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About Service children Data

Why we capture data on Service children

  • Data is the key to understanding the impact of an Armed Forces lifestyle on Service children
  • Schools can be better prepared to support their Service children
  • Comparisons can be made on attainment levels between Service and non-Service children
  • Patterns in school absence can be identified
  • Local authorities can prepare to support Service children with their mental health and wellbeing needs
  • Agencies can provide support and identify where there are gaps in provision
  • Resources can be targeted to support specific needs in different geographical locations
  • Further research can be conducted with an inclusive group of participants.

In the Welsh Government Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2018, Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education, made a commitment to collect data on Service children in Wales. SSCE Cymru and the Directorate of Children and Young People of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are supporting Welsh Government in implementing this change.

*Definition 1 (Welsh Government definition)

A ‘Service child’ has parent(s) – or person(s) with exercising parental responsibility – who is/are Service personnel serving:
• in HM Regular Armed Forces
• in full commitment as part of the full-time Reserve service
• is a veteran who has been in Service within the last two years
• one of their parents died whilst serving in the Armed Forces and the pupil receives a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pensions Scheme.

**Definition 2

A person whose parent, or carer, serves in the regular Armed Forces, or as a Reservist, or has done at any point during the first 25 years of that person’s life (SCiP Alliance definition) - and does not meet the criteria of definition 1.

Service parent/carer survey (2020).

Challenges schools face in supporting Service children: 58% Identifying Service children.

Service parent/carer survey (2020).

Support systems that would be beneficial to Service child(ren): 61% Identifying Service children during the admission process.

I’ve enjoyed going around to lots of places around the world, its adventurous and exciting.

Supporting Service Children in Education Cymru: A Study of Data and Support Provision in Wales (2015)

Commissioned by SSCE Cymru and conducted by the Data Unit Wales, this report involved interviews with schools from across Wales and found that there was very little data on Service children available, indicating a need for more information and guidance to enable schools to collect data and access support.

What the report did identify, based on the most recent census data (2011), is that there are Service families with children up to the age of 16 across all 22 local authorities in Wales. The 2011 census data indicates that there are a minimum of 2,486 children in Wales where the HRP (household reference person) indicated that he or she was in the Armed Forces. This does not include information where the non-HRP(s) is/are in the Armed Forces, or information on veterans or Reservists, or where families with Service children do not live at the same address.

Download the full report here

Service children in Wales

SSCE Cymru worked with all 22 local authorities and independent schools in Wales to conduct a data collection activity on Service children. This provided a snapshot of the number and location of Service children in Wales as of March 2021.


Click on the name of a local authority to see the data.

Anglesey Gwynedd Conwy Denbighshire Flintshire Wrexham Ceredigion Powys Pembrokeshire Carmarthenshire Swansea Neath Port Talbot Bridgend Rhondda Cynon Taf Merthyr Tydfil Caerphilly Vale of Glamorgan Cardiff Torfaen Newport Blaenau Gwent Monmouthshire

For the purpose of the data collection exercise, SSCE Cymru encouraged local authorities and schools to identify Service children using two definitions (see above). The data provided in the heatmap is the combined total of the two definitions, where provided. The data also includes independent schools in Wales.

  Number of Service children (SC)
Local authority (LA) Total number of schools in LA Schools with SC Definition 1* Definition 2** Total
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council 29 7 14 2 16
Bridgend County Borough Council 61 32 64 37 101
Caerphilly County Borough Council 85 49 116 92 208
Cardiff Council 130 42 79 26 105
Carmarthenshire County Council 113 44 77 64 141
Ceredigion County Council 47 2 7 1 8
Conwy County Borough Council 64 19 61 37 98
Denbighshire County Council 56 25 50 52 102
Flintshire County Council Unknown Unknown 39 30 69
Gwynedd County Council 98 9 45 11 56
Isle of Anglesey County Council 47 8 68 7 75
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council 28 21 36 30 66
Monmouthshire County Council 38 14 39 18 57
Neath Port Talbot Council 62 26 72 Unknown 72
Newport City Council 55 24 72 18 90
Pembrokeshire County Council 62 25 153 57 210
Powys County Council 97 32 224 Unknown 224
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council 115 50 114 41 155
Swansea Council 95 35 70 48 118
Torfaen County Borough Council 33 18 35 Unknown 35
Vale of Glamorgan Council 56 27 287 Unknown 287
Wrexham County Borough Council 69 16 23 17 40
    520 1745 588 2333

Inform SSCE Cymru of the Service children in your school

Help us to gather data on the number and location of Service children in Wales, so that we can ensure schools gain maximum benefit from the vast amount of resources and support that is available to them.

See the Template: Letter to parents on the SSCE Cymru Tools section of our website.

By completing the following form, you will also be signing up to receive the SSCE Cymru quarterly newsletter, which provides details of events, resources, funding and support that are available through the SSCE Cymru Network.

School information

Service children’s quotes

"As soon as we get used to a house, you get moved - I’ve been to four schools and moved six times."


"I lived in Nepal, then we went to Brunei, then Malaysia."


"In my eyes, you have hundreds of friends in different places."


"I’m used to moving now and mixing with the children... I’ve done it so many times, it’s just a normal thing now."


"It's ok talking over skype and that, but sometimes you just want a hug when Dad is away."


"I’ve enjoyed going around to lots of places around the world, it's adventurous and exciting."


"In my eyes, you have hundreds of friends in different places."


"My mum got a chalk board and it says how many sleeps on it with chalk, every minute it’s getting closer for him coming home."


"I don’t want him to get promoted... I want him to get promoted but I don’t want to leave."


"I might be going to boarding school so that I don’t change schools every few years."


"I've been to seven different schools; I’ve not stayed put in one school long enough."


"He has been away for six months and he is back for two weeks, then he goes away again."


"My parents were in the Army. My mum is a like a nurse and my dad went to the war in Afghanistan. I actually didn’t really know what he was doing so I was like, ‘Cool Dad, go there,’ but then I found out and thought, 'Thank God he came back alive.'"


"He signed off last week, so he will be done by the end of this year. He’s done 24 years. I find that better because he will be around a lot. He likes watching us playing rugby, so he will get to see us more."


"I’m going to a new place entirely. They don’t know anything about me and that’s a big restart and that’s really good for me."


"I moved to Wales because my dad was posted in the Army. I thought I would get bullied and I was shy when you meet new people, but I made some friends."