Attendees and apologies
- Scottish Government (SG) Learning Directorate (chair)
- SG Armed Forces and Veterans Group (AFVG)
- Education Scotland (ES)
- ADES Adviser
- ADES National Transitions Officer (NTO)
- Forces Children Scotland (FCS)
- head teacher representatives
- deputy commander HQ 51st Infantry Brigade
- Royal Navy (RN)
- MOD Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS)
Items and actions
- firm base engagement – The Chair will send an invitation to the Deputy Commander of HQ 51st Infantry Brigade to attend the next meeting (chair)
- SAFESG meeting with Families Federation (FF) Representatives – an invitation will be sent for the FFs to attend the June meeting (chair)
- safeguarding – an update will be requested for the next meeting (secretary)
- wrap-around childcare – to be added to the agenda for the next meeting (secretary)
Supporting armed forces children
The head teacher representatives updated on how they are supporting Armed Forces children within their schools. At an individual school level some challenges were highlighted in receiving information ahead of children arriving, including around additional support needs, and ways to improve information flow are being explored.
Standing agenda items
Additional Support for Learning Action Plan progress – a meeting has taken place to look at the measurement framework linked to wider achievement. A written update is to follow.
Safeguarding – an update will be sought for the next meeting.
Living in Our Shoes (Andrew Selous report) – recommendations in the report will be reflected in the AF Families Strategy and the action plan. An Education Working Group will be established and should have Education Scotland representation, and will feed into to this work.
Collection and use of data – The NTO is working collaboratively with Skills Development Scotland to improve markers for AF children in a pilot project across 3 LAs and secondary schools. ADES Data Collection Exercise 2021 information will be presented first to ADES and LAs, and it is hoped that their permission will then be given to share more widely.
Updates from group members
Chair – Tracking children’s outcomes - The Chair clarified that parent’s permission is required before tracking data on children’s outcomes.
FCS – The new Strategic Plan is due for launch in March. Website development continues and will host the Your Mind Matters platform. A young person led campaign will take place at an event in the summer. FCS is also focusing on the Forces Life board game and comic. A new Learning Development Officer has been recruited and will be involved in the website development. A Participation Worker (North) will also be recruited. Notes from the Advisory Group meeting on 21 February will be shared with the group.
Army – December had been quite a busy month for overseas exercises and continued Covid support has been given to health boards. The Brigade is preparing for the implementation of the Integrated Review which was announced in November 2021 which will see a reduction in numbers. Command of some Units will be transferred elsewhere, and the Brigade will re-role to a Regional Headquarters later in 2022 with more focus on the lived experience. A first meeting has taken place to discuss engaging with families to seek their views and experience on moving to Scotland.
RAF – The MOD have been trialling a funded wrap-around childcare programme for Primary aged school children of serving parents. This has been piloted at selected sites in England, including those with a major RAF presence. The RAF Representative expressed concerns that, should this be rolled out across the UK that, in certain locations in Scotland, there could be insufficient supply of out of school care to meet needs. A request was made for wrap around child-care to be added as an agenda item for discussion at future meetings. This was agreed.
NTO – The NTO has continued to facilitate the Armed Forces Working Group/Professional Learning Network and GIRFFF groups. There has been an increase in hits to the Forces Children’s Education Website and social network sites. April will be Month of the Military Child and an opportunity to promote the benefits of AF children within schools. Resources are available to support this initiative. The NTO is also working with LAs on an Armed Forces Covenant legislation advice document which will be shared with the SG AFVG. Other resources being developed include secondary school enrolment advice for parents and staff, ASN guidance around transitions, Parental Engagement Guidance, and a national transitions survey for parents. The NTO is also working with Napier University on presentation of data.
The Chair acknowledged that the Education Support Funding for the NTO post would come to an end at the end of March and that this would be the NTO’s last meeting. Group members passed on their sincere thanks for the passion and commitment the NTO has given to the role and the significant achievements realised over many years. The Group passed on their best wishes for the future.
Date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting is Wednesday 8 June 2022.
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