If you’re moving back to the UK and looking to secure a school place for your child, there’s lots of research you can do in advance. Lucy Scott, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist, looks at where to start…
ONCE you know where you’re posted, start with the gov.uk website as it covers all types of schools in England and has links to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you’re moving to London, you can use the eAdmissions website, which can be found at www.eadmissions.org.uk
Have a look at how a school has spent its Service Premium, the facilities and what outside space is available, their recent newsletters and Ofsted reports.
The Schools Admissions Code could help you in your application. Details specifically for Service families are available on the gov.uk website – paragraph 2.18 might be useful to quote from. For more information and help with infant class sizes, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you begin the application process, remember to keep a copy of everything and ask to be notified by both email and post to save documents being lost if you are moving.
Different authorities allocate places at different times which can be confusing.
Here at AFF, we are monitoring this so if it has been a problem for you, please let me know.
Although you can use your unit address if you don’t yet have a residential address when applying for a school place, there are some difficulties with this. It may not be suitable if your quartering address is in a different local authority to the unit, for example in London.
AFF is campaigning for this disadvantage to be removed.
Visit our website at www.aff.org.uk for further details.
KEY STAGE EXAMS
If you have a child studying for public exams, it may be possible to stay in Germany until their exam period is complete.
Contact your Unit Welfare Officer to apply for retention of dependant status.
You’ll also need to request to retain school places. Contact SO3 G1(PS), HQ BFG on 05219254 ext 2500, for details.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
If your child has any additional needs make sure the information is kept up-to-date through your soldier’s unit on AGAI 108.
It’s essential to register your child with Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) as they can work on your behalf with schools and external agencies to help to ensure that your child’s needs are met.
HELP IS AT HAND
Contact CEAS if you have any problems with your school application.
They will endeavour to represent you at an appeal hearing if you live abroad and provide a “Moving Schools Pack”, which is available from all HIVEs.
The Parent Partnership Service in BFG also answers enquiries on educational issues including SEN, school applications/moving to the UK.
Call 0521 9254 2683 or visit the website at www.bfgnet.de
KEEPING THE SCHOOL INFORMED
Don’t forget to inform your child’s current school that they will be leaving.
This gives the school time to prepare a transfer folder for you to take with you.
If your child is boarding, call CEAS to explain you are moving and request a new certificate to say you are entitled to claim Continuity of Education Allowance.
Contact the headteacher of your child’s school
CEAS – call 0044 (0)1980 618 244 or email email@example.com
HIVE Europe – visit www.hive-europe.co.uk
SCE – email firstname.lastname@example.org
OFSTED – www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports
If you are facing disadvantage applying for a school place, contact me at email@example.com or call 07527 492869.