Alongside AFF, there are many organisations which have the best interests of service children at their core. We often collaborate with them to share your concerns and issues, working to improve the lives of service children, no matter what age. Here, AFF’S education & childcare specialist, Anna Hutchinson, highlights some of the fantastic organisations that are there for you…
If you’ve ever contacted the Children’s Education and Advisory Service (CEAS) you’ll know that they have a wealth of information on service children’s education.
Their staff offer professional advice, support and guidance and can help you with:
- Rights and responsibilities for parents and children
- Special educational needs and disability/additional needs
- School admissions and appeals
- Overseas education and educational clearance in non-MOD school locations
- Retention of SFA for educational purposes
- Continuity of Education Allowance.
In some areas, you may find that individual or groups of schools are able to fund specific support for military families. The Parent Support Service, for example, has been in place for The Wavell cluster of schools in Hampshire for more than ten years.
The team of two, Linda Parry and Kate Wakeford (pictured right), offer early intervention if you’re looking for support and advice around parenting strategies, behaviour management, debt, family relationships such as separation and/or deployment. Plus issues around education such as attendance, lateness, and supporting good mental health. They run the Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme) and Henry (Healthy Eating and Nutrition for the Young) and also
deliver workshops on problem solving, anxiety and friendships.
After taking part in one of the workshops, one military spouse says: “Our home has become calmer and a more positive environment to be in. The children have clear boundaries, we have strategies and both the children responded to them amazingly.”
Linda adds: “Every day is a new day, a new challenge, and we have to be flexible to meet family needs.
“During lockdown we’ve offered telephone and video support and we have one-to-one support in our new office, which offers safe distancing.”
The SCiP Alliance is a UK-wide organisation for all those working to help your children thrive through their education journeys, including AFF. Through its network, research, practical projects and events, hundreds of people from schools, colleges, universities, charities, local authorities and other partners collaborate to grow the scale and quality of support for service children. The Alliance, hosted by the University of Winchester and supported by the MOD, provides online resources for educators at scipalliance.org
SCOTLAND’S SILVER SERVICE
If you’re north of the border, RCET: Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity has a range of support services that can help forces children and young people to reach their full potential in education, with their wellbeing and wider life. Its Family Support Programme offers families a listening ear, advice and financial support, and its Youth Participation Programme supports young people to grow in confidence, develop their skills and have their say about decisions, policies and services that affect them – rcet.org.uk
THE BEST IN WALES
SSCE Cymru’s mission is to provide the best educational support to your children if you’re living in Wales. How? By gathering knowledge and evidence, producing resources, co-ordinating activities, and supporting policy and systems.
Its website provides information and resources for schools, education settings, local authorities and service families. Plus, it’s just appointed four regional school liaison officers – more on page 13.
FACING THE CHALLENGE
Charity Little Troopers recognises that growing up as a military child comes with its challenges – being regularly separated from a serving parent, and frequently moving home and school.
It provides resources to help your children during these times. Take a look at its free secondary school wellbeing course and resource pack, as well as ‘Little Troopers Letters’, a free writing pack to encourage your youngster to keep in touch with old friends.
BONDING THROUGH BOOKS
Regular Army&You readers will already be familiar with Reading Force, the fun, free way to strengthen bonds and improve communication through shared experiences of books. It can help in a variety of circumstances whether a family is at home together, has recently moved home and school, or is separated by deployment or training.
The charity has recently seen a massive increase in demand due to COVID-19 too, with many locked down families finding that Reading Force is a great way to stay connected. See page 64 for our book club reviews and find out more at readingforce.org.uk
TALK TO US
AFF’s education & childcare specialist, Anna Hutchinson, can help you with a wide range of issues and works with many different organisations, including policy makers, schools and local authorities, to highlight issues for your children and change things for the better. If you have a concern or question, check our education webpages at aff.org.uk or get in touch with Anna – firstname.lastname@example.org