Many RAF families are mobile and relocate when the Service person is allocated a new posting. This can be disruptive for a child’s education and the RAF appreciates that some Serving families believe that boarding schools provide a more stable and uninterrupted education for their children.
One of the ways the MOD helps to overcome this disruption is by funding an allowance, to eligible families, that is a contribution towards the cost of boarding school: the Continuity of Education Allowance.
Continuity of Education Allowance
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.
Applying for CEA
If you are considering claiming CEA you must first contact the Education Advisoray Team (EAT) and register your child(ren).
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, such as uniform, music and sports, tuck, stationery, and weekend activities. In claiming CEA, the service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement.
The latest rates and allowances are detailed in JSP 752 – Tri-Service Regulations
In claiming CEA, the Service person must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining entitlement. Ensure that you have read and understood the regulations before committing – there are rules about how far you live from your place of work (the ’50 mile rule’), how much time a spouse can spend away from the home (the ‘90 day rule’) as well as your mobility as a family.
There are numerous guides and sources of information available to parents who are considering boarding or independent schools.
CEA Special Educational Needs Allowance
In line with JSP 752, a Special Educational Needs Addition (SENA) is available to service parents alongside CEA to contribute towards the support for service children with certain levels of additional need. Applications for CEA(SENA) should be made through the EAT.
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. State boarding schools provide free education but charge fees for boarding. Contact the State Boarding Forum for more information about state boarding schools, eligibility and how to apply.
Bursaries and Assistance
Some independent schools might offer bursaries for Armed Forces families and others – we have included a list of schools known to us here:
For families in particular need of assistance there is might also be charitable support available to you– see our Charitable Support page.