Information for Professionals working with Service Families
Service Children will join a school bringing with them a wide range of strengths and needs but, in many cases, will have, in addition, a variety of educational and personal experiences to provide an exciting and different dynamic. They may also have had or be going through experiences of a more stressful nature.
The specific implications of providing for Service children and working with their families relate essentially to the issues of Mobility and Deployment.
The Department for Education published a Good Practice Guidance document to aid schools in securing progress of children from armed forces families. It includes:
Facilitating admission arrangements
Securing transfer of assessment information and records between schools
Ensuring continuity of provision for children with SEN
Maintaining continuity in curriculum and learning
Supporting the social and emotional well being of the children
Facilitating effective communication with the Armed Forces
Maximising the use of available resources
What is Service Pupil Premium?
State schools, academies and free schools in England, which have children of service personnel in reception to Year 11, can receive a Service Pupil Premium (SPP). It is essentially funding designed to assist the school to provide mainly non-educational support (known as pastoral care) to the children. The SPP is currently £300 per child of service personnel, paid directly to the school.
How schools can claim
Schools will only be able to claim the SPP if the parents of those eligible children declare their child’s service status to their school head teacher, before the annual school census which takes place annually - normally around mid-January each year.
The SPP helps schools to support the unique challenges children with parents in the armed forces can often face.
What the schools can use the SPP for
The SPP has been put to good use in many schools across England. For example, South Farnborough Infant School in Hampshire has used the funding to purchase books for their library which have been written by parents who had previously been deployed. The school is also setting up a ‘nurture’ room where children of service personnel can meet other such children to talk through their experiences or concerns, with a member of staff known as a ‘smile’ mentor. The mentor will help the children express their feelings.
There are examples of how the funding has been used in many schools.
Reading Force are passionate about using books to bring Service children and families closer together. Their shared reading initiative encourages families to read, talk, and scrapbook about a book, improving communication and enriching relationships with books and each other - one page at a time