A SEMINAR focusing on the needs of Forces children and how they are supported at school is being hosted by Kingston University and Reading Force.

The event will see the University’s teacher training students hear from policy makers and education and military professionals about issues facing Forces children, how they can be supported as they transition between schools, how to reach and engage Forces parents and how to connect Forces children with their peers in school.

The seminar, organised by Kingston University publishing expert and founder and director of Reading Force Dr Alison Baverstock, will give guidance to trainee teachers. There are an estimated 130,000 children from Forces families in schools across the United Kingdom.

Current teacher training courses cover how to recognise a child at risk or spot those with learning difficulties, but the University and Reading Force are seeking the same focus for Forces children. They regularly move locations, change schools and experience a parent being away from home, sometimes for long periods.

Alison said: “We are really pleased Kingston University is providing this important opportunity to trial a contribution that we would like to see embedded nationally within teacher education programmes. Understanding the pressures of life in a Forces family will not only promote a broader understanding of their particular situation and needs within the education system, but also encourage empathy among staff, pupils and the wider community.”

Reading Force gives books and special scrapbooks to Forces families and encourages them to share books and chat about them, whether at home together or separated by deployment or training, using Skype or Facetime. Taking part in Reading Force has proved to give families continuity, helps to keep them close and communicate well.

The free event takes place from 1-4pm on Friday 22 March in the Lawley Lecture Theatre at the University’s Kingston Hill Campus. Places can be booked online.

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