You continually tell AFF of the challenges faced by your children and young people brought about by being part of an army family.

Issues with affordability and lack of suitable childcare for those with young children are common problems for many. We know that childcare has a huge impact on families and their ability to work and study. The lack of availability of childcare both for the early years age groups and for those with children at school is also a real issue.

AFF recognises that, even with the introduction of the MOD’s wraparound childcare scheme and the financial support this has given many families, it hasn’t been a solution for others.

Affordable childcare for those not eligible for other means of government support, being able to access childcare that meets your needs and that covers school holidays remain of key importance for parents and carers.

Even without childcare issues, many of you report that the application process for school places brings a degree of anxiety and that even when children are settled in a school, the next military move can already be seen looming on the horizon.

Frequent school moves and lack of choice over schools when moving house are ever present concerns and, for families with older children, issues surrounding exams and applying for college and university are regularly highlighted as times of worry and uncertainty.

So what does AFF do to help resolve these ongoing issues? We work closely with the departments within the MOD, Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding and Defence Children Services. We regularly feed into these teams the questions and issues raised by you to help build a picture of the real-life issues you experience.

We recognise that the school admissions process is challenging and have worked closely with the other families federations in asking for clear and easy-to-understand guidance for the School Admissions Code in England so that local authorities, admissions teams, schools and families understand the process when applying for and allocating school places to service children.

AFF works closely with the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP) which developed a Thriving Lives Toolkit for schools across the UK to use when working with service children to help ensure that the support given by the school matches the needs of those within it.

SCiP is now working on a project to deliver a toolkit which will cover a service child’s journey from birth through to age 25. AFF is delighted to be involved in the working groups for these expanded phases that will include early years children and those in higher education.

We know that more needs to be done to help lessen the impact of service life on children and young people and will continue to highlight to policy makers the importance of supporting the lives of the youngest members of our army community. 

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