Grants improve early childhood education for Service children

The Armed Forces Families Fund: Early Years programme has awarded 21 grants to support childcare provision for Service children, from babies through to pre-school age. These grants aim to transform educational spaces, expand the number of spaces available, improve staff training and increase Special Educational Needs (SEN) support, amongst other things.

Increasing accessibility to early years

The Peter Pan Pre-school in Pirbright has been awarded a grant for its sustainability project which will enable the recruitment of two full-time staff members. In turn, this will allow more spaces to open up for Service children.

Sandy Bracken, Pre-school Manager, said: “Peter Pan Pre-school is of vital support to military families living and working in Pirbright. This funding will assist us in continuing to recruit high-calibre early years practitioners to educate and inspire military children through their formative years.”  

Improving Special Educational Needs capabilities

‘A place for everyone’ is a project which seeks to improve SEN at the Sandhurst Station Nursery. The funding received will enable staff to get SEN training, as well as increase the working hours of the SEN-trained members of staff to full working days and extend the opening hours of the nursery. This project will ensure there is a SEN-trained practitioner present in each room at all times.

Lucy Hawkner, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Sandhurst Station Nursery, said: “A recent survey told us that permanent staff at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst need good quality, accessible early years provision that better covers the long working hours of a training establishment. This funding will allow us to safely trial longer opening hours to better serve permanent staff and their families. The funding will also be used to ensure all our staff receive SEN training, and to increase the working hours of our one-to-one SEN staff to better support our children with additional needs.”

Developing skills at forest school

Aldershot Garrison Pre-school has been awarded a grant for its project, ‘360* early years development project’, which aims to expand the range of services on offer. This project seeks to support families by offering parenting classes, as well as expanding and improving the facilities in the pre-school to offer sensory spaces and outdoor forest skills areas.

Chief Executive, Julie Mounfield, explains: “Forest school promotes holistic development of children, it goes beyond academic learning and nurtures their physical, emotional, social and cognitive growth. During forest school sessions, children are physically active throughout. They learn to take risks and attempt new challenges they might not face indoors or in a traditional pre-school room..”

To find out more about these projects and for a full list of awards made in the latest round of funding, go to Armed Forces Families Fund: Early Years Programme – projects supported : Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust


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