Many of you approach AFF to ask whether you’re entitled to support for your children. Sometimes the answers are straightforward, but not always, particularly if your circumstances are a little more complex. Here, our Education & Childcare Specialist, Anna Hutchinson, looks at some recent queries…
I’m a single parent in the army. My childcare costs are really expensive and I wondered if any financial assistance is available?
Yes, we encourage all families to look at the government’s Childcare Choices website – as this can quickly tell you what support may be available based on personal circumstances and the area you live in. The site gives information on tax-free childcare, free childcare hours, Universal Credit for childcare and more. Some of you may also be eligible for the MOD’s new Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme.
I’m leaving the army next year and my children are already anxious about schooling. Is there any funding that their new school can access to help them as we leave the army?
As long as the children were registered as service children after 2016 and have previously had access to the Service Pupil Premium (SPP), then the school can claim for six years after leaving the military or until they finish Year 11, whichever is sooner. This is known as the Ever 6 service child measure – more at gov.uk. The SPP is available in England only, but each part of the UK has its own arrangements in place to support service children.
We are due to go overseas to an area without an MOD school or nursery. What childcare funding is available?
Depending on your children’s age, you may be eligible for the Overseas Nursery Authority, where you can claim back the equivalent nursery hours that you would have been entitled to if you were based in England. There is currently no option to access the WAC scheme so any after-school care would need to be funded privately.
My partner serves away during the week but is home at weekends. I work 25 hours a week and my children are both at primary school. Do we qualify for WAC?
Where the serving person lives away during the week but returns home at weekends they are simply classed as ‘separated for service reasons’ and they will meet the required eligibility. Families where the relationship has broken down and the service person lives at an alternative address would not be eligible. It’s best to check the WAC DIN for qualifying details and how to claim.
I live with my partner who is currently serving and my child from a previous relationship lives with us. We also have one child together who has just started school, are they both classed as service children?
When the child is living with the serving person it’s likely that they would qualify. Your partner would also need to have parental responsibility for the child as well as meeting the conditions of PStat Cat 2 (see page 19). The school should be able to claim SPP – full details at gov.uk.
These are just a sample of the types of enquiries we regularly receive. If you have a question about any aspect of education or childcare, contact email@example.com