Before you take up an overseas posting, you must get educational clearance for your children to ensure they can be supported in your new location. It’s normally straightforward, but if your child has any additional needs or disabilities, it can be more complex…
IF YOUR child has already been identified as having Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) you must register with the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) who will be able to offer you advice and guidance.
When applying to an MOD school overseas, contact the school directly to begin the educational clearance process. When applying to a non-MOD school, contact CEAS who will guide you through the process. It’s best to start this process as soon as possible as it can take up to nine weeks.
If your child currently has an Educational Health Care Plan or equivalent, this will not be reviewed or remain current whilst you’re overseas.
The truth matters
It’s important to be open and honest during supportability checks, as the commanding officer of the European Joint Support Unit (EJSU) highlights: “No one is trying to stop people been posted overseas, we just need to confirm that we can support you once you’re there.”
If your child’s needs can’t be met, you’ll be advised not to proceed with the overseas assignment.
What Support could be available?
Provision varies dependent on location, but every MOD school has its own SEND offer.
MOD schools are supported by DCYP SEND services, which include educational psychologists, special advisory teachers and nurse advisors. Anna Vrahimi, DCYP assistant head SEND services leads SEND across the schools and said: “Each school has its own SEND offer and it’s important for parents to understand what each geographical area has available.
“Our team of professionals supports children, families and schools across of range of SEND needs.”
What if your child is assessed with SEND during an overseas posting?
AFF has had some great feedback from families about the MOD schools’ system. Dee, whose daughter was diagnosed with autism in EJSU, said: “After our MOD school identified an issue, we now have a management plan in place and we’re receiving support.”
However, we’re also aware of a few families who have been assessed as ‘non-supportable’ following a SEND assessment, resulting in them being short-toured and returned to the UK.
The key thing to remember is that every overseas location is different, and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.