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Evidence 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, former 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.

Welsh Governments definition of a Service child:

A ‘Service child’ has parent(s) or person(s) exercising parental responsibility who is/are Service personnel serving:

  • In HM Regular or Reserve Armed Forces – Royal Navy and Royal Marines; British Army and Royal Air Force, Or
  • Is an Armed Forces Veteran who has been in Service within the past two years, Or
  • One of their parents died whilst serving in the Armed Forces and the learner has received a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pensions Scheme.

SSCE Cymru also encourages schools to consider identifying children and young people who don’t fit within the above definition but have a link to the Armed Forces.

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 August 2023.


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 encourages 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 30 6 12 21 33
Bridgend County Borough Council 60 43 179 109 288
Caerphilly County Borough Council 86 25 50 44 94
Cardiff Council 125 27 81 8 89
Carmarthenshire County Council 109 48 128 38 166
Ceredigion County Council 47 21 33 27 60
Conwy County Borough Council 59 27 73 32 105
Denbighshire County Council 56 23 30 42 72
Flintshire County Council 81 22 57 33 90
Gwynedd County Council 95 9 8 8 16
Isle of Anglesey County Council 46 14 46 23 69
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council 29 17 46 7 53
Monmouthshire County Council 34 21 71 42 113
Neath Port Talbot Council 62 30 57 38 95
Newport City Council 56 41 106 105 211
Pembrokeshire County Council 62 29 159 120 279
Powys County Council 90 26 174 24 198
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council 115 56 226 44 269
Swansea Council 94 39 77 68 145
Torfaen County Borough Council 33 25 54 1 55
Vale of Glamorgan Council 55 39 325 7 332
Wrexham County Borough Council 70 19 34 25 59
  1494 607 2026 866 2891

* data correct as of May 2024

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, to ensure schools gain the best possible support for Service children.

Schools can utilise the following template: Letter to parents on the SSCE Cymru Tools section of our website.

Please note by completing this form you will be added to the SSCE Cymru network. SSCE Cymru will share details of any upcoming events, funding, the School Bulletin, resources and support available from the SSCE Cymru team.


 Click here to complete our online form

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."