Army&You highlights the excellent support that schools worldwide show our military children. This edition, we’re heading to Alexander First School in Windsor, which counts 82 of its 120 pupils as coming from Service families...
How does the school help Service children settle in?
We send all new families information before they arrive and arrange a welcome meeting with the head teacher, where we outline the nurturing ethos of the school. We find out how we can support their individual needs, either academically or with their emotional wellbeing. A class buddy is chosen to be a friend and guide while a new child settles. Class teachers are available each morning or at the end of the day to address any concerns.
What practical support do you give Service pupils?
We run a welcome group for new children, so they can settle quickly and feel part of the school. We also hold a Heroes Club specifically for Service children and they choose the club focus each week. When parents are deployed, we make sure we address any questions or worries a child might have. We work with Little Troopers to involve the children in a fun way to share worries or questions with their peers. We also have emotional literary support assistants to help children and a nurture class where a teacher works with small groups of children when there’s a need. We invite parents to have a sneaky peek on what and how children learn so that they feel confident at supporting children at home with their learning and encourage parents to attend our weekly awards assembly.
Are there any military links?
Unit welfare officers are very supportive. They often attend our school functions or judge our competitions. Chefs from the local barracks have worked with our children in preparation for their mini MasterChef competition. The school takes part in occasions such as Remembrance Day and we were invited to attend a ceremony at the barracks for Armistice Day. We also visited Combermere Barracks to explore the Household Cavalry Regiment’s (HCR) Museum. Both the HCR and Coldstream Guards have supported us in raising funds for the school.
Are there any special projects involving Service children?
We liaise with the charity Family Friends, which runs bespoke courses for children and the non-serving parent of Service families.
What do the kids think?
One pupil said: “I like school because everyone is kind to me.” Another added: “I love my school. I don’t want to leave.”
And the parents?
One parent explained that their four children had all loved the school, adding: “They have come on so well. All teachers have helped them settle. We are all very happy.”
Is your child’s school going that extra mile to support Service children? Would you like your school to feature in the future? Contact Army&You for details by emailing email@example.com