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Schools & Local Authorities Covid-19 support

Covid-19 support

The SSCE Cymru Network would like to say a huge thank you to Service personnel and their families, who are vital in contributing to the fight against Covid-19.

This page provides information/advice/guidance and signposting to organisations and resources relevant to supporting Service children during the Coronavirus pandemic. It also provides an overview of the actions SSCE Cymru has undertaken to understand the impact of Covid-19 on Service children. We have included activities to support Service children, schools/education settings, local authorities and parents/carers of Service children.

It is not uncommon for Service children to experience regular changes to their family and school lifestyle, which can be at relatively short notice. Service families are adaptable and generally very resilient in times of uncertainty. They also have access to a lot of support from the MOD and charities including the family federations, and through many Armed Forces community networks.

 

SSCE Cymru

Activities that have been carried out or are taking place by SSCE Cymru in response to the needs identified include:

  • Conducted an SSCE Cymru ‘Covid-19 impact on Service children’ school consultation (April-May 2020)
  • Working with the MOD and Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) to ensure they are well informed of the impact Covid-19 has on Service children in Wales
  • Collaborative working with relevant organisations and institutions across the UK, through the SCiP Alliance, to identify needs collectively and respond with a joined up and consistent approach
  • Continuing to support schools and parents/carers of Service children through virtual communications
  • Identifying ways that the four new Service Children – Regional School Liaison Officers (starting in September) can support local authorities and schools during the recovery period
  • Delivered a virtual funding workshop on Friday 29th May and supported schools in applying for funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust Forces Communities Together programme
  • Delivered a virtual school collaboration meeting on Wednesday 15th July to provide a platform for schools to share their observations and pose questions to each other
  • Continuing to update and review the information and support detailed on this webpage
  • An awareness of Welsh Government changes and updates to education and curriculum delivery and return to school guidelines and policy.

If you have any questions about the content or suggestions on further details to include on this information page, please contact SSCECymru@wlga.gov.uk 

School observations

The SSCE Cymru Covid-19 impact on Service children school consultation carried out in April-May 2020 identified the following messages:

  • Service children may experience increased or new worries about their parent’s exposure to Coronavirus while they are supporting the efforts to overcome Covid-19
  • Separation from parents/carers may be experienced for the first time as regular and reservist Service personnel are mobilised and families establish ways to stay safe while following social distancing guidance
  • Some Service children are attending the school Hubs, but the majority are being educated at home while the schools are closed
  • Schools face the additional challenges of identifying and supporting Service children with emotional needs while communicating remotely
  • Service children that have only recently moved to the school/area have not had the opportunity to settle in and make friends
  • The Ministry of Defence (MOD) postings freeze meant many Service families that were due to leave have stayed and children that were due to join have been delayed, causing additional anxieties for families.

Additional observations from schools include:

  • Service children experiencing feelings of uncertainty and disruption are not dissimilar to those felt during deployments and postings
  • The impact on Service families has been similar to that of other families, including an inability to access school putting strains on some home situations
  • Service children are at risk of being additionally disadvantaged by the loss of learning as they may have already been impacted by exceptional mobility and attended several schools with different curriculums
  • There is additional anxiety for learners whose parents are currently mobilised
  • Uncertainty due to delayed moves has created additional challenges for Service families
  • More communication with families during lockdown has enhanced relationships between the school and parents in some cases
  • Families felt it was good for the children to have regular contact with a teacher through phone calls to bring a sense of normality
  • Identification of Service children has proven to be extremely beneficial in the school’s ability to swiftly recognise those learners that may be experiences additional challenges
  • Nepalese speaking school staff have been vital in enabling communication with EAL families
  • Check-in sessions have been invaluable in preparing children to return to school in September.

School support

As identified during discussions with schools in Wales, examples of how they have supported their Service children and families during lockdown and school closure include:

  • Hub provision for Service children
  • Regular communications and check-ins with children and families though virtual means, including phone calls, emails, social media, Schoop messaging service and school websites
  • Monitoring progress and engagement during check-in and safeguarding activities
  • The continuation of support from dedicated staff members responsible for Service families has provided a consistent single point of contact
  • Virtual transition activities and transferring of records for children due to leave or join the school
  • Home learning support by delivering academic and emotional support virtually
  • Identifying and promoting relevant learning and physical activities that can be carried out at home as individuals or as a family
  • Creating opportunities for children to communicate with each other virtually
  • Staff undertaking training, including ACEs, Trauma Awareness and Impact of Covid-19 on Children courses
  • Utilised resources made available through local authorities and education consortia service
  • Conducted risk assessments on the impact of Covid-19 on Service families
  • Produced resources with an Armed Forces theme to prompt discussions and create learning and reflection opportunities for families.

As identified during discussions with schools in Wales, examples of how they plan to support their Service children and families during the recovery period include:

  • Focusing on emotional support, utilising ELSA and Thrive trained staff
  • Gaining an understanding of the impact of Covid-19 to ensure they are ready to support learners returning in September
  • Identifying further staff training and CPD that will support learners emotionally and with catch up requirements
  • Collaborating with other schools to share good practice of ways to support Service children during transition in and out of schools
  • Identifying activities for families to participate in over the summer break, approaching the local MOD engagement and welfare teams
  • Staying in touch with families to ensure they are well prepared for the return to school
  • Considering applications to relevant funding streams to secure the staff members who are responsible for supporting Service children and families
  • Planning for a potential second spike and school closure.

Education information

Welsh Government

Relevant guidance, written statements and information on specific services is available and regularly updated on the Welsh Government website, including details for specific groups of learners.

Education and childcare: Coronavirus

Hwb: Distance learning tools

Read more

UK Government

A range of information available for Parents and carers, Teachers and Schools, colleges, and childcare providers.

Coronavirus: Education and childcare

Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

Read more

Qualifications Wales

See the website for the most up-to-date information, including a series of frequently asked questions and blogs by the Chief Executive and senior staff.

Coronavirus – Covid-19

Read more

Armed Forces organisations support

Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

Information about how the trust are supporting grant holders, as well as details on emergency funds available and the launch of a package of programmes to support the Armed Forces Community.

Covid19 response

Read more

Naval Families Federation

Information for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families during the coronavirus outbreak.

Covid-19 updates

Working Away From Home: COVID-19 Resource 

Useful Resources/ Fun Activities To Do At Home

Read more

Reading Force

Keeping forces families close and connected through shared stories.

Resources

Read more

Making Generation R

The Making Generation R programme supports injured veterans to take their inspiring stories about overcoming adversity into schools across the UK. Over 70,000 young people have already experienced a Making Generation R workshop in person, with a Blesma Member visiting their school and sharing their incredible story of Resilience. BLESMA are continuing running this programme in the form of a free digital Resilience Resource available for all secondary schools in the U.K.

Digital resilience resources for schools

Read more

Mental health and wellbeing support

Home-schooling 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."

Aiden

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

Ashim

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

Chloe

"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."

Chloe

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

Georgia

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

Harry

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

Ieuan

"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."

Mia

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

Oliver

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

Ryan

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

Shana

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

Sianed

"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.'"

Sanjog

"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."

Lewis

"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."

Piaras

"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."

Dan