Scottish Armed Forces Education Support Group minutes: June 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group of June 2022

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government (SG) Learning Directorate (Chair)
  • Royal Navy (RN)
  • Naval Families Federation (NFF)
  • Deputy Commander of HQ 51st Infantry Brigade
  • Education Scotland (ES)
  • RAF
  • AFF Education
  • MOD Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS)
  • Army
  • SG Armed forces and veterans group (AFVG)


  • ADES National Transitions Officer (NTO)
  • Education Scotland

Items and actions

Forces Families Federations – updates

Royal Navy

RN have created a poster to help families moving into Scotland, it includes key support such as Additional Support Needs (ASN) and the differences between Special Educational Needs (SEND) and ASN and further guidance on that. It also touches on the differences between how funding is delivered in Scotland compared to England.

RN have been working with other families’ federation colleagues along with the armed forces Covenant team on creating a higher education and further education funding.

RN have been working with local councils to provide direct support for individuals and extra curriculum activities for Armed forces children. A high school in Helensbugh have established a ‘Forces and me’ Club which is providing support and making an impact on the older children. There are now two primary schools trialling a ‘Forces and me’ group for the children. One of those primary schools have got funding from the Naval Childrens Charity to help support them.


Echoed RN’s points around wrap around childcare and HE funding

The most common issues that has been raised from families, is the misunderstanding regarding the offer of support that is available in Scotland.

They have also had feedback from families regarding their struggles to get school placement for children moving to Scotland, this is the first time this has been a problem.

With regards to child minding, Army discussed with Scottish Child Minding association who are keen to promote the opportunity of becoming a child minder/carer within the military community and could offer them funding/ training to become this.   


With the Air Force presence growing at Lossiemouth, the support elements will need to be reviewed to make sure they can reach that demand. Similar issues that both RN and Army touched on, but the main concern is the out of school child care and how that impacts their personnel.

Items and actions

Additional support for learning (ASL) action plan progress

The governance structure for the way the action plan was managed has changed, there is now going to be a project board which will have a duel chair between SG and COSLA who will be progressing the work forward on the Action Plan. In addition to that, SG have established the ASL Network, which is a group of stakeholders who role is to feed into the action plan to help shape and develop the ongoing work. The first meeting was held to discuss where the action plan was at now, post pandemic, as it goes through a process of updating/ refreshing the actions.

Wrap-around childcare

There are some political hurdles surrounding Wrap-Around Childcare. There is quite a considerable task to be achieved in terms of demonstrating value for money, whilst we have to be prepared for the ultimate roll out of it which is the intention of the secretary of state, we also have to be mindful that this is no means a done deal. There is also practical differences between the system that is in place between England and Scotland which will need to be considered.

Living in Our Shoes (Andrew Selous report) update

There is a need to refresh the position that Andrew Selous Report is currently at, due to the initial responses to the Selous report recommendations being sent out almost two years ago.

There has been questions asked in regards to the Selous review as it was the precursor to the MOD family strategy, the consensus was that they wanted to see how the family strategy would a line to the actions/ recommendations that were made in the Selous Report.

SG are still waiting for a response from MOD on the matter, it will most likely be similar actions/ work for them to carry out.

One of the proposal points was for this group (SAFE SG) to operate as the point of reporting/ monitoring the actions towards the family Strategy from a Scottish perspective. However SG still have not seen an action plan yet for the family strategy so they are unaware of any differences between them both.    

Collection and use of data

The Chair explained that the funding for the ADES NTO that post had ended in March 2022. SG have been exploring options of gaining some interim support for that role and are hopeful to have some news for the group relatively soon regarding that opportunity.

Updates from group members

Forces Children Scotland (FCS)

FCS successfully extended the ‘Your Mind Matters’ service for another year. This is a face to face service based in Hellensburgh. It was due to end in March 2023 but have now have agreement that the service will run on into March 2024.

FCS have also been successful with funding for setting up two new services, one of which is a mental health and wellbeing support service which is being piloted for a year. The other is a family support service in central Scotland which will be focusing on supporting veterans in particular supporting children and young people from these families.

 A new strategic plan is due to be launched in the beginning of July 2022 with a focus on families, younger children and hearing the voices of children who are seldom heard. They understand that many of the children and young people they work with have additional support needs.

FCS also had a parliamentary event, end of June, where they showcased the forces life game which explain to civilians peers what life is like in a military family. The board game and a  comic going to schools across Scotland.

FCS are also working on a development of a campaign with young people as a residential (July) which includes working with a creative agency to come up with a multimedia campaign. This again will explain military life to civilian peers.

The new website is due to be launched (20th June) this website will includes the Your Mind Matters platform.

Last year FCS had high demands for their university and further education grants. This meant they had to shift funding to meet this demand, they are anticipating a high demand for the next academic year. Alongside this grant, FCS are launching a moving out of home fund which provides starter packs for young people who are moving out of the family home for the first time. 


They are currently on 24/7 operations, supporting the UK’s contributions to what has been happening in eastern Europe, deployed around the world to numerous locations. These demands have a direct and detrimental impact on the family unit, children at home and also the child’s experience of school.

Wrap around child care becomes more critical when military parent works a constant 12 hour on 12 hours off shift cycle 6 days a week.

RAF are working closely with Moray Council and the education settings across Moray to ensure that schools feel that they have the right information they need and also the correct access to supports that will help the child, especially those who are starting to present signs of trauma or stresses or strains.


The Army, similar to the RAF, are going through a frantic pace off life currently. Especially of the back of two years of support during the pandemic, with vaccination support that the Army provided and the disruption that caused to children’s education, with parents not being available to support that child. They now move into a different but equally busy period of time with operations in the current climate.

The Army have just launched its ‘lived experience’ project which is based of five themes – missing, accommodation, wellbeing, connectivity and community. The community aspect covers all areas of child care, preschool provisions and spousal employment.

51 brigade has now established a personnel support hub which can be used by all units and families in Scotland to access information. Within that support hub they have information on education, children’s education and also mental health.

Actions agreed

  • (SG) To share with the group an update regarding wrap around child care
  • (SG)To confirm policy position on SAAS funding for children from service families
  • (SG) To send out invites to the ASL Network group
  • (SG) To circulate the current recommendations/ actions from the Selous Report to the group for discussion at the next meeting
  • (SG) To send around an update on data gathering to the group
  • (AFFS) To distribute Educational Psychologist details

Any other business


The AFFS are looking for areas in which they can invest in across the UK, where they can provide some funds to schools and local authorities, looking at areas where they can work to support those children.

There are educational psychologists which are part of defence children services. They can provide information about types of resources that may be available and they also come from an armed forces prospective.    


A few years back submitted joint application between RAF Lossiemouth and 39 engineer was made to the armed forces covenant trust in order to make an education based support program called Moray dandelion project. RAF were unable to, at that time, progress with that project once the funding had been approved due to the pandemic. However RAF have had clearance from Moray council along with the armed forces covenant trust to recommence the work to get that project relaunched. RAF would hope by the next SAFESG meeting, will be in a stronger position to discuss the project in more detail.

Date of next meeting

Date of next meeting with be 8 September 2022.


Scottish Armed Forces Education Support Group

Back to top