Service Children in State Schools Conference 2018
RAF Waddington hosted the Service Children in State Schools (SCISS) Conference recently with around 100 delegates from local authorities, primary and secondary schools, military charities and researchers.
John Stephens, SCISS Chair, highlighted the achievements to date which include the introduction of the service child marker on the school census, changes to the SEND and Admissions Code to include specific reference to service children and the introduction of the Service Pupil Premium (SPP).
Victoria Barr, Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Officer, Northamptonshire County Council said:
“I found the day to be brilliant, very informative and I have already started writing a new page for our website to cover some of the content and links. I had our Educational psych lady with me too and she was very impressed, so it will definitely support the schools in our area.”
Delegates were treated to an advanced briefing from the Children’s Commissioner’s Office (CCO) on the soon to be published ‘Voices of Children’ project. The goal of the CCO is to put children at the heart of policy making and this report looked specifically at the impact of deployment, mobility and what support is available to our service children. Key recommendations that have come out of the back of the report include: (i) keep siblings together (ii) avoid deploying both parents at the same time (iii) ensure children have effective emotional support available to them. More on this following the publication of the report next week (Tuesday 26th June 2018).
Lisa Thipthorp, (RAF Families Federation – AF Covenant Manager East) said:
“It was particularly pertinent that children from a local primary school and academy were invited to attend and tell delegates of their own experiences of being a service child – it brought to life exactly what the core principles of SCISS are and certainly focussed attendees on their joint goals.”
Russell Collier from the Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP) gave a policy update which included confirmation that the changes to the CTP (Common Transfer File which goes with the child from one school to their next) are happening from September and will include several questions specifically to identify service children and any additional support they need. This is a clear example of the Department for Education (DfE) supporting the Armed Forces Covenant. The service child flag will also now be included on all three censuses and not just the January one, starting from October 2018 although only the January census will be taken into account for funding purposes. DCYP confirmed that this is something the DfE is looking into.
There were many new schools in attendance who have yet to be involved with the work of SCISS and several have given extremely positive feedback.
Rita Griggs from Welton-St-Marys Church of England Primary Academy said:
“As a school we are doing a lot of what was discussed, however we now have a list of jobs to do, (updating the school website with info regarding forces families, more photos of school, making it clear on our website who supports the children, checking that we do receive the PIPS info when children arrive and joining Military Kids Club.)
“It was also really beneficial to be at the conference with a member of my schools senior leadership team that deals with the pupil premium funding as it made her more aware of the forces lifestyle and issues. (She will be showing the SCISS video clip at a staff meeting in September and making staff more aware).”
For further information about SCISS, this event and future ones and to download resources please go online to the event page for the 2018 SCISS National Conference
SCISS is an affiliation of thousands of state maintained schools in England. Its Executive acts as an advisory group to the Government, identifies good practice in the provision of education and welfare for service children and proposes solutions to prevent educational disadvantage to such children.