Scottish Armed Forces Education Support Group minutes: May 2024

Minutes from the Scottish Armed Forces Education Support Group chaired by Scottish Government on 25 March 2024.


Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government (SG) Learning Directorate (Chair)
  • Scottish Government (SG) Learning Directorate (Minutes)
  • Education Scotland Inclusion, Wellbeing and Equalities (ES)
  • Scottish Government (SG) Safer Communities Directorate 
  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) National Education and Transitions Officer (NETO)
  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) Advisor (AA)
  • Royal Navy (RN)
  • MOD Armed Forces, Children and Young People Directorate (MOD)
  • MOD Army Representative
  • RAF
  • Naval Family Federation (NFF)
  • Army Family Federation (AFF)
  • Deputy Commander of HQ 51st Infantry Brigade
  • RAF Family Federation (RAF-FF)

Apologies

  • Forces Children Scotland (FCS)

Items and actions

Additional support for learning action plan

The following progress update on the Additional Support for Learning Review (ASL) Action Plan was shared with the group:

  • Slides were shared with the group explaining the Governance structure, including the ASL Project Board and the subgroups that help support the progression of the Action Plan
  • The ES representative chairs a subgroup of the ASL review project board and provided an overview and update, providing members of the group with the background to why this review took place and the findings
  • The Children and Young People Educational Committee recently concluded an Inquiry into Additional Support Needs (ASN), the outcome of this inquiry is due in May
  • Once the recommendations are received from this inquiry, these will be taken into consideration by the Project Board and an Action Plan update will be published in Autumn 2024
  • ES then went on to share a few of the actions that link in with the work that members of SAFESG currently do including the resources, support and Professional Learning that are available

Review of actions from previous meeting

SG and ADES will continue to have discussions to ensure the information we are collating is comparable to what is currently available.

SG to update to terms of reference.  SG have shared with the group an updated ToR and members are to write in if they would like any amended.

Actions:

  • SG will contact ADES to arrange a meeting to discuss
  • To consider adding that an invitation may be extended to stakeholders for specific meetings, this will allow members to have better insight into their policy area

Safeguarding

There were no safeguarding concerns raised by members of the group.

Data collection

SG have put a case forward to data analysists and they are meeting with Local Authorities in May 2024 to discuss.

Action:

  • SG will share the outcome at the next meeting.

Transitions

A meeting has taken place with Leuchars and the Local Authority to provide an awareness of the planned move and start putting appropriate processes into place. There is now a good connection between all involved in the Leuchars uplift in personnel.

Update from Group Members

RAF-FF are running a forum for service personnel and families looking at specialist educational needs. This is an opportunity for families to share their experiences of accessing support, good practice, organisations that have supported them and challenges that they have encountered. This will take place on the 18 June 2024 and further information on this is available to view on their website.

A survey will be put out in Summer 2024, this survey will be looking into childcare and how they found accessing it. This will be shared within the UK and overseas.

RAF-FF continue to receive enquires on school admissions, ASL and childcare, specifically childcare availability and the different offers across the devolved nations.  Highland Council have developed resources to welcome children into the highlands, this includes booklets and posters.

NFF are putting together information pack for families moving to Scotland, this will include education, communities, health, and wellbeing. This is something that is updated regularly and will be shared with group once its completed.

NFF are also holding meetings with practitioners in Argyll and Bute, this will be an information sharing session specifically about Armed Forces communities and support that is offered.

NETO updated that ADES have been collecting examples from schools and Local Authorities that celebrated Month of the Military with their pupils and families. NETO will continue to meet with their network groups.

ADES Adviser attended a meeting held by COBSEO (The Confederation of Service Charities) and there was a wide representation. The focus on this meeting was special educational needs and the ADES Adviser explained to those attending that the system that is in place in Scotland is different to the rest of the Devolved Nations

MOD updated that SAAS have provided written information about their approach to supporting applicants who are from Armed Forces families in Scotland.

AFF updated that an employment survey was shared at the start of the year, and they are now currently analysing the findings from that and will share those in due course. The survey ran across the whole of the UK and some questions were looking at how families find it when moving children from one part of the UK to another.

Supporting Learners’ Code of Practice (CoP)

The ADES Advisor provided context to how this work came about. This is a joint research project with both ADES and Edinburgh Napier University and is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust. The work specifically looks that the pathway for Children and Young People with Additional Support Needs in Scotland. Part of the work is looking at the Codes of Practice from all Devolved Nations.

The ADES Advisor explained that the first challenge for Armed Forces parents moving between the Devolved Nations is that there is no shared terminology identifying the group of Children and Young People who should benefit. Within the Scottish CoP there is a single mention to Armed Forces children. The approach to meet children’s needs in Scotland differs from the rest of the UK. Families moving to or from Scotland will need to have a good understanding of the system as a whole. SG explained to the group that when the CoP is updated as part of the Additional Support for Learning Review, there will possibly be an opportunity for case studies of good practices to be incorporated and asked the group to keep this in mind going forward

Future Meeting Dates

  • Monday 10 June 2024
  • Wednesday 24 July 2024
  • Wednesday 4 September 2024
  • Wednesday 4 December 2024
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