Army&You highlights the excellent support that schools worldwide show our military children. This edition, we’re heading to Rutland...

How does the school help Service children settle in?
Pupils benefit from our commitment to small class sizes and many of our staff have a Service background, so they can understand the needs of our military pupils. Every class has a team ethos with a shared class name, such as ‘The Wise Owls’, which helps foster the feeling of joining our school family. On arrival, new pupils are given a ‘buddy’ and our open-door policy means parents are encouraged to meet with teachers to help their child to settle in quickly and smoothly.

What practical support do you give Service pupils?
We have worked hard to create a welcoming, close-knit environment for local families and new arrivals. We offer opportunities such as wraparound care and a multitude of after-school clubs including Military Kids Club Heroes (see page 35 of autumn 2018’s issue). We have our own pre-school, run family-based sessions such as parent and toddler swimming in our pool and we ensure that key assemblies fall around deployments or in afternoons when the barracks finish early. When parents are on deployment, we run coffee afternoons so families can chat while the children play.

Are there any military links?
We enjoy close working links with all the regiments based at the barracks. With their help, we run red, white and blue days to promote the work of our Armed Forces and raise money for Service charities. We also make use of facilities at the barracks such as its swimming pool.

Are there any special projects involving Service children?
Many of our parents are currently on deployment in Kenya, so we follow their mascot, Medals the 2Med bear, on Facebook to keep in touch with them whilst they are away. The children use Edith, the Edith Weston bear, to communicate with Medals whilst on deployment, asking questions about the area, the weather and checking what their parents are up to. It’s a popular way to stay in touch!

What do the kids think?
Grace said: “We have lots of opportunities such as spotlight dance and I’ve had the chance to perform in front of 200 people.” Izabelle added: “I like school because the teachers help you to learn.”

And the parents?
“I have three children at Edith Weston, two of whom struggle with moving. This is their third school in a year, but Edith Weston Academy has definitely given them the nurture that they needed to settle and be happy.”

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