SFA in Northern Ireland (NI) comes under the same Amey contract for allocations and repairs as the rest of the UK. This is generally managed well locally. The recently introduced CAAS banding also applies in NI.
Removals can take up to 10 working days for delivery, but the removals company do their best to get your belongings delivered as soon as possible. Your hotel bookings are made through the normal central booking number.Back to top
The three main camps in NI have on-site pre-school and nursery provision.
Department of Education NI (DENI) funded pre-school places are available, from September, for those children who are in the target age group i.e. they have reached their third birthday on or before 1 July of the same year.
Provision is for five sessions per week over 38 weeks, each session lasting a minimum of 2.5 hours. For those entitled, 38 Bde funded places may be accessed from the term after the child’s third birthday.
Please contact the on-site setting or the NI Children’s Education Support Officer for further details.
NI has seven years of primary education (P1-P7) the same as the rest of the UK (YR-Y6)
Children in NI who are four years old on or before 1 July must start school in the September.
Underage Service children with July and August birthdays MAY be admitted to P1 at the Principals discretion. However, if oversubscribed, the school must accept statutory school age children over those who are underage.
The school day
Younger children finish school earlier than those on the mainland:
Homework is issued Monday to Thursday and varies from 10 minutes for P1 children to 1.5 hrs for P7 children.
With over 60 grammar schools in NI there is a greater chance of securing a place than in other parts of the UK. Those wishing to transfer to a selective grammar school are expected to sit the Common Entrance Assessment (11+) in P7.
Children not wishing to go to grammar school can apply to the secondary school of their choice.
In NI, if you turn 16 during the school year (between Sept 1 and 1 July), you can leave school after 30 June. Unlike England, there is no requirement to stay in education, training or volunteering until 18.
Children have less time off for half terms and Easter and instead have the majority of their holidays from the end of June to the beginning of September, approximately 9 weeks.
If your child has a statement of Special Education Needs (EHC plan), or you require further advice and guidance, please contact the NI Children’s Education Support Officer at RC-AWS-N-38Xfirstname.lastname@example.org or the AFF Education Specialist at email@example.com
Visit our Education & Childcare section for lots more information.
Home to School Transport
In NI you may be eligible for Home to School Transport. For more information and to apply online, please click hereBack to top
On arrival in NI you must register your car in the province.
Registering your vehicle
Register your vehicle under the registered keepers address.
You can still keep your mainland plates.
Ensure your vehicle is insured through a recognised insurance company who provides cover in NI.
Cars in NI are required to have an MOT test four years from new. MOTs in NI can only be carried out at government registered test centres. Waiting times vary depending on the location of test centres so plan in advance.
It’s a legal requirement to change your driving licence to your current address. You will be issued with a NI driving licence upon doing this.Back to top
Only families posted to Aldergrove are able to register with the Medical Centre in Aldergrove.
Prescriptions are free.
Some health provision offered elsewhere in the UK is not available in NI and waiting list times can be different too.
Please visit the health page for more detailed information.
Families will need to register with the local Dental Practice. Charges are the same as the UK.Back to top
It is recommended you insure your belongings whilst they are in transit, in storage and in use in NI.Back to top
In NI your dog must be registered annually – you can obtain a licence from your local council. Relevant information plus a link to your council website can be found here. Subject to a few exemptions, when in a public place, all dogs must wear a collar with your name and address on it. (Fines apply for failing to comply.)
To travel from GB to NI your pet needs:
If I am travelling to GB and planning to return to NI, what documentation and health preparations do I need to make?
Pet owners returning to NI from GB will need to make the same preparations as set out above.
More info on pet travel to and from GB can be found here or see Q&As for Pet Travel from 1 January 2021 | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural AffairsBack to top
Whilst in NI, serving personnel will receive the Northern Ireland Residency Supplement (NIRS), this is paid directly into your soldier’s wages at the end of the month.Back to top
Your family will be entitled to three travel warrants per year to visit friends or family on the UK mainland. This can cover flights or ferry travel and includes either a contribution towards the fuel costs or connecting travel such as onward rail, car or taxi costs. These are particularly useful during leave periods where travel can prove more expensive.
An unaccompanied/single soldier will receive 12 warrants per year in NI.Back to top
SSAFA offers discounted driving lessons to spouses once you are living there. They will fund 50% of up to 10 lessons. This is unique to NI.Back to top
People can be wary about job searching in NI. There is absolutely no reason for you not to work during your posting, should you wish to.
The Families Employment Advisory Team (FEAT) is based in Lisburn but covers the whole of NI. This service is unique to NI and they will help you to update and ‘civilianise’ your CV, offer advice and coaching on interview technique and how to complete application forms. They can also, in conjunction with 38 Bde security,G2, give security advice about working in NI. For more details, contact RC-AWS-N-38Xfirstname.lastname@example.org
Forces Families Jobs is an employment and training platform specifically designed to support Service families into meaningful employment and provide opportunities for training and development.Back to top
The chain of command provides regular security briefings for families on their arrival in the province about the current security situation. Every family should now receive a security brief.
The following information provides some background and will help families in NI understand what steps to take to make their lives as secure as possible.
A residual threat remains from Dissident Republican groups towards identifiable
military personnel, the police and MOD establishments.
This is the means by which terrorists and/or criminals obtain information about soldiers, trying to identify patterns of movement, vehicles and activities on and off duty to then allow them to mount an attack.
Much of the information useful to terrorists is in the public domain – newspapers, Soldier Magazine and the news; however, much more specific information can be obtained from the internet.
The increased popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook has resulted in soldiers and their dependants posting personal information on the internet, including photographs, which identifies their military connection and in some cases their location and activities.
There are ways to enjoy social networking sites but still remain safe.
‘Identity crime’ is a generic term for identity theft, allowing criminals to create a false identity or commit fraud by impersonating people on line. To reduce your vulnerability, remember:
What can we do to raise the level of our personal security?
The chain of command can impose security measures for serving soldiers, but we all have a responsibility to carefully consider the safety and security of our own families.
Avoid a set pattern or routine; vary the route you drive to work, schools etc. and around town.
Do not wear your security pass off camp, never leave it in the car, and report any loss immediately.
Avoid revealing your military connections, retain a level of anonymity.
Do not display military items/clothing off camp.
Security at home
Security at home is largely common sense, using the same basic crime reduction measures you would implement wherever you live – Northern Ireland should be no different.
Security of vehicles
Whether you keep your existing registration and number plates or get NI plates is entirely up to you. There are a number of GB plated vehicles in NI, so you will not stand out if you decide to keep your GB number.
Security when out and travelling around the Province
Be aware of your surroundings and get to know the areas that are safe and those that may be considered ‘no-go’; remain as conscious of crime prevention as you would on the mainland.
There is a Restriction on Movement (ROM) list held at all camps for the safety and security of military personnel – the list is mandatory for soldiers and it is highly recommended that families use it as well.
Check bus routes in advance – some bus services do go through red areas.