AFF’s Excellence for Forces Children (Service Pupil Premium) Award, sponsored by Sodexo, aims to highlight some of the best examples of how the extra money given to state schools in England with Service children is spent…

FROM this year’s 69 nominations, we received some fantastic ideas on how to spend the premium, which is mainly designed to provide pastoral support for children with a parent in the Armed Forces. Our judging panel included Adjutant General Lt Gen Gerry Berragan and David Fugurally, from the Department for Education.

The winner

Congratulations to our 2015 winner Carterton Primary School, based close to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire with 75 Service children.

The school’s Service Families’ Support Worker, Tess Broker, who is a military wife and mum, understands the issues Service children face. Tess provides welcome calls, letters, visits and packs for all families. Transition support includes three sessions out of the classroom using “My Passport” to help children settle in. When they move on, the sessions give leavers an opportunity to find out about their new school, create a memory booklet, talk through worries and update their passport to take with them.

Sharing worries

Tess also runs Keeping in Touch, a lunchtime club for children with a parent away from home. It’s a chance to write eBlueys or take part in craft activities and games. For younger children, the one-to-one focus is essential for extra emotional support.

Another lunchtime session, Time to Talk, allows pupils to have a one-to-one chat or quiet time away from the hustle of the school day.

Bears that care

Other initiatives included:

  • Brave the camo bear and Hero the RAF bear given to children who have a parent away so they can keep a diary of their adventures
  • Five hours of catch-up support per week – vital for new Service pupils who have missed parts of the curriculum
  • Membership of the HMS Heroes support group
  • Regular Service families coffee mornings
  • Taking part in Reading Force
  • Service families roadshow
  • Bespoke website information
  • Contributions to help cover the cost of residential trips  and equipment.

Be inspired

There are more great examples on the education pages of

If your child’s school is looking for ideas, show them this article and encourage them to go online for inspiration.

If you have concerns or comments about the Service Pupil Premium, contact me by email at


Under 10 Service pupils

Turlin Moor Community School, Poole

We loved their string bowls, each string representing family members.

10-20 Service pupils

Oakham Primary, Rutland

The Forces Friends Club, map wall display and parent meetings to discuss a beneficial support plan are great initiatives.

21+ Service pupils

Idsall Secondary Sports College, Shropshire

Special mention for the early intervention programme, a Service mentor, arrival and leaving programmes including Skyping friends, purchasing study guides, subsidised music lessons and up-to-date website information.

Register your child

You should let your school know that you are a Service family so that this can be noted on the January school census (or October for Northern Ireland) to enable your school to claim the Service Pupil Premium.

Great gallery

To view a selection of the images we received fduring the course of the AFF Excellence for Forces Children Award, visit Army&You on Facebook.

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