The Defence Committee today announces a major new inquiry into the provision of education to the children of Service personnel.
This inquiry will be the third in a series of inquiries looking at the Armed Forces Covenant. The Committee’s first inquiry into the Armed Forces Covenant was on the support and treatment of military casualties and the Report was published on 15 December 2011. The Committee’s second inquiry was into the accommodation provided for Service personnel and their families, that Report was published on 26 June 2012.
The Armed Forces Covenant states that:
Children of members of the Armed Forces should have the same standard of, and access to, education (including early years services) as any other UK citizen in the area in which they live. The Services should aim to facilitate this in the way they manage personnel, but there should also be special arrangements to support access to schools if a place is required part way through an academic year as a consequence of a posting. For personnel posted overseas, the MoD provides early years and educational facilities where the numbers support it, although the range of provision and choice may not be as great as in the UK. In certain cases assistance will be available to support Service children’s continuity of education, given the requirement for mobility.
The Committee wishes to examine the services provided for the children of service men and women, and take the opportunity to follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations of its Report Educating Service Children, to consider which have been adopted by Government.
The Committee will consider the difficulties facing Service families when their children have to move schools during term time, including the transfer of schooling records to new schools. The Committee also wishes to consider the particular problems facing those Service families who have children with Special Educational Needs. The Committee will look at the range of financial support schemes available to support Service families.
In particular, the Committee is interested in:
- The difficulties facing Service families in achieving the same standard of education for their children as they would if they were civilians in the UK or overseas;
- The provision of education for all Service children from pre-school to age 19, including those with special needs;
- The transfer of information about pupils between schools, in particular pupils with Special Educational Needs;
- The effectiveness of the various financial support schemes for all Service families;
- The adequacy of oversight and monitoring of Service Children’s education.
The Committee intends to develop a web forum to obtain the opinions of a wide range of Service personnel and their families.
How to respond
The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry. This should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 21 January 2013. If you have any queries on the submission of evidence contact Christine Randall, Senior Committee Assistant, tel: 0207 219 6872, email: [email protected]