Friday 15th September 2023
The Armed Forces Covenant Trust (the Trust) excited to announce the first awards made under the Service Pupil Support Programme – an MOD funded programme, which is part of the Armed Forces Families Fund. Over £1,700,000 has been awarded to 46 fantastic projects which will deliver real change to Armed Forces communities by improving the educational pathway of Service children and helping to address the challenges they can face.
Supporting Service pupils across the UK
Specifically supporting Service pupils aged 4-18 years, the Service Pupil Support Programme supports projects which focus on pupils from currently serving families and support them along their educational pathways. The projects supported in this first round cover the whole of the UK and address closing gaps in educational attainment, building resilience and improving wellbeing and addressing the needs of Service pupils with additional needs.
Schools working together
A common theme emerging from funded projects is collaboration between schools to facilitate shared resources and good practice – several grants have been awarded to Local Authorities, Education Trusts and clusters of schools working together.
Acorn Education Trust in Warminster, who oversees two nurseries, fourteen primary and three secondary schools, have been awarded £49,517 for their ‘Closing the Primary Attainment Gap’ project. The project will improve Service pupils’ academic attainment by employing timely, diagnostic testing, delivery of targeted intervention programmes, and a dedicated staff member. It will also enhance pupil well-being by addressing educational issues through effective family liaison.
Focus on SEND support
Improving support for Service pupils with additional needs was a key priority within the Service Pupil Support Programme. RAF Leeming CP School have been awarded £55,945 for their ‘Rapidly Assessing and Addressing SEND’ project which will provide additional support to Service pupils with additional needs by delivering targeted interventions, improving adaptive practice in classrooms and creating a strategic oversight of need.
Headteacher Robert Campbell said:
“Last year more than 82% of our school ‘changed’ – pupils either moving in or out. This exceptional mobility requires us to intervene rapidly in supporting pupils’ needs, especially those with SEND. All too often, strained external services and frequent military moves negatively impact the provision for SEND pupils, in spite of the best efforts of parents and those in ‘the system’. This project is designed to go some way towards mitigating these factors.
The project aims to have a positive impact at multiple levels. Strategic leadership and oversight will be provided by our SENCO who will deliver high quality CPD to all staff – ensuring that adaptive practice is embedded in classrooms which supports struggling learners as soon as they arrive. For those with more complex needs, interventions and specific programmes will be offered which should help to close gaps and address challenges. Research indicates that school moves can detrimentally affect pupil progress by up to 12 months; pupils who may already be years behind their peers due to their SEND cannot afford any further loss of learning. Thus, the project aims to rapidly put measures in place – whether additional adult support, bespoke programmes, quality first provision in class or more developed parental liaison – in order to ensure that not a moment is lost for our most vulnerable students.”
Also focussing on SEND needs, Colerne CE Primary School, which is in the top 5% of schools in relation to the number of children who are directly impacted by military movement, will receive £37,763 to help ensure every Service child is able to reach their full academic potential through early assessment and identification of needs.
Sonia Howe, Director of Policy and Communications at the Trust, said:
“We are delighted to announce these awards which will support the futures of our Service children, giving extra help and enabling them to reach their full potential.”
Find out more
For a full list of all awardees from the Service Pupil Support Programme, check out the Trust’s website: www.covenantfund.org.uk