Army&You highlights the excellent support that schools worldwide show our military children. This edition, we’re heading to Lancashire to visit Weeton Primary School, which counts 121 Service children among its 160 pupils...
How does the school help Service children settle in?
New children immediately become part of our Weeton family. We have a special ‘friendship ring’ that is lit in assembly to welcome new arrivals and settling in messages are given by existing pupils. Buddies are also in place to help new arrivals settle in and there’s an excellent pastoral team that helps with this transition process.
What practical support do you give Service pupils?
We have a dedicated family learning mentor in place who works within our rainbow room and offers support, both emotionally and academically, to our pupils.
Are there any military links?
Our local unit welfare officer, along with some of our military parents, are active members of our governing body and some of the teaching and welfare staff are also from military families. We have close links with the regiment based in Weeton, currently 2 LANCS. When the school closed for emergency repairs, the regiment helped us move the school into their training wing for a short time. Each Christmas the children are invited into the soldiers’ cookhouse for Christmas lunch.
Are there any special projects involving Service children?
The school celebrates Armed Forces Week, which involves inviting parents in to partake in activities alongside their children, and we hold a Red, White and Blue Day to raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The children also took part in Preston Remembers, a project commemorating the First World War.
What do the kids say?
One new pupil in year five said: “On my first day they lit the friendship ring for me in assembly. I was a bit nervous but I thought it was really nice. Everyone here is really kind and I get lots of help. The teachers really support you and the children get along well.”
A year one youngster added: “Most of the children in my class have daddies or mummies in the Army and some of them come from different countries like Fiji. Lots of my friends move house but we always say goodbye to them at school.”
And the parents?
One family told us: “The school is doing a fantastic job for Army families here. As a family we could not be happier that our children have started their school journey at Weeton.”