Army families have been giving us their views on the impact moving between devolved areas has had on their children. Here’s what they had to say…


Scotland to Northern Ireland

Mum Rose, and daughters Keziah (P4) and Tamara (P3)

Biggest worry
The age that children start school.

The reality
Keziah was put in P2 because of her birthday, therefore missing P1. She had never done phonics which her peers were already doing. I raised the issue and it was only when I proposed moving schools that the teachers took it seriously.

Now, Keziah has more friends, is more confident and has caught up.

Tamara was two weeks shy of starting P1 however, I was confident that she could handle it instead of another year in nursery. The principal was really supportive.

My top tip
You know your child – you know if they can handle it or not. I would rather move them one class down – there’s no point a child struggling to catch up.


Wales to Scotland

Mum Joanne and son Stanton (P5)

Biggest worry
Moving my son into a school miles from home with no other military children.

The reality
The move from St Athan to Edinburgh was complex. I knew the school wasn’t right for him, so I visited four others and explained – at times emotionally – and three of them offered Stanton a place. His new school let him start the next day and even provided a temporary uniform. He was the only military child and they made a fuss of him, so he integrated really well.

My top tip
We often accept what is thrown at us, but when it affects our children we become more protective. Moving him was the right decision.


Scotland to England

Mum Nicola and children Tom (year ten), Harry (year seven) and Rebekah (reception)

Biggest worry
Moving during GSCE years.

The reality
Scotland has different exams and Tom was about to start his final year. No state school in England would put him back a year and he would need to catch up in his own time, so both boys ended up at boarding school. The pastoral support was excellent.

Rebekah didn’t get a reception place until six weeks into the term, so she went to a private nursery where she was the eldest. She took a while to settle.

My top tip
Do your research, especially around GCSE and A-level years as the curriculum is very different. Get as much help as you can and find out if your child is entitled to any support.


England to Scotland to Northern Ireland

Mum Anna and children Imogen (P5), Erin (P3) and George (P2)

Biggest worry
Both schools in NI were much bigger.

The reality
It helped that Imogen joined at the start of the school year and, as the three classes in the year group change each year, it meant that new friendships were made – an unanticipated advantage of a large school.

It’s turned out to have lots of positives. There are classroom assistants to help out and I feel there are more opportunities. There is a big emphasis from P5 onwards on the AQE (11+) too.

My top tip
There was lots of info and support as it was a unit move, but if you’re moving individually, contact the school, HIVE or  the AWS CESO (RC-AWS-N-Lisburn-CESO@mod.uk)


Germany to Scotland to England

Mum Jennie, dad James and son Joshua

Biggest worry
The starting date for primary school.

The reality
Joshua went from FS2 in Germany (reception) back to nursery in Scotland. He wasn’t unhappy but he was bored and not being challenged. Many of his friends who were only a few weeks older were able to go to school. When our move to England was put back, we applied to move early to get Joshua into school. It meant that he had seven weeks in reception to make friends and get ready to move to year one.

My top tip
The education system in Scotland is very different. Do your research and ask for help.

More help

IF YOU are moving from a devolved region with school-aged children, take a look at our handy education comparison table on the AFF website (aff.org.uk) to see clearly which school year your child will be in, or contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) on 01980 618244.

Don’t forget to ask your school if they can use the Pupil Information Profile to help ease your transition; this has been created specifically for Service children moving schools.

If you have any queries email Lucy at ec@aff.org.uk

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