Finding schools for Service children

The Government website has information on school admissions, including guidance on choosing schools; admission criteria; school starting age; how to apply; waiting lists and appeals. There is also a search directory which allows users to find and compare schools and colleges in England.

Separate sites are available to compare schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Note: The Education Advisory Team (formerly CEAS) have specialist advisors who can support you through the admissions process and they can be contacted via email at: [email protected].

Schooling help topics for Service families

Information to help choose a school

We understand it is not always easy choosing a school for your child, or securing a place at your preferred school. Families relocating to a new area may encounter challenges if the school of their choice is oversubscribed. The Armed Forces Covenant will not guarantee you a place at your preferred school, but it will help to ensure you are treated fairly and not disadvantaged compared to civilian families.

School Inspections and Reports

In England, Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages and publish the results online.

If your children are starting or moving schools then browse the guides and resources available on the Defence Children Service (DCS) website, which includes details on how to seek help and advice from the EAT and OEST.

Moving in or out of the Devolved Administrations

Education is a devolved matter, meaning overall policy and regulations are set by the Devolved Administrations. There are some excellent resources to help families moving in and out of the Devolved Administrations which offer an overview of the different education systems – visit our Devolved Administrations pages.

Organisations supporting Service children in schools

Service Children’s Progression (SCIP) Alliance

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP)  Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from UK military families.  It is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the RAF Families Federation sit on the Board and Steering group to represent RAF families, children and young people.

The SCiP Alliance’s Mission is to:

Champion the progression of the children of serving personnel, so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers.

SCiP have developed a number of useful resources for parents and schools. Visit the SCiP Alliance website to view guidance on topics such as UCAS personal statements, the impact of non-operational separation and deployment, schools admissions and the Thriving Lives Toolkit.

Service Children in State Schools (SCISS)

SCISS is an affiliation of state-maintained schools in England that have Service children on roll. It is led by a National Executive Advisory Committee (NEAC) of Head Teachers; Local Authority officers/advisers; representatives from the three Armed Forces Families Federations; representatives from the Service Children Progression (SCiP) Alliance; the DfE and the MOD.

SCISS aims to be the voice of schools, influencing policy and practice and sharing good practice amongst those school with service children.

Deployment Support resource

To support Service families and schools, the Families Federations have collaborated with SCISS to create a downloadable Deployment Support resource to highlight resources and organisations offering support to the Armed Forces community during times of deployment and separation.

RAFFF and SCISS Deployment Resource Flyer

Little Troopers

To support Armed Forces families that are relocating, Little Troopers has developed a Moving School Checklist as well as other information sheets to support families with school transitions as part of the charity’s broader Little Troopers at School programme.

Inspiring Governance leaflet

Other ways to support your child

School Governance

One way in which you can help schools support your own service children and others is to consider being a School Governor.

Inspiring Governance (inspiringgovernance.org) connects skilled volunteers interested in serving as school governors and trustees with schools in England. It also provides free, expert support for volunteers and governing bodies, as well as for employers wanting to run programmes for their staff serving as school governors.  As part of their Armed Forces Covenant pledges, they have produced a leaflet specifically for Armed Forces Families.

Inspiring Governance leaflet

The National Governance Association (nga.org.uk) have produced guidance for governing boards exploring the potential challenges faced by children of serving and ex-Armed Forces personnel and information on support for Service children. Schools and trusts have a statutory duty to pay due regard to the needs, challenges and barriers faced by children of serving and ex-Armed Forces personnel and may find this guidance helpful.

Alexandra Stokes is the RAF Families Federation Policy Advisor for Education and Childcare – if you have any questions or you need guidance get in touch.