Children’s Education Advisory Service – hints and tips

RAF overseas

CEAS plays an integral role in delivering the Directorate Children & Young People’s (DCYP) vision that ‘All our children and young people flourish and achieve their full potential’. They offer educational advice, guidance and support to Service families around such areas as school transition and admissions, ‘retention of quarter’ for educational reasons, CEA and SENA (Special Educational and/or additional Needs) and education overseas, as well as many other areas of concern, enquiry or need.

A recent increase in the size of the CEAS team has provided an opportunity to review the work that is carried out and has led to the addition of a satisfaction survey to email correspondence.

This is also an ideal opportunity to remind parents of the best ways of getting in contact with CEAS and the type of advice and support we can give. Whilst our email address is [email protected],
below are some suggestions that will enable us to deal with your queries:

• In your email, a brief outline of the query is helpful and then it can be allocated to the most appropriate member of staff. Emails are assigned several times a day.

PLEASE ensure that you have spelt the word ‘Enquiries’ correctly! It is often misspelt and hence the email doesn’t arrive.

• We do prioritise urgent and safeguarding issues; again, information by email makes this more straightforward.

• Please check all submitted forms carefully – delays occur when forms are sent in unsigned or with vital bits of information missing. We do want to help you as soon as possible, but some delays are preventable.

• We take our responsibilities for the public purse, fairness and equity very seriously. When a decision is made in response to a request for CEA (SENA), we are asked for a professional opinion by the Pay, Allowances, Casework and Complaints Cell (PACCC), or even make a recommendation whether a child can be placed out of a chronological year group, this is always done with the child’s best interests in mind alongside associated regulations and the need to be accountable to the MOD.

• Decisions regarding CEA are that of the PACCC and the Chain of Command not CEAS. We are part of the process which enables the Service Personnel to put in a CEA claim on the Joint Services Publications (JPA).

• All families going overseas need to seek Educational Clearance for their children 0-18. This needs to be completed as soon as possible once you have received your travel pack to prevent any delays. We advise that it may take up to nine weeks to process.

• If you have a child with any Special Educational Needs and Disability or Additional Learning Needs, we have trained teachers and experienced staff who can give professional advice and support should you require it.

• If you have a child going through public examinations such as GCSEs or A-levels or are continuing with educational or medical assessments, it may be possible that CEAS can supply you with an ‘Impact Statement’ to enable you to stay in your quarter during this period so that your child is not disadvantaged.

• Due to the volume of telephone calls received, CEAS do use an answerphone service at times to take messages – the message advises to email if you can. (The reason for this is that numbers are not always clearly stated in messages and often the number we write down is incorrect. If you would like to speak to a member of staff please email with your telephone number asking someone to call you back.)

CONTACT DETAILS: [email protected] or telephone 01980 618244

By Sue Smyth, Team Leader, Children’s Education Advisory Service

RAF FF’s Policy and Operations Manager, Lisa Thipthorp adds:

“We are pleased to have a dedicated Education and Childcare Specialist as part of our team here at the RAF Families Federation. Louise Briggs works closely with DCYP to offer support to our families who are experiencing challenges in this area and is all too aware of the intense workload of the team at CEAS. Please do bear in mind the guidance to help CEAS help you and other families as accurately and quickly as possible to get the right outcomes for your children.”

This news story is included in the Autumn edition of Envoy magazine – the free magazine for RAF personnel and your families too. You can sign up online to have your own copy sent to your home (quarterly).

See also: Education

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