Today the Welsh Local Government Association’s Supporting Service Children in Education Cymru project (SSCE Cymru) launched the first all Wales guidance for schools and parents.
Written to raise awareness of the challenges Service children can face in school, and to provide Armed Forces families moving into Wales with information and advice, the guides reflect the wealth of research and engagement activity completed by SSCE Cymru in its first year.
The project has worked with schools, local authorities, parents, support organisations and the Welsh Government to gain a detailed understanding of the needs of Service children in school, build an all Wales network and share good practice so that Welsh schools and families new to the country can access the advice and support they need.
The high profile launch event was co-sponsored by Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Education and Skills and Leighton Andrews AM, Minister for Public Services who were joined by several local authority leaders and high ranking members of the Armed Forces in Wales.
Cllr Brendan Toomey (Merthyr), WLGA Armed Forces spokesperson said:
"We know from the work of the project that all 22 local authorities in Wales will have Service children attending their schools, and Armed Forces families playing a part in their local communities. As members of the Community Covenant in Wales all local authorities will recognise the need to promote this guidance far and wide, and support the continued development of the SSCE Cymru project to help ensure greater understanding and support for those children who may need it."
Laura Bryon, project officer for SSCE Cymru said:
"Through the course of the year we have met with many resilient children and families who cope really well with the multiple moves and deployments. The guidance seeks to highlight the simple things that can pose big challenges for these children such as missing a parent who is away in a dangerous part of the world, settling into yet another new school, or missing parts of their learning because of different programmes of study in different countries. We have learnt a lot from the schools who are already working closely with their armed forces communities, and from parents who have highlighted issues they would like more information on. We hope these guides provide the first clear step to providing every school and armed forces parent the information they are looking for."
Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills said:
“The children of Service personnel may face particular challenges as a result of increased mobility which can impact on the stability of their education. It is important, therefore, that we provide the appropriate level of information and support to help ensure that their learning is not adversely affected. That’s why this All-Wales guidance is so important. It will help schools to understand the circumstances that Service children find themselves in and it will provide parents with useful advice and information to help support their children’s learning”.
Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services said:
“As public spending cuts continue to impact on services, we must continue to work together across organisations and service providers to identify joint priorities and focus resources where needed. It is particularly important that information on public services can be accessed quickly and easily. Initiatives such as this help provide the much needed support our Armed Forces community both depend on and deserve.”