A number of years ago the Government introduced a new school benefit for children whose parents are currently serving in the Armed Forces. This additional benefit translates into extra funding for each Service child and is designed to address the emotional and social well being of these pupils. The specific implications of providing for children of Armed Forces personnel and working with their families relate essentially to the following two issues: Mobility and Deployment.
The school has developed the following areas with the additional funding:
We run a very successful breakfast club from 7:30 to 8:40 am Monday to Friday where cost is reduced by subsidies provided by Forces Premium.
The school website has been recently updated and web based resources purchased to support communication and promote links with deployed parents. These applications will provide: opportunities for deployed Armed Forces parents to maintain sight on school activities, a safe environment for blogging and allow children to make their work accessible to their parents by exhibiting their work online.
A number of iPads have been purchased to allow the children easy and continued access to the wide array of communication opportunities such as e-blueys, email, Skype and online blogging sites. This should allow for regular communication with an absent parent, improving the well being of both child and parent alike.
Additional Support Time
Additional hours have been funded to ensure targeted intervention is given to those children who require the extra focus of one-to-one support and or small group activities. Time is also given to those children identified as ‘Gifted and Talented’ allowing a child to further develop and be encouraged to achieve their best possible results.
Literacy enrichment programmes have also been established, helping to expand aspects of drama, story telling and film making all of which improve speaking and listening skills. This enrichment time will in turn advance individual skill sets whilst working within a team based activity.
Individual Mentoring Programme
Opportunities have been made available, which allow consideration for a more holistic approach to a child’s well being. Problems created by parents being absent from home, for extended detached periods, can manifest and affect children in many different ways and are often unique to that child. A mentoring programme has been created to allow time for Armed Forces children and parents to discuss their concerns and ensure that the child has a supportive environment.
Messy Lunch / Peer Buddying System
Once a term all children of service personnel are given the opportunity to have lunch together and share experiences thereby forming a common bond between them all. One of the classrooms is used as a ‘Mess’ as found on a military camp. Children are encouraged to support each other, especially during times when parents are on detachment.
Funding has been utilized to assist in providing a wide range of sporting opportunities and aiding with transport to and from events.