultation with YoungMinds, we have produced a resource to help to support parents, carers and schools. You can download a copy here.

 

Other sources of support for parents and children during deployment:

Aggie’s Storybook Waves

Helps members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines maintain the link with their children by recording a bedtime story for them to listen to when a parent is serving away from home. Click here to find out more.

 

Gingerbread

Expert advice, practical support and campaigning for single parents.

Helpline: 0808 802 0925

For their website, please click here.

 

Little Troopers

A registered charity supporting all children with parents serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. Resources, initiatives and events to ease and aid repeated separation periods aiming to keep parent and child connected and bonded even when miles apart. Click here to find out more.

 

Naval Children’s Charity

The Naval Children’s Charity is the only charity dedicated to supporting the children, up to the age of 25, of serving and veteran personnel from all branches of the Royal Navy including the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS, Reserves and RFA.  Any need is considered and their dedicated caseworkers are always available to discuss any issues your family and children are facing. They provide grants directly to the families where there is need and have free books to support younger children understand and cope with separation. They work closely with other Charities and RN FPS to ensure you get the help you need.

 

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

Support and information for serving people, their families and friends.

Tel: +44(0)2392 728777

 

YoungMinds

UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Helpline and information for parents concerned about a child or young person.

Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 or email parents@youngminds.org.uk.

Find out more here.

Family Lives (formerly Parentline Plus)

Advice and support for parents.

24 hour helpline: 0808 800 2222

Please click here to find out more.

 

 

Huggable Heroes

Personalised Huggable Heroes, perfect for cuddles when loved ones are not at home. Click here to find out more.

 

Military Kids’ Club Heroes (formerly HMS Heroes)

A national support group for the children of Service men and women and their relatives. A tri-Service network of after-school clubs, MKC Heroes brings together members of Service families aged between 3 and 18 years old from all over the country. Click here to find out more.

 

Reading Force

Reading Force provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, to support and encourage Service families with shared reading both at home or when separated by assignment orders. To read more about this programme, click here. You can apply to receive free resources here.

 

NSPCC

Charity championing child protection. Useful resources and guidance for keeping children safe, to give the primary caregiver during deployment confidence in their choices. Their ‘Home Alone’ guide gives sound advice and useful tips to help parents decide in which situations they may leave their children home alone, and what they need to do to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Their ‘Out Alone’ guide provides advice and practical tips to parents on judging if a child is ready to be out on their own and how to prepare them for different situations such as walking to and from school by themselves, attending sports or holiday clubs, or going out to play with friends.

Click here and search ‘home alone’ or ‘out alone’ to download free copies.

Posted on: 21st October, 2016
Updated on: 24th March, 2021

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

The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) is a tri-Service group for current Serving families or individuals who have a child or adult dependent with an additional need and/or disability.

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS) Information Office

Your local RN 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: rc-dcs-hq-ceas@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: rc-dcs-hq-ceas@mod.gov.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: 17th September, 2021