Let’s listen to our Service children

How does Army family life affect the younger members of your family?  

Are your children affected by the postings, the loss of friendships, the gaps in learning and more? 

Give us your unique perspective 

In our latest survey, we’re encouraging those of you with kids of full-time school age (or older) to sit down and chat together about your Service family’s experience of education. This is a great opportunity to let your kids have a say via your feedback to AFF. 

What unique issues are they facing? What could make things better? How do postings affect friendships, both in school and at home? Is it all too much or has it made them stronger? 

Your feedback is vital 

AFF is working with the University of Winchester and the Army Welfare Service to bring your views and experiences to their research into the impact of Service life on children. We’d love you to get involved to strengthen the case for change. 

Get involved 

We understand that discussing some of these topics with your children may be sensitive and we encourage you to find out more about support available, on our mental health page.

The survey has now closed.

POSTED ON 18 MARCH 2019

    Comments

    I am a Major in the regular Army, fortunate to be performing well and being graded A- in my last two reports and I have performed well in a series of high profile jobs. I fully intended to serve a full career in the Army.

    However, the recent changes to sixth form CEA arrangements cause me siginifcant concern.

    It now appears that the ability of my three children to look confidently ahead to full schooling in a boarding school is now much less certain, even if my wife and I fully meet the mobility criteria we are expecting to.

    The uncertainty itself is enough to cause me concern and the prospect of fighting a battle three times in the future causes me to question my service. I will go anywhere and do whatever is asked of me, moving each time with my wife and living in SFA. I am unwilling, however, to compromise my children’s education in doing so, particularly at such a critical time of their schooling (the bridge to university or a career). The concern and uncertainty has been enough for my wife and I to discuss alternative career options outside of the forces.

    Continuity of education needs to mean continuity, not uncertainty. This increased risk of instability breaks the contract.

    Dear Mike
    Thanks so much for your comments. We are keeping a close eye on the sixth form situation and regularly talking to the MOD about it.

    I have 3 children, my eldest child has SPD and is diagnosed A typical autism. She is amazing though. We have recently moved to East Africa and when we leave here she I’ll be 16. We are so worried about her future. We tried boarding school which worked so well whilst we were located in London, but with no family support and moving a long way away our daughter decided she didn’t want to stay in the school and wanted to be with us (much to my relief, as getting two flights on her own would have been too much).
    Our girls are our number 1 priority. But sadly, they are requiring a more settled secondary ag schooling as it is noticeably evident that the transition really does impact schooling. This is our oldest daughters 9th school…. I would love a certainty and a good outline of how 16-18 education works as we are moving during that critical time.

    Dear Sarah
    Many thanks for taking the time to engage in this debate. Our Education & Childcare Specialist very much has 16-18 year education on her agenda. For more information do get in touch with Jilly Carrell at ec@aff.org.uk

    As a parent of three who all were in education during my husbands 22 year army career, we have had some good and some not so good experience of moving not only school but education systems.
    The moves to Scotland on three occasions were the most difficult to navigate, sad as we were both educated in Scotland.
    The move back to Scotland from Germany for our oldest two was our first difficult experience, due to the different months that children are grouped for school, Scotland earliest March then February for the youngest, all of the rest of the UK/SCE August birthdays are the youngest in the year if you don’t defer.
    It has meant that all three have gone in to different year groups. To solve the problem for our daughter we chose Queen Victoria School, which in turn caused issues, a whole other story.
    All three of our children were on the gifted and talented register in England, it doesn’t exist in Scotland, yet our two sons who have additional educational need, one is Dyslexic and has ADD the youngest has Meres-Irlens. When we moved back to Scotland with two statements of educational need we were informed that to be able to access the appropriate help the whole process would have to start again.
    One of our sons has had to sit in a cupboard to do exams as it “was the only space” his invigilator didn’t read his reasons for being in the cupboard and told him to be quiet and not talk out loud, he informed the invigilator that that was why they were in the cupboard.
    Our youngest found that he was sent to a group for children who are bereaved, the school were using the money received from the MOD to fund this group, he was the only Army child in the school at the time and the only child who had not suffered from bereavement or a family break up.
    We have had amazing experiences the SCE schools/ preschools in Germany were superb. The schools in NI and then Kent and all the extra help that we were given exemplary.
    It has taken some time but the school my son is now attending has be great and when my sons did need help with bereavement, at different times the staff were compassionate and have gone above and beyond for them, they are still amazing.

    Dear Karen,
    Thank you for participating and taking the time to comment. Our Education & Childcare Specialist Jilly Carrell works closely with the Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP) and the devolved administrations to highlight both what works but also where the difference in education can sometimes have a negative impact on mobile Service children. Do get in touch with Jilly if you’d like any further information at ec@aff.org.uk

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