New educational support plan for Lancashire's military kids

The launch of the new alliance aimed at providing support for families and schools with military backgrounds
The launch of the new alliance aimed at providing support for families and schools with military backgrounds

Pupils from military families are to get an extra boost to education thanks to a new initiative set up in Preston.

A new group has been set up, led by the University of Central Lancashire, to ensure t military youngsters get the support they need to move on to college or university.

Data shows that around half as many children from military families continue in education, compared to the general public, mainly because they face more pressures such as constantly changing schools.

In Lancashire alone 1,137 service children receive pupil premium, which is a government funded grant given to schools to reduce the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children caused by income or family upheaval.

Led by UCLan, the Lancashire and North West Service Children’s Progression Alliance will work with local agencies and charities such as councils, army welfare, Future U, the Lancashire Armed Forces Hub and the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services to raise awareness of the added burdens children from military families face and offer extra support and guidance.

The plan already has the backing of schools.

Anthony Goth, headteacher at Weeton Primary, near Kirkham, where most pupils come from military families said: “People don’t realise the additional emotional stress that these children are put under from a young age so anything that can raise awareness of this is fantastic.

"We want to support children from military families to reach their potential. If a school that isn’t used to having forces children has a single point of contact through the Alliance to ask how they can support the family and make them feel included, it could make a huge difference.”

Dr Rachel Cragg, UCLan pro vice chancellor (Academic Development), added: “The university has already pledged its commitment to supporting military families, so it is ideally placed to lead the Lancashire SCIP in bringing the relevant services together in one-strong voice.

"Through research we can inform future polices and frameworks.”

The national Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families and is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).