For all LiNCHigher's work we are guided by The SCiP Alliance’s definition of a Service child: 

A person whose parent, or carer, serves in the regular armed forces, or as a reservist, or has done at any point during the first 25 years of that person’s life.

We aim to improve educational outcomes for young people from Armed Forces families so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers.

What is the impact of being a Service Child?

Service children are educated in over 10,000 schools and as such are likely to be educated in schools that are within reach of all higher education providers.

Students from Armed Forces families often display many positive qualities including open-mindedness, pride, determination, resilience and being self-possessed. Nevertheless, there are a range of particular challenges that may be associated with being a child of a current or former military service personnel and this may impact on the likelihood of accessing and succeeding in higher education.

Attainment

The children of Service personnel are seen to attain as well as or better than their peers over all.

Mobility

Moving between schools can impact on students’ academic outcomes. This can occur because of delays, poor communication between schools, inadequate transition arrangements (particularly for those with additional learning needs and those sitting examinations) and differences in curriculum provision. Mobility can also impact on students’ emotional wellbeing, for example through disrupted friendships and an increased potential for bullying.

Deployment and separation

Parental deployment and separation can place strains on family life and impact upon the educational and emotional wellbeing of service children. Click here to better understand the emotional cycle faced by students from Armed Forces families.

Like all children, the children of serving and ex-Armed Forces personnel are unique and have huge potential. But their lives can have complex additional challenges.

Evidence suggests this can have both positive and negative effects for Service children and research with professionals tells us there's a need for high-quality, evidence-based resources and support, so they can have confidence that their support will enhance Service children's lives.

 

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families. It is hosted by the University of Winchester and supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

You can find out more about the mission and vision for the SCiP by visiting https://www.scipalliance.org/ 

Thriving Lives Toolkit

‘Helping schools support Service Children’

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a  through which to reflect on their practice and a 3 tier set of CPD resources. The resources in this toolkit have been developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK, and consist of:

  • an introductory animation;
  • a detailed resource introducing the evidence base, what schools can do to support their Service children and who can help and;
  • school case studies.

Please click on the individual principles below to review the 7 principles in practice and access further training modules and case studies.

The 7 principles of effective support

  1. Our approach is clear
  2. Wellbeing is supported
  3. Achievement is maximised
  4. Transition is effective
  5. Children are heard
  6. Parents are engaged
  7. Staff are well-informed

Lincolnshire and East Midlands SCiP Alliance Hub

The Lincolnshire and East Midlands SCiP Alliance Hub is led by the LiNCHigher.

The Hub, launched in October 2020 and brings together partners across the region to support Service children and their families to progress within education and make informed decisions on their future.

The SCiP Alliance have also created an interactive map showing the location of institutions, HUBs and concentration of service children. Please click here.

If you have identified Service students from Armed Forces Families within your school or college and would like to access support please contact the HUB lead, Jessica Darnell who will be able to provider further details of activities and resources on offer in the local area.

Funding support for schools - Service Pupil Premium

What is Service Pupil Premium (SPP)?

The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) was introduced in 2011 by the Department for Education to aid schools in providing additional support that children of service families may need and is part of a government commitment to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant.

What is it for?

It is designed to be used to provide pastoral support to children who have parent(s) serving in the UK Armed Forces. Schools can choose how best to spend the funding in response to the specific needs of individual pupils.

How does the SSP support students from Armed Forces families?

Examples of support could include nurture groups or counselling provision. Funding can be put towards employing/training a dedicated member of staff to oversee personal and academic progress of service children. The provision of a Student and Family Support Team may work best for one school whereas a trained play therapist or mentor who might be an ex-Serviceman could be better for another.

It shouldn’t be used to fund routine school trips or extra art/music lessons, but it can be used for ‘military-specific’ trips or to enable a child to take part in activities they can’t do because a parent has been deployed or that enables them to better understand the role of service personnel.

Computer equipment that enables Skype calls to deployed parents or camera equipment that allows children to send photographs and videos may be another way of spending the funds.

What is the difference between the Pupil Premium and the Service Pupil Premium?

The Pupil Premium is designed to ‘raise attainment and accelerate progress within disadvantaged groups’.

The SPP is an additional premium targeted only at service children and the two premiums should be treated and accounted for separately.

Criteria that include pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSMs) and certain guardianship orders/care orders/under Local Authority Care must be met in order to qualify for the Pupil Premium or the Pupil Premium Plus . The funding amounts vary and schools are held accountable as to whether the money is spent effectively.

Although funding is designed to raise attainment it can also be spent on ‘non-academic outcomes and improvements including mental health and activities that will also benefit non-eligible pupils’.

Examples of non-academic use could include school breakfast clubs and helping with costs of for example, music lessons or school trips.  

Eligibility criteria

Pupils attract SPP if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • one of their parents is serving in the regular armed forces (including pupils with a parent who is on full commitment as part of the full time reserve service)
  • they have been registered as a ‘service child’ on the January school census at any point in the last 6 years, even if the parent has left the Armed Forces (Ever 6 service child measure this can be claimed for six years after leaving or until end of year 11 whichever is sooner)
  • one of their parents died whilst serving in the armed forces and the pupil receives a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pensions Scheme

Children have to be flagged as service children ahead of the autumn school census deadline. Service parents need to make the school aware of their status by talking to the head teacher or school admin staff.

How is the SPP claimed?

Throughout England, state schools, academies and free schools are able to claim the current rate of £310 per child for reception age through to Year 11. The payment is paid directly to schools but can only be claimed if the child(ren)’s name are entered in the school’s roll. Parents must ensure that the schools are aware of their service status.

 

The RAF Families Federation's top seven things parents should know about SPP

  1. Service Pupil Premium (SPP) was introduced in England under the Armed Forces Covenant in recognition of the impact of service life on children
  2. Schools only receive SPP for children registered as service pupils each January
  3. Schools can only record children as service pupils if the parents identify them as such
  4. Schools may not receive SPP until nearly 18 months after the child has started at the school
  5. Schools can continue to receive SPP for children whose parents have left the armed forces for up to five years
  6. When a child moves school they will not automatically continue to be flagged as a service child
  7. SPP is only one type of pupil premium

More information can be found here

Supporting Service students preparing for higher education

As service children may only have one parent supporting them through school, providing extra support to these students is vital, especially as they are starting to consider their post-16 options. According to a report from 2016, ‘up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family’. This under-represented group therefore needs further support from schools in helping these students achieve their potential and continue with their studies. Specifically, teacher support is vital when they are making their application to university.

It is important that the student is aware of where to include this contextual information about their family when applying to university. As there is current no place on the UCAS application form to include this information, it is important for the student to draw upon their experiences in the personal statement. In order to speak about this, you could discuss with the student their childhood and school experiences and together, you could make a list of their strengths and how these experiences have prepared them for university study. For instance, service children typically:

  • Have a strengthened resilience and are familiar with adapting to new surroundings and environments
  • Have developed advanced social skills
  • Potentially have experience of foreign languages and different cultures
  • Have experience of travel
  • Compared to most students, they will have a greater sense of independence and self-confidence from these experiences

These notes, along with academic interest, could then be used by the student to write a draft of their personal statement for you to review. If the student consents, this contextual information should be corroborated in the teacher reference as this will verify their situation and again, can be drawn upon to highlight their academic achievement and perseverance.

As some universities may not read the references until a later date, we would also suggest that you contact the admissions teams at the chosen universities to inform them of their circumstances - informing them early on will ensure that nothing has been missed.

As with other students, speaking to them about the UCAS application process, including which courses require interviews or tests, as well as student finance and attending open days, will help them make an informed choice. If students are unable to attend open days, there are many virtual tours of universities on their individual websites.

If a service child changes school whilst they are in the process of writing their personal statement and selecting universities, please try to ensure adequate communication between your school/college and the new institution. Whilst this may be difficult, informing them of the student’s progress will help the transition and it will hopefully guarantee support at the new institution. The student may already be aware of their next steps from your meetings but speaking to them about where they are and what comes next will ensure they are prepared and informed before they leave.

Additional support available to Armed Forces families

MKC heroes

The Military Kids Club (MKC) Heroes network is a unique pupil voice group for the children and young people of Service personnel and veterans that is supported and facilitated by The Royal British Legion.

Any school with pupils from Service and veterans’ families can apply to join the MKC Heroes network. This includes secondary and primary schools, as well as academies and private schools. We do not specify a minimum or maximum number of members needed to run a club as that depends on what the school itself can support. MKC Heroes is open to children and young people up to the age of 18 years old from families of currently serving personnel, veterans, reservists and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Click here to find more information

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved British Forces children and young people.

‘Smiles’ offers the children that opportunity to smile again through a wide range of fun activities and gifts.  This includes holiday breaks, group events, special experiences and gifts at difficult times of the year.

The ‘Support’ programme aims to assist with the more emotional side of bereavement and includes access to professional counselling and a family support network.

Finally, the ‘Strides’ programme is designed to help with the charity’s beneficiaries’ personal development and includes a range of activity and educational grants.

Click here to find more information

Little Troopers

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting all children with one or both parents serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. We provide fundamental resources, initiatives and support to ease and aid repeated separation periods aiming to keep parent and child connected and bonded even when miles apart.  There are resources for support at home, and in educational settings.

Click here to find more information 

Other Resources

Here you can find a number of downloadable resources that provide information on support, funding and personal statements.

LiNCHigher Guide to Higher Education for Children from an armed forces family. 

Providing young people and their families with information on all aspects of educational pathways, applications, student life and financing

Funding and Support for RAF Children in Schools

This booklet highlights some of the organisations that are actively offering funding and support to service families. It also contains tips to help with funding applications.

Armed Forces Family Life

A PowerPoint presentation that gives insight into some of the unique challenges faced by service families.

RAF Families Federation FAQs

A series of answers to commonly asked questions regarding service children.

UCAS Information for Teachers, Advisers and Referees

A concise outline of the challenges faced by service children and how you can help as a teacher, adviser or referee.

UCAS Information for HE Admissions Teams

A concise outline of the challenges faced by service children and how you can help as a member of a HE admissions team.

Train as an Armed Forces Mental Health First Aider

One in four of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our life, but there are members of our community who face unique risks and challenges to their mental health.

Long periods of time away from family during service, exposure to high stress situations and trauma, and the difficulty of adjusting between military and civilian life – all can impact on the mental health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

The most common ways these stressors impact on members of the armed forces are depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse.

Just like the rest of the population, stigma and lack of awareness around our mental health compared to our physical health is often a barrier to armed forces personnel getting the treatment they need to recover.

Take a look at the Mental Health First Aid in the Armed Forces video  -  https://youtu.be/Ogg37ZLcGT0

MHFA training courses teach people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support.

MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.

Developed in collaboration with the UK’s leading military support charities, Armed Forces MHFA is tailored to the unique culture and mental health needs of the military community. For everyone in the armed forces community – serving and ex-serving personnel, their families and support organisations – our training gives you the skills to:

  • Stop a preventable health issue from escalating by spotting and addressing it early
  • Know how and where to access treatment if it’s needed, for a faster recovery
  • Help keep yourself, the people you support, your colleagues and your family healthy
  • Minimise the impact of mental ill health on work and life

To find out more information about becoming a trained Armed Forces Mental Health First Aider visit Mental Health Frist Aid England website: https://mhfaengland.org/individuals/armed-forces/2-day/