Education and childcare

Information for families during the coronavirus outbreak

This page provides general education advice.
Please see our Allowances page if you are looking for information on the following:

  • Info about quarantine impact on boarding schools
  • CEA temporary arrangements update
  • CEA Special Educational Needs Allowance (SENA)
  • CEA & Summer Term bills
  • School Children’s Visits
  • New MOD guidance on CEA regulations


01   USA assignments and education

British Defence Staff United States (BDSUS) and the Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) have produced new guidance for those preparing for a posting to the USA, which looks at the issues surrounding children’s education as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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02   Education Support Fund and COVID-19

The Education Support Fund (ESF) opened in June for applications from publicly funded schools, academies and free schools in the UK to mitigate the effects on Service children whose parents are frequently on the move or deployed.

In recognition of the effect of COVID-19 and the freeze on assignments, the Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP), which manages the ESF on behalf of the MOD, has acknowledged that many schools and local authorities will find it hard to submit the same amount of evidence demonstrating their levels of movement or deployment as in previous years.

DCYP wants to ensure that schools do not lose out on vital funding, so it has made some changes to the application form and now asks for bank details at the time of application. This is to ensure that the £3 million available from the 2021 ESF can be allocated before the end of the current financial year.

Service families are encouraged to let their children’s schools know that they can now apply. Further details, including the application packs, are available now at

The closing date for applications is midday on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Applications from England, Scotland and Wales should be forwarded to

Applications from Northern Ireland should be forwarded to

The ESF is not to be confused with the Service Pupil Premium.

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03   Overseas Educational Clearances during the Summer break - MOD Assessment of Supportability Overseas

All parents of children aged between 0-18 years of age need to obtain educational clearance for their children before proceeding with a move overseas.  Prior to the posting the needs of the child will be assessed to ensure that the educational needs can be met.  This process is part of the MOD’s Assessment of Supportability (MASO).

Despite COVID-19, to apply for educational clearance, the usual requirements remain in place. This includes your child’s current provision completing the Education Overseas Supportability (EOS) Form.  However, due to UK schools being closed during the summer holidays, this process may be delayed.  In some cases, educational clearance will only be issued once all the relevant information has been gathered. When the needs of the child are more complex then a panel may be required to meet and discuss the suitability of supporting that child overseas. The DCYP have asked it to be noted that it is unlikely that these boards will reconvene until the Autumn term.

For guidance on obtaining educational clearances please see the government webpage.

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04   Deadline to deliver 1,140 hours’ free childcare in Scotland postponed

Local authorities in Scotland will no longer have to deliver 1,140 hours of free childcare from August 2020. The current offer of 600 hours a year will remain in place for the time being.

This is to allow local authorities to focus on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new timeline for delivering the extra childcare will be announced in due course.

For more information, click here.

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05   Support for families in Wales

Supporting Service Children in Education Wales (SSCE Cymru) has provided advice for Service families in Wales.

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06   Impact of assignment freeze on school places

DCYP has provided answers to some of the commonly asked questions regarding COVID-19.

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07   Overseas educational clearance

CEAS are continuing to work remotely with reduced staff numbers. Therefore, processing educational clearances for overseas postings will be taking longer than usual.

Gaining information via the Educational Overseas Supportability (EOS) Form may prove more difficult with the UK school closures. However, where possible, CEAS will continue to process educational clearances for postings to non-MOD School areas and MOD Schools will continue for children registering to their schools, as best they can. Any children with additional needs, who may require further decisions on supportability to be made, will also take longer than the usual.

CEAS will continue to support Service personnel and their families during this time.

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08   Contacting CEAS

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) team are working remotely due to COVID-19. If you need to contact them regarding any issues related to your child’s education (e.g. CEA, school admissions, advice regarding your child’s Special Educational Needs and Disability/additional needs, overseas education, or retaining SFA for educational reasons), please email:

Please do not ring or post documents to their office, as there is no-one in the office to respond. However, the general email is checked several times a day. For more information, see their website.

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