Wednesday 3rd March 2021

As a Serving family in the Armed Forces, you might be interested in whether your child’s school has an understanding of Armed Forces life and also how they support Service children. In November 2020 the SCiP Alliance launched their Thriving Lives Toolkit giving schools an opportunity to assess their own support systems in place for Service children.

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in schools, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and a three tier set of professional development for teachers.

The SCiP Alliance’s Mission:

Support education practitioners to champion the progression of the children of military personnel, so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers.

Who are the SCiP Alliance?

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families. It is hosted by the University of Winchester and supported by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

How Does the Toolkit help my child to thrive?

Through the 7 principles, a school can use the Toolkit to assess their own support in place for Service children. If they don’t have support in place, but are looking for help with where to start it can help with that too. It has tools for professional development to raise awareness around the Armed Forces lifestyle so that staff can develop awareness. SCiP Alliance also have funding to run a series of conferences – either virtually or in a variety of locations – COVID restrictions depending.

Why is it needed?

In research many Service children say that they like it when those around them understand their lifestyle. Whilst they might not want to be singled out (and as parents you may not want them to be) they do appreciate knowing that at school, there is someone who understands mobility, deployment and separation, that they can talk to if necessary.

In terms of school moves, it helps if a school has an awareness that if a child is a Service child they may have moved lots of times, experienced different curricula and may have prolonged periods of separation from one or maybe both, parents.

It may help your child settle quickly if schools appreciate the strengths your child may have gained from their Armed Forces lifestyle and they are
able to bring those to the fore quickly.

What can parents do?

• Make sure your school is aware you are an Armed Forces family – don’t assume that they are aware. This will help them help your child and also ensure they claim Service Pupil Premium in England or trigger potential for other support in Scotland or Wales. Always let your child’s teacher know if there is a period of deployment or separation coming up.

• Tell your school about the Thriving Lives Toolkit or maybe the school’s governing body so they can have a look to see what elements they could benefit from. Tell them it can be downloaded from the SCiP Alliance website.

• Tell the school about the RAF Families Federation – they can contact us for further information and advice on supporting Service children, or visit our education webpages.

Kath Lawrence, Head of Operations at the SCiP Alliance says:

“The expertise of the Families Federations helps to ensure that the voice of Service children permeates the Alliance’s work and they were a key partner on this project. We are delighted to count the RAF Families Federation as a key force in the Alliance. Many Service children face unique challenges and have opportunities to develop unique strengths. The SCiP Alliance wants all schools to understand this and has worked in collaboration across our network develop these resources to help schools help Service children thrive.”

This news story is included in the Spring edition of Envoy magazine. You can keep yourself up to date with ongoing information and advice shared by signing up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and our quarterly Envoy magazine

Top image by Ina Hall from Pixabay

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