Customer story: leaving the RAF and relocating with SEND

Thursday 18th May 2023

How the RAF Families Federation (RAFFF) helped a RAF family who were leaving the RAF secure housing and a school place in a new area.

How to secure housing and a school place in a new area?

The family came to us for help when they experienced challenges relocating. Their unique circumstances made finding housing and a school place in a new area more complex; the Service person was leaving the RAF, their child has special educational needs, and they were looking to relocate to a new area under a different local authority.

In order to apply for a school place in the new area, an Educational Healthcare Plan (ECHP) is required by the receiving local authority. Despite the child having an ECHP from the losing local authority, the family had not been provided with a copy. Additionally, for a school place to be offered you need to live in the local area.

Engaging the local authority Armed Forces Covenant Champions

In order to help the family, first we engaged with the Armed Forces Covenant Champion in the current local authority on the family’s behalf. We asked for the Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) Team to ask provide the family with a copy of the EHCP. This was delayed as the gaining school is normally detailed on the ECHP and due to the family move the school was not yet known. The local authority SEND Team agreed to forward a copy to the family with an annotation reflecting the school was to be confirmed.

Secondly, we contacted the gaining local authority’s Armed Forces Covenant Champion to understand what process was in place to support RAF families leaving the RAF and relocating. The local authority was very proactive and explained they would be supported through placing a housing request which would also then enable them to request a school place. We were able to engage directly with the Housing Officer who explained the banding system for housing allocation and the waiting time. This was relayed to the family and the family provided the necessary evidence of being a military family to be allocated a place on the housing list.

Opportunity to apply for housing in the area of choice

The family have now been approved to start looking for housing in their preferred location and the losing local authority has forwarded the EHCP paperwork to the gaining local authority in preparation for the accommodation and school place to be confirmed.

Our impact

We provide confidential help and support to RAF personnel and families, wherever you are in the world. This can be advice offered, imparting our knowledge of policy and procedures, signposting and influencing on your behalf.

The issues you report to us provide ‘evidence’ which can help us to identify emerging issues in the Armed Forces community. We use this information, anonymised, to lobby government for policy changes – aiming to make life better for you.

If you need help with a challenge you face, contact us.

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