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Treffos Independent School and Nursery (Isle of Anglesey) - Understanding Service children experiences and challenges

Treffos Independent School and Nursery (Isle of Anglesey) - Understanding Service children experiences and challenges

Treffos Independent School and Nursery is situated 20 miles from RAF Valley, the main station with serving personnel in the area. There is also a smaller Army unit, which has tri-Service personnel within six miles of the school. The majority of children of Armed Forces personnel at the school are currently serving and from a variety of Armed Forces Services. We provide a minibus from different locations to support children with their journey to and from school.

Number of Service children at Treffos Independent School and Nursery: 20 (16%)

Case study completed by: Linda Wright (Deputy Headteacher)

  1. Challenges that Service children face
  2. Identifying Service children’s needs
  3. Support strategies
  4. Measuring impact and success
  5. Links with the Armed Forces and local community.

1.    What challenges do Service children and families face at Treffos Independent School and Nursery?

  • Many children will often have gaps in their learning
  • Some children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) have not previously had their needs recognised and supported
  • Some children’s attainment across different curriculum subjects is not consistent, due to the gaps in their learning skills
  • Children have different experiences of other education systems and this can impact on their progress e.g. Some families have undertaken exchanges abroad and children have been educated in other countries and systems
  • Separation within the family caused by different types of deployment or whilst parents work away for different periods of time (weekending).

2.     How does Treffos Independent School and Nursery identify and monitor Service children’s needs?

  • Pre-visits to the school are encouraged for all families
  • Programmes of assessments across the curriculum are carried out. This helps teachers baseline children’s abilities and ALN requirements during their first weeks at the school
  • We hold regular Pupil Progress meetings to review learning outcomes
  • We use Incerts to plot progress across curriculum subjects regularly
  • The school participates in the National Welsh Tests which identify a standardised scores for children
  • Using SMART targets and class targets we support children’s development
  • Parents are involved in their child’s learning and provided with feedback on progression
  • Regular parent curriculum meetings are held, so that they are aware of the learning and expectations for their child.

3.    What strategies and support activities are available at Treffos Independent School and Nursery once a need is recognised?

  • Service children are identified as a group of learners and their progress is closely monitored
  • The school’s ratio of adult to child is high in each class, we can provide small group support and teaching opportunities
  • Assessments and data are monitored regularly by the teachers and leadership team
  • The school uses the Incerts programme to track data and curriculum outcomes
  • We identify children under achieving and ask questions about the reasons for this – strategies are put in place to support the development of the challenging areas. This can be home life support as well as specific learning support in class
  • The school can help parents to organise additional support to children with ALN through a tutor
  • We are supportive of accommodating families if they need family time before/after a deployment.

4.    How does Treffos Independent School and Nursery measure the success and impact of support and strategies?

  • Inserts gives the school regular data for each child across the curriculum to measure progress and attainment
  • An indicator of the school’s effectiveness is the year on year high level of attainment in the National Tests
  • The confidence of the children reflects the effectiveness of high self-esteem using the Philosophy 4 Children curriculum strands
  • Parent feedback is positive and supports the impact we have on children’s learning
  • Parental/ Pupil Questionnaires are used to review impact.

5.    What links does Treffos Independent School and Nursery have with the Armed Forces and local community?

The school benefits from opportunities to embrace Armed Forces life with opportunities for shared learning from the Search and Rescue Dogs Association Wales (SARDA) volunteers who support the local mountain rescue training unit, hands-on experiences from the parents based at RAF Valley, including; fly pasts over the school on their duty route/practice including, planned helicopters landing on the lawn as part of learning experiences, helicopter and flight simulator learning sessions at the station, invitations to special events on local Armed Forces station – renaming aircraft, memorial services and fund day events. The school also invites local artists and writers to work with children across the school with different projects, to enhance learning opportunities. Other activities include:

  • Attendance at RAF Valley children and young person board meeting to support the local Armed Forces network and school developments
  • Liaison with Dean Clark, Community and Youth Support Officer, who is also the Armed Forces Champion for the area
  • Regular liaison with key personnel regarding allowances/funding
  • Attendance at local community events
  • Liaison with specialist tutors at Bangor University who come and support children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. We also host teachers in training to develop their teaching practice
  • Hockey Cymru - As part of the Hooked on Hoci programme the children have access to a range of coach mentoring and weekly teaching sessions. Hooked on Hoci gives the children the opportunity to  access high quality hockey teaching and to the development of skills which is contemporary, engaging  and fun.
  • Tennis coaching is available during summer term
  • We support charities through fundraising events and activities across the year
  • We work alongside the John Egging Trust to develop activities and fundraising
  • The school is involved with STEM workshops and activities, including engineering from RAF Valley and team building activities
  • Involvement with Never Such Innocence, an online resource that supports a knowledge and understanding of emotional needs and the Armed Forces.

Messages from Service families

“Thank you for providing our children with an excellent grounding and a great start to their education at Treffos. Treffos to us is so much more that a school and we shall miss it but will look back with great fondness and happiness!”

“Treffos is a remarkable school, a home away from home, full of love, passion and joy.”

 “The children have a sense of belonging which is priceless.”

Date produced: July 2020



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."