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Welcome to our Blog!

Posted 16/4/2018

Hope you had a gorgeous Easter break and are rested and ready for the craziness that is summer term!  At the end of last term the SPC Team decided that in order to reach their target audience (you!) and keep up with the times it was time to let the ‘Schools and Settings with Service Families: Update’ go and try a new form of communication.  Our plan is to write a monthly blog which will contain all the information the SSSF:Update contained but in smaller, easier to read bursts!  You can let us know if we’re getting it right!

The start of a new term is a good time to reflect on the term before.  On February 2nd North Yorkshire hosted the North of England SCISS Conference at the Pavilions of Harrogate.  120 delegates attended the event organised by Matt Blyton with the assistance of Annabel Hall and Grahame Shepherd.  The conference was opened by Anne Longfield OBE, National Children’s Commissioner for England who gave an indication of her knowledge of the challenges Service pupils face and her support for the partnerships being developed to support them which was fitting given that the theme of the 2018 conference was ‘Developing effective partnerships to support the education & welfare of children of Armed Forces’. The day was filled with interesting workshops and presentations from a variety of contributors including Lisa Thipthorp of the Royal Air Force Families Federation who gave an inspiring presentation on the impact of deployment on RAF families and Louise Fentigan of Little Troopers talking about the resources Little Troopers can offer schools to help them support Service pupils.  Many delegates were particularly interested in the presentation by Alan Behagg and Charmian Hickman of the Armed Forces Education Trust who offered free money!

 

Entertainment for the day was provided by children from Le Cateau Primary School who performed two traditional Nepalese dances and were fantastic! 

 

Response to the Conference from delegates was positive:

 

61% of delegates said they felt ‘better able to identify and understand some of the challenges facing children and young people from Armed Forces families.’

 

62% of delegates said they ‘had a better understanding of where to go for assistance with supporting Armed Forces children and young people.’

 

Of the many positive comments received, one delegate commented that there was a ‘Really good range of interesting speakers/topics which reinforced key issues for Service pupils/families plus offering very practical ideas of sources of support.’

 

SEND Update

Over the last 18months Annabel and I have spent an increasing amount of time supporting families of Service pupils with SEND.  This has led to us developing a close working relationship with the SEN Team at County Hall which has resulted in the agreement that PARO Alison Hall will act as primary point of contact for military families moving into North Yorkshire who have children with SEND.  This has already proved to be a positive move enabling families to have smoother transitions to schools in North Yorkshire.  At our last meeting with the SEN Team, Nikki Joyce, Head of SEND announced that a year-long trial would begin this April offering exceptional SEND support funding for 3 groups of children/young people: 

  • children going through transition for instance Year 6 to 7;

  • children who have experienced sudden trauma or change;

  • moved in children, particularly Service pupils, to support while long term plans are made

We are hopeful that this exceptional funding will enable schools to support children and young people while long term plans and funding (where required) are put in place.

 

Service Pupils’ Champion Role

In February Annabel and I were delighted to receive conformation that the Armed Forces Education Trust will fund the role of Service Pupils’ Champion for a year which means the role can continue until Summer 2019.

 

Diary Dates 2018:

Creative Forces Day – 19th & 20th April 2018

Armed Forces Day for Children – Thursday 14th June

Remembrance Service at Ripon Cathedral – Friday 9th November

 

You will have already received email information about the Creative Forces Day & the AFD for Children but if you would like further information then please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

So, we’ve reached the end of Blog #1 – how was it for you?!  Don’t worry, it’ll get better the more we do it!

 

Nickie Young

Service Pupils’ Champion

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