Entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for your duty station ends when you’re posted, but what if you want to stay put for educational reasons? AFF Housing Specialist, Cat Calder, has the details…

There are some circumstances where you may be able to extend your current entitlement when your soldier is posted elsewhere; this is known as retention and must be applied for and granted before the new posting starts.

Retention will only be granted for up to 12 months so you shouldn’t consider it as a long-term option. You’ll be expected to move to the new duty station at the end of the retention period and will be entitled to delayed removals and Disturbance Expense as long as you still have more than six months left at the new duty station.

Major milestones

If your child is within one of the recognised critical stages of education, retention is allowed on the basis that it would be detrimental for your child to transfer their studies due to regional syllabus differences or continuous assessment work.

You must provide a letter from the school/college confirming that your child is completing a recognised critical stage of education and include start/end dates of the course and the impact of transferring. Retention for the specified stage of education will be possible up to the date of the final public examination but may be subject to successful reapplication after 12 months.

Learning location

If your child is doing an apprenticeship in England with a local offer which can’t be replicated at your new location, you must provide a letter from the current education/training provider confirming the circumstances.

Staying for SEND

Where your child is undergoing statutory assessment for special educational/additional needs at their current school, your quarter may be retained for two academic terms or until the end of the academic year as appropriate. It’s also possible if the local authority (or equivalent in the devolved administrations) has agreed to go forward with statutory assessment.

You’ll need to provide a letter from the school/local authority stating that your child is formally undergoing statutory assessment as well as a supporting education impact statement from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).

Surplus options

If you don’t meet the official retention criteria but want to stay so that a child can finish a school term or year, you may have the option to remain in your quarter on a surplus licence, depending on availability. Usually this means that you lose your entitlement to removals, however, for educational reasons the commanding officer can sign off a delay to removals for up to six months.

You should make your application to Amey’s Occupancy Services Team. Take a look at aff.org.uk for info or contact me at housingsupport@aff.org.uk

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