The study, undertaken by the Data Unit Wales in 2015, was commissioned to gather a baseline picture of the numbers of Service children in Primary and Secondary education and the level of understanding/provision of support in schools. The report interviewed schools from across Wales and found that there was very little data available with the need for more information and support to enable schools to collect data and access guidance and support.
Key findings included:
- There is no formal mechanism at present to log Service children through the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC). Some schools in Wales have informal methods of counting the numbers of Service children in their schools but some schools felt that a solution would be for all local authorities to include a tick box on school admissions forms to record the numbers of Service children as good practice.
- There are service children residing across all 22 local authorities in Wales and potentially more service children living here than previously thought.
- Schools would welcome more information on how to work with Armed Forces Community Covenants and understanding of what the covenant does in their area.
- Schools recognised the importance of not singling out Service children and wanted better communication with Service community and families to ensure they can best support them. Some schools felt that Service children should be regarded as a potentially vulnerable group due to the impacts of mobility and deployment.
A representative from SSCE Cymru said:
"We want to understand more about what the on the ground issues are for schools in providing support. It’s clear that in Wales we are at the beginning of understanding the challenge, and the biggest hurdle is getting a handle of the data. As a project we would like to see Service children included on the PLASC as an ongoing commitment of the Armed Forces Package of support in Wales, with all local authorities including a tick box on admissions forms for Service children. This will in the first instance provide more reliable information and then help schools and local authorities to co-ordinate provision or access support.
SSCE Cymru recently launched guides for schools and parents to enable everyone across Wales to better understand the impacts Service life can have on children in school, regardless of whether they are a children of regulars, veterans or reservists. We plan to take forward the findings of the study and work with schools local authorities support organisations and Welsh Government to highlight and share good practice in Wales as well as strengthen the strategic response to provision for Service children over the next year of the project.”
To view the report in full click here.