We asked families to share their views on the impact of Service life on Army children. The survey focused mainly on the experiences of parents and their perceptions of their children’s experiences.
In total, 89% of families told us they are considering whether to leave the Army due to the impact of Service life on their child.
Gaps in learning
Nearly half of families told us that their child had experienced a gap in their learning due to changing schools. Comments also suggested that there was a lack of consistency in support to deal with gaps in learning.
One family told us, “I think having gaps in knowledge have damaged my son’s self-esteem. It has had a long-term negative effect.”
Effect on well-being
Another key issue highlighted was the impact of frequent mobility on the mental health of children, highlighting issues of anxiety and loneliness. A third of our respondents reported children losing a significant amount of friends to due repeated moves.
One family said, “She now suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, directly caused by moving schools too much.”
Inconsistencies in use of Service Pupil Premium
More than half of respondents felt that their school’s use of SPP did not provide any effective support. The was concern that the funding was often absorbed into the main school budget and not targeted for use for Service children.
On the plus side, families said that Army life offered children the chance to make new and diverse friends from different cultures and backgrounds. It also built skills such as resilience, confidence and tolerance.
AFF is working with the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to bring your views and experiences to their research investigating how to make sure Service children’s voices are heard. This survey forms part of our contribution to the Alliance’s ‘Year of the Service Child Voice’ project. The one-year project is due to report in April 2020.
Our next job is to make sure those at the very highest levels of policy-making listen to your views and engage with families.
Take a look at our brief to Army command here.
See also the autumn issue of Army&You magazine for more information.
POSTED ON 30 JULY 2019