Support for Service children

Service children are children and young people from families where one or more parents is currently in the British armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Both the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Department for Education remain committed to ensure a duty of care towards Service children in maintained education, and we are working together to meet their commitments as set out in the armed forces covenant report 'Rebuilding the covenant: next steps', first published in May 2011.

The MOD has since published the first interim report in December 2012 and much progress has been made in education, but it is clear that specific difficulties are still occurring for serving personnel, their partners and children.

What has the Department achieved to support Service children?

  • we have delivered the specific commitments made in armed forces covenant, contributing to the annual evidence-based progress report
  • as part of our pupil premium arrangements we introduced a Service children premium of £200 in April 2011. Unlike the main deprivation premium this is not about raising attainment but about providing additional (mainly pastoral) support. This has risen to £250 in 2012 to 2013.
  • produced a sample of Service pupil premium case studies providing innovative and good practice which can be found on this page.
  • gave assurance that children of parents who have died or have been injured in Service so they do not lose eligibility for the Service premium in 2012 to 2013, matching the Ever 6 arrangements for the deprivation premium
  • revised the Admissions Code to allow parents, outside of the normal admissions round, to apply directly to the school of their choice from the academic year 2013 to 2014. Whilst each school must apply the same criteria as all other applications, this may give Service families a quicker response than under the previous system where the local authority coordinated all in-year applications
  • in order to help Service children schools abroad meet the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) in schools in Germany and Cyprus, we are extending the training given to special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) in England to SENCOs working in these schools. We are also rolling out a SEN passport to improve upon the transfer of information between schools.
  • developed and procured a ‘Troops to Teachers’ programme, so that armed forces leavers have opportunities to become teachers, through sponsorship of their teacher training
  • provided Service schools abroad with match funding for phonics materials and access to SENCOs training
  • in November 2011, the Department hosted a conference with the MOD to publicise the findings from these two reports and share best practice with heads and local authorities
  • supported the 'National executive of the Service children in state schools handbook' written largely by practitioners in schools with Service children. It is intended to be interactive in the sense that it can be amended to incorporate suggestions to improve the handbook, examples of good practice from users and used to facilitate communication between schools and local authorities with similar needs.

For further information, the 'Service children in state schools handbook' is available to download from this page.

Help for schools with high mobility rates

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) £3 Million Fund which is available each year, over a period of 4 years, was announced in the armed forces covenant in May 2011.

Its purpose is to assist publicly-funded schools, academies and free schools mitigate the effect of exceptional mobility and/or deployment of the regular armed forces or reserve forces communities whose children they support.

The fund is managed by the Directorate Children & Young People (DCYP) and is available for schools throughout the UK as long as they can provide evidence that they are being affected by either exceptional mobility and/or deployment. The MOD support fund for schools with Service children: grant application pack is available on this page.