Earlier this year, we asked you to nominate your child’s school for a special award to highlight the ways that schools with military pupils support our young people through Service Premium funding. We had lots of nominations and our independent judging panel divided the entries into three categories depending on how many military children they had. From these three class winners, we chose one overall victor. Lucy Scott, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist, reveals the winners and some of the praise in the nominations…
Winner – Watchfield Primary School
“The school has used its Service Pupil Premium to excellent effect. Military children are given tailored support through a Learning Mentor programme, as well as homework support groups. The Premium also allows for increased pastoral support, funding after-school clubs, including for children whose parents are deployed, Additional Needs support for newly-arrived military children and help for children moving from foundation stage to year one.”
Runner-up – Solent Infant School
“The school runs a weekly ‘around the world’ assembly where pupils share news about members of family overseas. It makes them feel special and this information is transferred onto a world map in the school reception. They invested some of the Service Premium in football coaching to help pupils who needed male role models whilst their fathers were deployed. Solent Infant School made a tough time a lot easier.”
Runner-up – Wyndham Park Infants School
“My children are young and the thought of dad going away was very upsetting for them. I wrote to my children’s school and they invited us in for a chat. They discussed various things including the money they receive for Service children and how they spend it. This was just the beginning of the support they gave. My children had at least a weekly meeting with a teacher to discuss things, as well as emailing my husband updates and compiling talking photo books.”
The Service Premium
The Service Premium helps schools in England to provide additional support to Service children. Service parents with children in state-funded schools in England should ensure that their child’s head teacher is made aware of their Service status for the Spring School Census, which will be conducted on 16 January 2014. For more information or to download a booklet, visit www.gov.uk and search for Service Pupil Premium.
The AFF Excellence for Forces Children Award was kindly sponsored by Sodexo who has donated £500 for a fantastic cookery master class for the pupils of the winning school, Watchfield Primary, to enjoy.
Other Great Ideas
From all the nominations we received, there were some inspiring initiatives to spend the Service Premium which you can encourage your school to adopt, including:
- Recordable diaries to use when a parent is deployed or to assist in the transition to new schools;
- A “Circle of Friends” which helps support children’s transition into the school community;
- An after-school book club to help those Service pupils who have fallen behind in reading due to moving schools;
- Forces teddy bear mascots to develop diary writing and communication;
- A strong support network for children who have a parent deploying;
- Accurate assessments which pinpoint the next steps in a child’s learning;
- An “Army Group” to help children talk about how they feel during their parent’s deployment, making them realise their feelings are normal;
- Assemblies to tell other children and teachers about their experiences growing up in a military family;
- A “Military Mates” club to help children interact with each other and cope with the feelings they are having;
- A “progress tracking” computer programme so teachers can quickly assess a child’s development in order to inform the next school accurately and cut down on repetition;
- Online portfolios, useful for working or deployed parents as all work can be viewed via the internet;
- An e-Bluey club.