We have recently married and moved into our first Army quarter and I have not been able to get a primary school place for my son, who is five. We were offered a school which was too far away and although the council said they would provide transport, I would not put my vulnerable five-year-old on a bus everyday by himself. With my three-year-old in pre-school nearby I cannot take him myself, as I can’t be at two different schools miles apart at the same time.

At the moment, I am teaching him at home to the best of my ability so that he does not fall behind. He’s very emotional and sensitive lad and every day that he is off school could have a long lasting effect on him. I should be trying to find work, but with one child still at home it’s not possible. I have been in contact with all the local schools, the council and our Army Welfare team, but nobody can give me information on when a place will become available. I am at my wits end!

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Response from Lucy Scott, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist: The Armed Forces Covenant and the School Admissions Codes 2012 have been designed in part to help families in this situation. The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) has parent support officers who help with appeals. Email enquiries@ceas.uk.com or call 01980 618244.

Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) booklets on admissions and appeals are available to at www.ace-ed.org.uk

The Schools Admissions Code 2012 and School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 are available at www.education.gov.uk. This code specifically mentions children of Service personnel who move into an area on posting and need a school place. It is important to note that local authorities do not have to treat all Service children in key stage 1 as ‘excepted pupils’ as there may be a number of children in the same position. 

AFF will continue to highlight this issue to policy makers and the Government. Please contact me if you require any further information on getting your children into school – ec@aff.org.uk

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