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Secondary schools

Llantwit Major High School (Vale of Glamorgan) - Effective use of funding to support Service children

Llantwit Major High School (Vale of Glamorgan) - Effective use of funding to support Service children

Llantwit Major High School is situated close to RAF St. Athans and the majority of Service families at the school have at least one parent currently serving.

Some families have settled in the area and the parent commutes to their place of work and may stay away during the week. This allows continuity for their children’s education. There are limited deployments to war zones at present. Therefore, separation can be due to commuting, deployment, attending training or other Service tasks. Mobility of families is mainly through trickle postings, (a few at a time) and parents can be reluctant to share information regarding deployments with the school.

Over the last few years Llantwit Major High School has been successful in their applications for a variety of bids from the MOD Education Support Fund, Supporting Service Children in Education Wales Fund and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund – small grants. Through their rigorous identification, tracking and monitoring of children’s learning and progress, they have identified a variety of support strategies that impact on pupil’s learning and mental health and wellbeing; in turn, enabling pupils to be confident and successful learners.


Number of Service children at Llantwit Major High School: 91 (9%)

Case study completed by: Leanne Pownall (Deputy Headteacher), Hayley Marshallsay (MOD Coordinator)

Estyn Report 2017

"The school provides beneficial support for pupils’ wellbeing and encourages successfully their involvement in the life of the school and of the wider community."


What strategies does Llantwit Major High School use to impact on the progress of Service children in their school?

1. Staffing
2. Clubs and activities
3. Mental health and wellbeing
4. Links with the Armed Forces and local community
5. Collaboration.

1.    How does Llantwit Major High School use staffing to support Service children?

  • The Deputy Headteacher – supports the development of the needs of Service children, oversees actions alongside the MOD Coordinator
  • The Head of Year Seven Leader is also the MOD Coordinator, a role that involves: knowing who the Service children are across the school, tracking and monitoring the progress of the identified group of children and ensuring support strategies and activities are in place and impact on pupil’s learning and mental health and wellbeing. They also support transition of the incoming Year Seven and from the local Year Six cluster schools
  • One Learning Support Assistant (LSA) provides support across the school and cluster primary schools with support
  • Two LSAs support all pupils, including Service, children with interventions E.g. Learning and mental health and well-being. These LSAs are trained in Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA) and deliver this in groups or 1:1 sessions.

2. What clubs and activities does Llantwit Major High School provide?

  • A Motivational Preparational College for Training (MPCT) member of staff works regularly across the school with all students providing a lunchtime club, in-class interventions and an after-school club. Children work through a leadership course and towards a qualification and MPCT provides support with the transition programme from Year Six to Year Seven
  • MKC Heroes club runs at lunchtime for Service children to attend
  • A variety of summer and winter sports and activities are available, including residentials – MPCT supports with some of these events
  • Sixth form students undertake paid tutoring to the younger pupils as required in English/Mathematics and Science, overseen by a member of staff
  • MOD ambassadors (pupils) support with transition activities and events
  • All activities and events are displayed on the MOD board in the school corridor and is updated regularly
  • We ensure that Service children have the support and input that they need in a timely fashion and when it is required, there is an understanding of the needs of Service children across the school staff.

3. How do Llantwit Major High School support children’s mental health and wellbeing?

  • The teachers or head of year will refer the pupil to the MOD Coordinator, following identification of needs, they will then communicate with the child, parent and offer available support
  • Catherine Child, Community Development worker from the local military base, already works with several of the Service families and supports with activities and events with children requiring emotional support
  • The school understands the difficulty of holidaying together due to a parent’s absence and takes that into account when parents request a leave of absence
  • Service children and non-service can attend events and activities across the year
  • ELSA support is available in groups or 1:1
  • Drop ins with the MOD Coordinator - are offered daily, as required
  • MOD ambassadors available for support with younger children - guided by the MOD Coordinator
  • Staff spend time getting to know children as they transition to the school from the local primary cluster
  • Support books are available - the children have requested some different titles of books to borrow from the library, these are specifically for Service children and stored in the MOD Coordinators area
  • The schools also understands that some Service children won’t need support and use their own coping strategies to deal with the challenges they may face. Ensuring children understand what support and advice is available to them should they need it, is a core focus at the school for all children, not only Service children.

4. How do you make links with the Armed Forces community?

  • Attendance at local community events such as; Field of Remembrance with pupil representatives attending
  • Charity fundraiser events; Red white and blue day and Poppy Appeal
  • Representatives attend Armed Forces Forum meetings 
  • Links with the HiVE to provide information
  • Links with the Army Families Federation support organisation
  • SSCE Cymru - attendance at Stakeholder Days, support with development of resources, regular use of the website, resources and information.

5. How does Llantwit Major High School work collaboratively?

  • A transition programme is in place with the local primary network, led by the Year 7 leader
  • Transition activities and events for local primaries - Year 6 to Year 7 across the year
  • Local primary cluster – discussion with Headteachers on what is required, which funding will be applied for, funding is a collaborative decision across the local primary schools.

What advice would Llantwit Major High School give to other schools to ensure success with the funding bid?

  • Always liaise with a local military contact/network to support with applying for the funding bid and gain advice, a strong link is very important
  • Liaise with the local Armed Forces contact to support and attend relevant meetings collaboratively
  • Always consider bidding for the funding, review what currently works well in your school and what further strategies could be funded to have an impact.

Parent feedback

“Children’s responses to the challenges they face are different to each individual, they deal with their emotions differently.”

“Every school needs an awareness of their needs across the staff, what situations may arise and what support may the children need.”

“Although the military is not high profile in the news at the moment, children still deal with separation from one or two parents, schools need to be aware of this.”

“Regular attainment checks at the school, supports children’s needs, it identifies what needs to be focused on.”

Date produced: Dec 2019

Secondary schools

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."