A POSTING to Scotland might mean an opportunity to get back to your roots or an adventure a long way from home but either way, Scotland has lots to offer Army families. Whether you are planning to soak up the culture of the capital, try dolphin spotting in the waters off Inverness or play on the beaches at Leuchars, you will be spoilt for choice of how to spend your free time.

However, there can be issues and that’s why this year AFF has made Scotland a focus.

We’ve been listening to those of you living in Scotland and getting a greater understanding of your life there.

We surveyed families across Scotland and held a roadshow in Kinloss for you to come and tell us about your lives. From Brexit and Scottish independence concerns to F&C and housing queries, your issues have been heard and fed back to our specialists, the chain of command and Scottish Government. To read more about the Scotland survey results, visit aff.org.uk

Education
Following the Roadshow, it was clear that education is a big concern, with access to school places, curriculum differences and the impact of the later starting age causing issues.

There are different term dates – the summer holidays tend to start at the end of June and end in the middle of August.

One family told AFF: “It has not been a problem for us moving to Scotland, but I am worried we will have a real problem with our next move because my son will have missed his first year of school.”

AFF is investigating and has taken all your concerns back to stakeholders to see if more support can be made available to Army families.

Lucy Scott, AFF’s Education & Childcare Specialist said: “There are more similarities than there are differences. Scottish schools and many organisations, such the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), are doing a lot of work around supporting Armed Forces children. There’s also a useful Education in Scotland booklet produced by the DCYP and a wealth of information at education.gov.scot.”

If you have any education concerns, contact Lucy at ec@aff.org.uk

Employment
Depending on where you live, employment opportunities vary. For families living in the Edinburgh or Glasgow areas, there are plenty of options. However, it can be trickier in the more rural areas and our survey and roadshow highlighted that finding suitable childcare is an issue for many.

There are lots of initiatives helping spouses find regular employment or supporting you to start your own business.

For example, Recruit for Spouses launched operations in Scotland last year to help you find jobs which match your skills and aspirations. They have already had some considerable success, so if you’d like some support, visit recruitforspouses.co.uk

The Supporting the Unsung Hero Business Start-Up Programme, developed specifically for Armed Forces families, has also recently run a successful course in Scotland.

Taking action
AFF regularly works with the Scottish Government. We sit at the Scottish cross-party parliamentary group for the Armed Forces community and present to the members issues that families can face whilst serving in Scotland. We also have a six-monthly meeting with the Scottish policy department, which is keen to hear your issues and look at policies that may affect serving families.

Whether you’re in Scotland for a brief time or staying a while there is much to explore and enjoy. If you do have any problems there is always someone on hand to help you, whether it’s the welfare team or the AFF Scotland Co-ordinator via aff.org.uk

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