Does your child’s school go that extra mile to support service children? With schools all currently closed at the time the summer Army&You went to print, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the best practice initiatives that have supported your service children. This edition, we head to schools in Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire…

The Chetwynd Barracks homework club near Nottingham was set up to help bridge the attainment gap between service children and their peers at one of the local schools, Chetwynd Primary Academy. One of the governors who helped to identify the need was Vicki Fuery, who was brought up in a military family and is now a military parent.

“The aim was to help parents struggling to do homework with their children due to a variety of reasons, but often because of lone parenting with spouses away,” explains Vicki.

“For the first meeting, two teachers came along to the base to speak to the organisers, volunteers and interested parents about how to run the after-school club and support the key areas – reading, writing, maths etc.”

Happy times

Now successfully up and running, parents and volunteers support the children at the club to do homework and extra activities designed to encourage a love of the core subjects; they also have topic days and special activities such as art and baking. “We find that many of the children work more enthusiastically for other adults and enjoy spending time with other army children – and we also have biscuits and drinks,” says Vicki.

Tina Mason says her girls Olivia (7) and Lillie (4) love coming to homework club: “There is a vast choice of resources for all the children which cover all subjects and topics.

“I feel it definitely has an impact on their learning.”

Mum Vikki Love agrees: “It has helped me learn new ways of helping Hanna with number bonds and phonics.

“She can interact with her friends whilst completing her homework in a relaxed, friendly and fun atmosphere.”

The club is managed by Jackie Ross with support from AWS community development worker Karen Deakes, volunteers and parents. “Jackie is the heart and soul of the club and without her it would not be the success it is,” adds Vicki.

“We feel passionately about finding ways to support army children and the homework club is proving to be a real success; we’d love to see this idea roll out across other camps. If the club only achieves an hour’s peace for a single parent or helps one child a little further along their educational journey, then it’s worth it.”

If your school is great at supporting service children, tell us about it. Email ec@aff.org.uk

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