Boarding and independent schools
Subject to meeting the strict eligibility criteria, service personnel may be entitled to claim Continuity of Education Allowance towards their family’s fees for boarding school. The aim of Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is to assist service personnel to achieve continuity of education for their child(ren) that would otherwise be denied in the maintained school sector if their child(ren) accompanied them on frequent assignments both at home and overseas. If parents are considering claiming CEA they must first contact CEAS and register their child.
The allowance is available for children of eight years of age and over. The costs of boarding schools can vary greatly and parents are expected to contribute a minimum of 10% towards the fees. The fees are only part of the costs and parents should be clear what extras the school charges for. In claiming CEA, the service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement.
There are many types of boarding school to cater for different age ranges, different abilities and different interests. Most boarding schools are independent but there are also a number of state boarding schools which provide excellent value for money because they are only allowed to charge for accommodation costs and not tuition costs. In addition, there is a requirement in the School Admissions Code that state boarding schools must give second priority (after looked after children) to children of members of the UK Armed Forces who qualify for MOD financial assistance with the cost of boarding school fees. Under CEA regulations parents must give consideration to state boarding education and why it is not appropriate for their child(ren).
There are numerous guides and sources of information available to parents who are considering boarding or independent schools.
- Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) which is specific to Service families on 01980 618244 or email DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.uk. This includes information on the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA).
- UK Boarding Schools offers impartial advice for parents so a good reference point to find initial schools of interest.
- Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools.
- SBSA (State Boarding Schools Association) – the SBSA encourages Forces families to consider state boarding schools when choosing a boarding school.
Independent Schools Inspectorate
Affiliated Independent Schools are not inspected under the Ofsted umbrella but instead by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate where you can view the inspection report of the school of your choice.
State boarding schools in the UK
You might like to look at the range of opportunities available in the state sector when considering boarding school options for your son/daughter. The State Boarding Schools’ Association website contains a great deal of useful information.