Army&You Spring 2017

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Army&You Spring 2017

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

Aiming higher

Why Army life is no obstacle to your academic ambitions


How music can help your kids hit the right notes


We help you master your move-in



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Army&You {for everyone with a soldier in their life}

EDITOR Charlotte Eadie DEPUTY EDITOR Lisa Youd // 01264 382314 Army&You, IDL 414, Floor 1, Zone 6, Ramillies Building, Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover SP11 8HJ AFF UK CENTRAL OFFICE 01264 382324 // REGIONAL MANAGER SOUTH 07824 534345 // OXFORDSHIRE/M4 CORRIDOR 07787 091883 // HAMPSHIRE 07527 492803 //


REGIONAL MANAGER CENTRAL 07824 534357 // NORTH EAST 07557 977141 // WEST MIDLANDS 07557 977290 // EAST MIDLANDS 07587 456280 // EAST ANGLIA 07527 492807 // REGIONAL MANAGER NORTH 07585 333115 // NORTH WEST 07733 147001 // SCOTLAND 07780 093115 // WALES 07527 492868 // NORTHERN IRELAND 07729 159013 // AFF OVERSEAS 0044 (0)7795 596568 // EUROPEAN JOINT SUPPORT UNIT CANADA KENYA GERMANY 0049 (0)1525 7435450 // GUTERSLOH 0049 (0)176 254 85 762 // PADERBORN 0049 (0)1520 744 9741 // CYPRUS (00357) 2596 2289 // BRUNEI ESBA




© All MOD British Crown Copyright images courtesy of Defence News Imagery CONTRIBUTIONS We love to hear from you. If you’ve got a story you would like to share, let us know – deped@ DISTRIBUTION Are you getting it four times a year? A free copy of Army&You should reach every Army family every season. It’s posted to all UK SFA and sent overseas via BFPO. If you are not receiving a copy, contact your AFF co-ordinator or call the distribution team on 01264 382313 or Andover Mil 2313


Email PUBLISHER Army&You is published quarterly by TylerBale Communications on behalf of the Army Families Federation (AFF). Editorial content © AFF (Registered Charity 291202). Not to be reproduced without permission from the Editor ADVERTISEMENTS For information about advertising opportunities in Army&You, contact the team at TylerBale Communications. Email: Tel: 01252 714870 Web:


COMPETITIONS To enter, click the giveaways link at One entry per household per giveaway. Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Closing date is 23 April 2017 unless otherwise stated. Winners’ names will be published on the A&Y website SUBSCRIPTIONS Live in a hiring, your own home or on an isolated patch? Overseas? Parent or friend of a soldier? Army Reservist family? Leaving the Army but want to stay in touch? Find out the latest Army Families Federation news by subscribing to Army&You for free. Visit for details


spring 2017 Army&You 03

Post generously sponsored by the Forces in Mind Trust


LONDON 07901 778948 //

higher (pages 16-17), shows that people of all ages can study at university and, even with the added challenges of Army life, succeed. We’ve got plenty of inspirational stories to inspire your learning journey. If you’re due a posting overseas, it’s important to do your research before you go – particularly if you have a family member with a disability and/ or additional need, or if you’re planning on having a baby. Take a look at our guide on how you can get clued up ahead of your move abroad on pages 50 and 51. And finally, in this edition we’re asking for your views on Army&You. See details of our readership survey on page 27 – you could win a fabulous two-night break for you and your soldier!

SOUTH EAST 07974 970696 //

Post generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity;


NE of the things that kept me sane throughout our years as an Army family was having pets. It was the way I met people when moving to a new patch – I formed some great friendships whilst out braving the elements with our dogs and children in tow. When my soldier was away, the companionship of a fourlegged friend was a huge comfort. Moving with animals is not always easy – we were constantly juggling a bowl of goldfish in the car on our way to our next posting and the dogs took time to settle and had to learn not to chase the neighbour’s cat, but having a pet can also be a lifeline and a constant in an otherwise hectic Army life. We’ve received some wonderful stories of why your pets are special to you. Read Part of the family on pages 40-41. Our other key feature, Aiming

SOUTH WEST 07787 301826 //

Animal attraction

WILTSHIRE 07527 492783 //

Queen Victoria School Raising to Distinction Admissions Deadline 15 Jan each year Queen Victoria School in Dunblane is a co-educational boarding school for the children of UK Armed Forces personnel who are Scottish, or who have served in Scotland or who have been members of a Scottish regiment. The QVS experience encourages and develops well-rounded, confident individuals in an environment of stability and continuity. The main entry point is into Primary 7 and all places are fully funded for tuition and boarding by the Ministry of Defence. Families are welcome to find out more by contacting Admissions on +44 (0) 131 310 2927 to arrange a visit.

Queen Victoria School Dunblane Perthshire FK15 0JY

Contents SPRING 2017


10 AFF in Action Learn how LIBOR will fund AFF's new family research 24 Our Army Family The Higgs share their anything-but-typical life 29 Musical Notes How music can provide stability for your children 44 Move-in Responsibilities What you need to know when moving in to SFA 50 Far-flung FAQs Sources of information when you are posted abroad 52 A Postcard From... Learn all about life in Malaysia


16 Aiming Higher Why age is no barrier to further education 18 PGCE on Posting Army spouse Laura on learning overseas 19 Degree in Service How to balance university education with military life 25 A Blooming Good Break We pay a visit to the Forcesfriendly Poppy Pod Village 39 Pet Project How animals inspired an Army spouse's business venture 40 Part of the Family In praise of the role pets play in Service households


06 Our Specialists Find out what AFF’s team have been up to this quarter 09 A Word From... Sara Baade, AFF’s Chief Executive 12 Grapevine The latest bite-size bits of news from across the Army 60 Ask the Experts Our panel helps with healthy eating, education and more 62 Giveaways Win a holiday, rugby tickets and much more 64 Postbag Got a question about Army life? Get it answered here


GRADUATION GOAL Why going to university doesn't have to be a challenge for Forces family members PAGES 16-17 Picture courtesy of University of Reading (

Army&You Spring 2017

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

Aiming higher

Why Army life is no obstacle to your academic ambitions


How music can help your kids hit the right notes


We help you master your move-in

PAWS FOR THOUGHT Singing the praises of Service families’ pets



Lifelong learning: Returning to the classroom later in life can be a challenge, but the rewards can be every bit as great (pages 16-17)

spring 2017 Army&You 05




School admissions are a top reason for families to contact me. If you are moving at the end of service and therefore without an assignment order, or you’re moving into your own home (not necessarily on posting or to the posting area), then you may encounter issues with admissions authorities not recognising you as a Service family within the School Admissions Code. I have written a paper outlining the admissions and appeals issues on your behalf to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Armed Forces Covenant, resulting in a Private Members’ Bill. My hope is that all Service families receive the support they need when applying for schools.

UKVI has changed its rules for making valid applications after a visa has expired. You used to be able to apply up to 28 days after the visa had expired but that is no longer possible. An out of time application will not be refused if the Home Office considers that there is ‘a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative why the application was not made prior to the expiry date’, provided the application is made within 14 days of the expiry of leave. It’s not yet known what constitutes a ‘good reason’ but basically, you will now be classed as an overstayer unless there’s a very good reason why you didn’t apply in time.

I recently conducted an employment survey ‘How we make work work’ to gain a greater understanding of Army spouses’ and partners’ reasons for working. 657 of you responded and the main theme was the key to success, which was positivity, flexibility and determination. We asked you whether working as an Army spouse was worth it and 33 per cent said yes, absolutely; 30 per cent said yes, some of the time; 29 per cent said yes, most of the time; only 8 per cent said no, it was too much hard work to juggle. To read the full report, take a look at the employment pages at or send me an email at

We have had many pets. Depending on our next posting, I will look for a new four-legged friend.

I would love a dog, but currently live in a flat

We have two French Lop rabbits, Ernie and Sidney


Divorcing? The only person who really knows what you are going through is you… but we are here to listen, support and achieve the best outcome for you and your family

Please contact us on 0800 4640887 or email us at to arrange a free consultation.

170126-ABD-DivorcingAd-ArmyandYou.indd 1

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30/01/2017 09:42


This post is generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers' Charity

Tying in with our animal theme, we asked our specialists if they have pets...





I have been speaking with the NHS England National Clinical Lead about GP online services, which allow you to access a range of services via your computer or mobile device. They allow you to book or cancel appointments, order or renew a repeat prescription and view parts of your GP health records online, including medication, allergies, previous illness and test results. I was interested to discover how this resource could benefit mobile Army families and help with transferring medical information when moving. If you are interested in signing up for this service or are already using it, I would like to hear from you at For more information, visit

Under the Future Accommodation Model it is proposed that a significant number of you will live in privately rented properties. In order for AFF to be able to support you, it is essential that I have sufficient knowledge of the rental market including tenants’, agents’ and landlords’ responsibilities. I recently attended a UKALA Agents foundation course to understand how families could be affected when renting privately. It focused on the main issues facing agents such as lettings law, managing and ending a tenancy, referencing and vetting tenants and other common issues. If you have concerns about future housing, contact me at

Thank you to all those who completed our transition quick poll. Your responses have helped to guide my research into the issues affecting families as your soldier transitions out of the Army and into civilian life. To help us to gain a deeper understanding of these issues, I am working with families as they undergo this transition. Our research will provide a sound evidence base from which to consider the help that is available and to identify what further support could be useful. If you would like to take part in this research and your soldier is leaving the Army this year, please email me at

No pets, just two teenagers and a husband – quite enough to look after!

A black and a yellow Labrador (mother and daughter – the last of nine puppies)

I have a yellow Labrador named Kendal, who we adopted from a shelter whilst posted to Cyprus

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Army & you Feb.indd 1

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This post is generously sponsored by the Forces in Mind Trust

This post is generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers' Charity

Our team provides families with trusted, expert knowledge and here we find out what they’ve been up to over the last few months. Turn to page three to get in touch.



Open Morning Saturday 11 March 2017 9.30 am - 12.30 Located on a beautiful 150-acre site in Dover, Kent, The Duke of York’s Royal Military School is a state boarding school for students aged 11 to 18. We welcome applications from any student who wants to study GCSEs and A Levels at our unique and iconic school with its strong traditions.

Why choose us?

• An independent school atmosphere at • Full and weekly boarding available. an affordable price. £4,165 per term* • Students enjoy an active lifestyle covers ALL the boarding costs, with

including sport, music, drama and outdoor activities, with over 70 clubs and activities offered. • GCSE results significantly above the • Unique ethos helps promote national average and life skills, with students • Graded ‘Good’ in all areas by Ofsted. character encouraged to achieve their potential • A £24.9m building programme has in a supportive community. just been completed to enhance our • Frequent involvement in high already impressive school site and profile national events including facilities including new boarding the Royal Festival of Remembrance. houses, teaching blocks, drama studio, • Good transport links to London and sports centre and climbing wall. Europe the education paid for by the State.

2016/17 fees are just £12,495* per year. If you qualify for CEA, you will only pay £1,249.50 per year.

Book your place: 01304 245073 *Fees are reviewed annually


A new year – and new plans! by Sara Baade, Army Families Federation Chief Executive Get involved – follow us on Twitter @ArmyandYou and @The_AFF


E ARE probably to be reviewed to ensure a better With limited resources, we all guilty of having service to Army families. could easily spread ourselves made New Year’s too thinly, so it’s important to resolutions that FUTURE HOUSING look at the wider picture to we’ve not stuck to! To that end, Closely linked to this is the ensure we channel our energy we probably all have good excuses development of the Future on the areas where you need us Accommodation Model (FAM). for why they have not lasted, but I think we all know that it Following on from our Big Survey often comes down to a lack of in 2016 on how Army families commitment or poor planning. wanted to live, we developed the AFF FAM Manifesto So to avoid disappointment and to ensure the very best which has outlined what we expect the MOD to take outcomes, we at AFF have spent a lot of time looking at into consideration when developing the policy further. where we need to focus our work efforts in 2017. We will continue to ensure your voice is heard in this With limited resources, we could easily spread increasingly loud space. ourselves too thinly, so it’s important to look at the wider picture to ensure we channel our energy on the REBASING SUPPORT areas where you need us or where there are big changes The other big area we will focus on is how changes taking place. to the structure of the Army and where it’s based will affect families. With Army 2020 Refine now released, COPING WITH ARMY LIFE’S CHANGES we know that it will have a big impact on some of you. In 2017 we will be looking at ‘transitions’, not just for We will work closely with command to help ensure when your soldier leaves the Army but also in the wider information is getting out to you in a timely manner and sense of coping with Army life’s changes – postings, that you’re getting the support you need from command education, family, housing and employment. and local authorities. Housing will remain right at the top of our agenda. Our plans for 2017 are not only set but well on the way We will continue to push for improvements with the to delivery. We could not do our work, and speak on CarillionAmey contract. your behalf without your support and engagement, so Not only do we want to see improvement in the thank you for putting your trust in us and please keep it delivery, but we want the Key Performance Indicators coming in 2017! & Contact AFF @The_AFF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via

spring 2017 Army&You 09


GIVING YOU MANPOWER IN A recent initiative, AFF has been bringing employment advice and support at a local level to Army families with the help of workforce experts, Manpower. Sessions have been held at The Beeches in Bulford to a group of Army spouses and partners keen to improve their employability. Families had access to CV support, guidance on approaching the job market, career profiling and interview techniques, as well as information on jobs. We will catch up with these family members’ employment journeys in a future edition of Army&You. It’s hoped the initiative will be rolled out to other areas in the future. To find out more about the employment and training support AFF can offer you, email etam@aff. or visit Expert hands: AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist Laura Lewin will be leading the research into your career issues

Grant to fund family research AFF'S BRUNEI BOOST AFTER a visit to British Forces Brunei by AFF’s UK & Overseas Director Julie Lowe, AFF decided to recruit a co-ordinator to support Army families living there and, in November, we welcomed Michelle Gurung to our overseas team. Based part-time in the Chit Chat Community Centre at the heart of the Nepalese community in Tuker Lines and also working out in the community, Michelle’s role is to engage with families, the chain of command and service providers. There’s a good welfare set-up in Brunei which is well supported by the chain of command and the community centre, which houses all the key support agencies, such as the HIVE, Army Welfare Service, SSAFA and now the first ever AFF Brunei Co-ordinator. Michelle said: “I am particularly keen to assist the families of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles who are starting to plan their move to the UK in 2017, when they will be replaced by 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles. For many, this could be their first move to the UK and a huge transition.” To contact Michelle, email brunei@

COME TO KINLOSS AFF’s families’ roadshow is coming to Kinloss on 23 March to meet as many families as we can. Come to the Hunters Bar to meet your AFF team, local command and MPs and take part or simply listen to our Q&A session. Visit or check our social media for details.

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FF has received a substantial LIBOR grant to conduct two new pieces of research into Army family life, specifically: l The real and perceived barriers to employment and training for Army spouses, and which ones are unique to Army life l How the Armed Forces Covenant supports Army

families posted overseas. This grant will allow us to support our evidence with robust research to provide a full picture of the issues facing families. The research will look at which barriers are linked to Service life and what impact transition or the Future Accommodation Model may have on Army families if the spouse is not working. We’ll also investigate how other

countries support Army spouses in employment and training. The Covenant was a constant thread throughout AFF’s work during 2016 and the second piece of research funded by LIBOR will build on this, exploring the impact of the Covenant on those posted overseas. To find out more about AFF’s Covenant work, visit &

Support for domestic abuse victims


OR a number of years, our Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Specialist, Katherine Houlston, has been providing qualified immigration advice and information to F&C victims of domestic abuse. A recent grant through the Covenant Fund has enabled AFF to provide practical support to these families.

Katherine explained: “Since the grant was awarded, we have directly assisted eight spouses whose relationship has broken down as a result of abuse. “We have also set up a referral system with the Army Welfare Service and are developing contacts with civilian domestic abuse organisations. “Later in the year we will be holding a

domestic abuse study day with the aim of getting relevant practitioners together to discuss best practice. “The aim is to ensure that all F&C spouses are provided with the information they need in a timely manner, to enable them to make informed decisions about their future.”

supporting an F&C spouse who is a victim of domestic abuse and who needs immigration advice, then please get in touch with us at With your help, we hope to enable these spouses to become independent and to move on with their lives.

HOW AFF CAN HELP If you are currently

Find out more by visiting & @ArmyandYou

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A ÂŁ10 membership fee applies for each connection Terms apply. You must apply discount within 30 days of connection either online or in store. 12 & 24 month phone and SIM only bundles only. Minimum term contract and credit check apply. RPI: Each April, your bundle price will increase by an amount equal to the RPI rate published in March of that year. We will publish this rate on our website. Full details are available in the Vodafone Airtime terms and conditions.

Grapevine Really useful bits about Army life. Get involved – email

DO YOU HAVE LIABILITY INSURANCE? ARE you covered if your Service Families Accommodation has a flood or fire? AFF has been made aware of a family who were the victims of a fire at their SFA which caused a significant amount of damage. Unfortunately, they hadn’t taken out liability insurance and, as a result, they could be liable to pay up to £20,000 towards the damage if the cause is established as their fault. Along with the usual household insurance and third-party liability, AFF strongly encourages all families living in SFA or SSFA to take out liability insurance to the value of £20,000, the amount recommended by DIO. Living in SFA and SSFA means you are a licensee and are not classed as tenants meaning that standard home insurance policies don’t cover the

potential liability. The Services Insurance & Investment Advisory Panel has details of insurance providers who can organise policies that have been designed specifically for SFA occupants.


SPECIAL HELP SENA (Special Educational Needs Addition) is an addition for the Continuity of Education Allowance to support Service children with Special Educational Needs. Recent changes to MOD regulations include: l SENA applications now use revised paperwork and include a detailed individualised support plan for your child. l School staff have experience and knowledge of your child. School generated information is required as evidence. Check that your school is capturing what they are providing. l Schools will need to be transparent in what they apply for and outline what they provide already; as well as what your child needs beyond this. l If you already claim SENA and wish to renew your certificate, do so at least 12 weeks before your certificate runs out. l Process for payments remains the same.

l Visit for more information.

For further help, contact CEAS at DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@ or call 01980 618244.



Thousands of our soldiers are deployed all over the world serving their country and our people. #thankyou to you and your families.



Proud to be a #militarywife and belong to such an amazing network of @MWChoirs

Deployment benefits: wearing clothes boys don’t get without hearing “what is THAT?” (Today’s example: dungarees)

GET INVOLVED: Follow us on Twitter @ArmyandYou and @The_AFF

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Important information Official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the Ford Focus ST-Line range: urban 33.2-67.3 (8.5-4.2), extra urban 60.1-83.1 (4.7-3.4), combined 46.3-74.3 (6.1-3.8). Official CO 2 emissions 140-99g/km. The mpg figures quoted are sourced from official EU-regulated test results (EU Directive and Regulation 692/2008), are provided for comparability purposes and may not reflect your actual driving experience. *Military Saving programme available to current and ex-Service Personnel. Including veterans and retired members of the UK Armed Forces. Customer savings of 5% to 20% off the OTR price available across the Ford range (excluding KA+, Mustang and Focus RS) on vehicles contracted from 1st January 2017 and 31st March 2017 and registered between 1st January 2017 and 30th September 2017. Retail customers only. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with other manufacturer promotions or incentives. At participating Ford dealers – for terms and conditions, including the eligibility criteria, eligible models and customer savings visit:


A selection of the best Army animal pictures...

Know your housing options JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-Service focal point to provide you and your soldier with information if you are considering civilian housing at any time during your Army life and for planning your transition. Here are its top tips to help you prepare… Attend a brief near you The programme is available via the JSHAO pages at – alternatively, email RC-AWS-JSHAO-Mailbox@ or call 01252 787574. Understand your options Learn what financial initiatives are available for you such as the Forces Help to Buy Scheme, Help to Buy ISA, affordable housing schemes and buyto-let.

Don’t leave it until your soldier is about to leave That decision is a minimum of five years too late. It’s not easy to save for a deposit But check out the schemes mentioned above or online tips at MoneyForce – Social housing is in very short supply Local authorities assess applications on priority. Housing for large families is not easy to get. Social housing should be the last resort, not the first choice.

Picture credits: Sgt Rupert Frere, MOD Crown copyright (pictures one-to-three); Cpl Ian Houlding, MOD Crown copyright (picture four)

MAKE THE MOST OF NI ALLOWANCES IF YOU are permanently assigned to Northern Ireland, there are specific allowances, in addition to most of the ones you’d receive in GB, to make life easier: NI Residents’ Supplement (NIRS) is paid at £7.58 per day to all personnel l Your soldier will also qualify for NI Journeys (NIJs) – 12 return journeys per year to GB if you’ve chosen to live married unaccompanied, or three return journeys if you’ve accompanied your soldier l Recent NIJ improvements now allow l

soldiers who can’t or choose not to travel at the same time as their family, to travel at a later date l You’ll also receive three NI Long Weekends per year l You may benefit from the NI Motor Insurance Refund. If your car insurance premium in NI exceeds comparable cover in central London, your soldier can claim back the difference. ➤ For more information on living in NI, see page 49. &

Major boost to minor flights From top: Horses and riders of King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery enjoying the sea in Cornwall The Irish Guards mascot, Domhnall, at a St Patrick’s Day Parade in London Sergeant Watchman V and his handler WO2 Hedges at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey Harvey the Springer Spaniel working as an arms explosive search dog.

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IF YOU are posted to a location which is not served by an airline offering the unaccompanied minor service and you intend to use School Children’s Visits (SCVs), one parent or a nominated adult can now receive a return flight to

accompany your child. An alternative option has always been for those using SCV to ‘reverse’ one of your journeys so that one parent can visit your child rather than your child travelling to you at your overseas address.

The new policy allows those families based overseas to reverse up to three of your six SCV journeys. Your soldier can find full details via the defence intranet in JSP 752 at Chapter 4, Section 10. @ArmyandYou


Aiming HIGHER When you see a framed photo of a graduate clutching their scroll and wearing a mortarboard and gown, do you wish you had a degree? There is no need to feel like you’ve missed the boat – people of all ages can study at university and even with the challenges of Army life, you can still succeed. Jill Misson finds out more…

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OR those re-embarking on their educational careers, returning to the classroom does not come without its trials and tribulations. From juggling lessons and coursework with a frantic home life to managing finances, the path to higher learning contains a number of substantial – but surmountable – challenges. Fourth-year psychology student Grace Pasquale found that the main fear encountered ahead of starting her studies was that she wasn't clever enough – a concern that proved unwarranted. She explained: “It’s great to know that even after two children, more house moves than I care to count and breaks in employment, my brain does still work!” Grace is one of more than 2,000 soldiers and spouses currently working towards degrees with the Open University (OU), a route recommended by Pam Barber, the organisation's head of business development (Defence). She said: “Studying with the OU has two purposes: to advance your Service career and to prepare you for the fiercelycompetitive civilian jobs market." Whether you are living in the UK or posted overseas, distance learning places education well within your reach as online resources can give you the flexibility to study at home. “I have regular meetings with my supervisor via Skype and fly back to the UK at my own expense once a term,” said Elizabeth Earl, a PhD student with the University of Essex, on a posting in Dhekelia, Cyprus with her husband. “I have loved engaging my mind and working towards a personal goal instead of having a two-year gap on my CV.” Many universities have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, including Anglia Ruskin. Suparna Ghose, principal consultant of degrees at work, said they understand how unpredictable Service life can be. She explained: “Military students can intermit and re-join their course at a later date. Some have received a posting mid-course and been able to continue their studies.”

HOW TO PAY FOR IT If one concern about starting university is how to afford it, financial support is available. Mature students can apply for a loan from the UK government to cover tuition fees with no repayments until you graduate and start earning more than £21,000. Soldiers can use Enhanced Learning Credits, while The Royal British Legion’s President’s Award offers two separate bursaries of up to £1,500 for non-commissioned ranks. AFF Employment & Training Specialist (

Service students (clockwise from top left): Grace Pasquale, Rachel Ayers, Jackie Rautenbach and Catherine Brown

After campaigning by AFF, Service families are no longer excluded from taking advantage of student loans for distance learning degrees at British universities if they are not resident in the UK on the first day of the course. “We are delighted with the decision,” said AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade. “We have worked hard to improve the employment and training prospects of Army spouses.” If you’re a Foreign & Commonwealth family, you should apply for loans early in case of any visa issues. AFF’s F&C Specialist, Katherine Houlston explained: “If a spouse has ILR on the first day of the first year of the course and has lived in the UK for the previous three years then they should be able to access student finance.” Students with additional needs can receive further funding. Catherine Brown, an OU psychology student with complex health conditions, receives a Disabled Student Allowance which helps to fund specialist equipment, study support and travel expenses. She said: “I know it’s daunting thinking about how you can juggle your health, family, work and Army life but it is possible and I’ve never looked back.”

ROUTES TO HIGHER EDUCATION Getting a place at university is not all about A levels. A spokesman for admissions service UCAS advises potential students “not to worry” if they don’t have the right qualifications, adding: “Just ask if you can meet the entry requirements in a different way including life and work experience or an access to higher education diploma.”

A recent report by Bath Spa University and the Forces in Mind Trust identified a poor take-up in access courses amongst Service leavers and spouses. Rachel Ayers brushed up her maths and English skills at an Army Education Centre then completed an access course before applying to Bournemouth University to study adult nursing. “With four children and our extended family living six hours away it is a challenge but my husband has permission to work flexibly to help with childcare,” she told us. “Every day I feel excited about the future and having a career that I can transfer when we move.” Rachel’s husband is due posting before her final year so she will have to rent locally. AFF’s Housing Specialist Cat Calder explained that families can only retain their SFA to complete an educational course if the student timed the finish to coincide with the end date of their soldier’s assignment and they have then been short-toured (page 43).

MANAGING YOUR WORKLOAD If you feel inspired to apply for university, what else should you consider? Jackie Rautenbach, a first year graphic design student with Arden University, admitted she found the workload overwhelming at first, but the introduction of a weekly study plan has helped. She added: “Once my son goes to bed, I spend around three hours on coursework every other night. My husband is very proud – he even helps more round the house! “I absolutely adore this course. Choose a subject you are passionate about to really motivate you,” she concluded. &


Open University (

Student finance info (


Anglia Ruskin (

RBL President Award (

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PGCE on posting Laura Danieli, a teacher and Service spouse, spoke to Army&You about gaining qualifications whilst living overseas…


AVING qualified as a teacher through the Italian education system, Laura has always found work whilst being an Army wife. She said: “In Germany I taught Italian through the Army Education Centre, in Surrey I was registered as a private tutor and taught in the evenings, and I also ran a few courses at the local community centre. “This suited me very well because my children were still young at that time.” A family move to Cyprus saw the children start school and Laura used this time to work as an early years practitioner. “This was a good opportunity to continue to gain experience of the British school system,” explained Laura.

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GAINING QUALIFICATIONS It was when the family moved to Brunei that Laura made the decision to invest further in her career and gain a British teaching qualification. “So far, my Italian qualifications have been sufficient but I knew that back in the UK, if I wanted to be able to teach, I would need to top up my qualifications – so I enrolled on the PGCE International run by Nottingham University.” The course lasts a year and is run online but with a requirement for completion of practical teaching hours. Fortunately, Laura got a job in the local international school. “The course is very well structured and I am really enjoying it,” she explained. “My husband is really supportive and

tries to help as much as he can with the children and family life.”

SHORT TOURED However, it wasn’t long before Laura discovered the posting was going to be shorter than expected. “When I enrolled, I thought our posting in Brunei was going to be 27 months. “In the end, because we all know how unpredictable Army life can sometimes be, it turns out we are now moving back to England nine months early.” This could have been a problem, but with a bit of extra organisation and a few months teaching as many hours as possible, Laura has been able to finish the practical requirements, leaving the final essay writing part of the

course for after the move. “When we move, I will still need to gain my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) because this type of PGCE doesn’t offer it automatically. “It is a step-by-step process but, as an Army wife, I feel privileged not to have the pressure of having to find a full-time job. On the contrary, because of the security of my husband’s job I can take small steps at convenient moments towards achieving my career goals.” If you feel inspired to learn, check out pages 16-17. To find out more about teaching qualifications, visit &




DEGREE IN SERVICE At the age of 18, Heidi Moss decided to join the Army straight from school. However, after six years’ service and having been identified as a potential officer, she became aware that further education was required to meet her aspiration to become an education officer. Here, Heidi explains how she juggled Army life with studying for a degree… HEIDI’S journey towards earning a degree began in Bielefeld, when an education officer suggested she should start studying with The Open University. “He advised that through the use of Army Education Centres, the Army had the structure in place to support military students with their studies and that exams could also be taken overseas,” she said. This meant Heidi could embark on a psychology degree and, over the years, she has successfully combined her studies with operations in Bosnia, an exercise in Denmark, a posting to Sierra Leone and various assignments throughout the UK. “The support I received from my chain of command varied from unit-to-unit,” she explained. “But my line managers were

all very supportive and I completed many experiments and studies on other soldiers and officers in the various locations.” As Heidi’s aspirations changed and she realised a commission was not for her, she managed to tailor her degree for life beyond the Army. She said: “I completed the remaining courses in criminology, which I enjoyed. I was medically discharged from the Adjutant General’s Corps as a Warrant Officer in 2008 after 19 years’ service and graduated in 2011 with a BSc (Hons) in criminology and social psychology. “I have used the skills learnt since then working in children’s safeguarding with local government.” However, the transient nature of Army life

continues as Heidi’s husband was recently posted to the Middle East. “I have just left my job to join him,” explained Heidi. “However, I’ll use my degree to find work within the emergency relief field whilst abroad.” Heidi said that she would “thoroughly recommend” studying for a degree in service as the experiences encountered daily can be used to help with your studies. “Studying takes discipline of mind and time, all of which I had learnt within my service so generally found this manageable,” she explained. “I completed summer schools on some of the years of study where I attended full-time ‘real’ university and met an eclectic mix of people, some of which have remained friends to this day.” & spring 2017 Army&You 19

SET YOUR SIGHTS HIGHER. You know the importance of looking ahead. Not only in your Service role but in your career. Whatever your role, wherever you are stationed, you can develop your career or your interests without disrupting your professional and personal commitments. So can your dependants. All you need to do is take advantage of the special relationship between The Open University (OU) and the UK Armed Forces. Pick from over 600 OU and Open University Business School modules and make the most of the cost, flexibility and quality benefits on offer. More than 1,200 of the British Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy are already doing that.

For further information visit the OU Forces and ELCAS

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Crown copyright 2015.

BENEFITS. LOW COST The OU is ELC approved and you are eligible for support for your OU costs on most of our modules.

FLEXIBILITY The OU is the UK’s only university dedicated to distance learning. Our flexible materials let you work your studies around shifts and postings, even when on active duty. You can sit your exams overseas.

SUPPORT The OU is world-renowned for the depth of support it offers to each and every student. You’ll have a personal tutor to guide you through, and feedback on your studies.

QUALITY The OU is ranked amongst the top UK universities for the quality of its teaching. An OU qualification is highly valued by employers. More than 30,000 sponsor their staff on our modules – including Airbus, BAE Systems, Deutsche Telekom, NHS, FirstGroup, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Pfizer, Rolls-Royce, Royal Bank of Scotland and Telefonica.



Aiming for a higher future Higher Futures is a skills development service aimed at ensuring that the workforce in Swindon and Wiltshire, including the military community, is able to gain higher-level skills and qualifications (NVQ level 4, HND/Degree and above). Army&You spoke to Navy veteran Amanda Peach about what’s on offer for Army families…


ITH a wealth of experience, Amanda works with tri-Service personnel, their families, Reservists and veterans to identify their skills gaps and the opportunities available to them. Amanda said: “You may be looking to return to work after a period of absence having moved into a more settled period in your life or after having spent time at home caring for children. “Some Army family members don’t

hold university level qualifications recognised by civilian employers and this is where I can help, offering access to university level education that is local and flexible – meeting employers’ needs and fitting in with employees’ lives.”

SKILLS TRAINING Working closely with military organisations and the business community, Higher Futures offers access to high quality tailored training for skills that are in short supply.

With the greatest concentration in the country, the military community is an additional route for employers to access in Swindon and Wiltshire. Amanda added: “I enjoy working directly with Army families running one-to-one clinics at military bases where we offer advice, information and guidance.”

LOCAL ACCESS Working in partnership with organisations such as the HIVE and other charities, she recently ran one

at Tidworth Leisure Centre, Wiltshire, specifically aimed at military families. Amanda said: “This community has so much to offer the local economy but it’s a case of identifying the skills and ‘reengineering’ those skills to meet local business needs, we are really lucky to be able to tap into this wealth of knowledge and experience.” Laura Lewin, AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist, added: “Having a partner in the Forces can present

unique barriers for those of you wanting to access employment, training or education. “This service provides professional training and an opportunity to obtain free impartial advice and guidance. “One of the many benefits is that Higher Futures will recognise any prior learning, which will enable you to complete your qualification quicker.” For more details, visit higherfutureshub. or call 01225 756174. &

spring 2017 Army&You 21

Department For Lifelong Learning.


with a degree from the University of Sheffield

Your journey starts here. If you’re 21 or over our degrees with a foundation year could be for you. You don’t need traditional entry qualifications, just the desire, commitment and potential to follow the path to your chosen degree. We value your life and work experience and are committed to supporting all mature students making the transition back into education. We offer degrees in over 23 subjects across the Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Many of our degrees can be studied part-time.

Start your journey with us by visiting or call 0114 222 7000


Higher education... further down the road Taking the plunge and embarking on a university course as a mature student can be a daunting prospect – particularly for those already negotiating the stresses and strains of Army life. Luckily, help is at hand to make restarting your learning journey as easy as possible. We asked the University of Sheffield to explain why further education can be an achievable goal for those from Service families... How does the university cater for mature students or those who can’t commit to full-time education? The University of Sheffield offers a range of 23 degrees with a foundation year, designed specifically for mature students without the traditional entry qualifications usually required to enter higher education. In 2016 we welcomed more than 100 new students on to these courses, the vast majority aged 21 or over and coming to university later in life than a ‘typical’ undergraduate student. Many of our students have working, caring and family commitments which all need to be managed alongside their studies. In the Department for Lifelong Learning, we have many years of working with such adult learners and offer comprehensive support for students coming back to education. Our students find the support network of staff and fellow students an invaluable support as they integrate into university life. For those students who can’t commit to full-time study, a number of our degrees with a foundation year are available on a part-time basis. Part-time students study alongside full-time counterparts and enjoy the same facilities and services, but can take their studies at a slower pace. This gives them even more time to dedicate to their commitments outside of their studies.

Is there any additional support available to those who have been out of learning for a long time? All of our foundation modules are designed for mature learners who have been out of education and include modules in academic literacy and communication skills, which focus on the skills required of successful degree-level students. The University also offers a study skills programme with modules covering presentation skills, essay writing and exam preparation. Students are able to access this support at any point via workshops,

Lifelong learning: The University of Sheffield offers specialist support for mature students of all ages

one-to-one support and online resources.

What advice do you have for anyone who thinks they’re too old for university? Studying a degree with a foundation year at the University of Sheffield allows mature students to take advantage of the opportunities that studying for a degree brings and to work alongside other mature students and staff who have many years’ experience working with adult learners. Following the foundation year, our students begin their degree course as confident, independent learners who bring a range of experiences and insights that enrich the learning experience for all students on their course. We have a thriving mature student population, including a Students’ Union mature student committee which arranges activities and events across the year. Our students tell us that their age becomes irrelevant as they integrate with others

at the University, as every student brings their own unique experiences to share.

Beyond academic attainments, how can university benefit mature students? Our students study with us for a wide range of reasons, all of which are personal to their own circumstances. Many students are studying a subject they have held a lifelong passion for, many are studying for a degree to allow them to embark on new careers, and some simply wish to do something for themselves after supporting and caring for others for many years. Our aim is to support every student to achieve their best on their chosen path. Being at university also allows mature students to take advantage of all the other opportunities that being a student presents, whether that is joining a society or committee, work or study abroad placements, or simply meeting students of all ages and from all backgrounds. n

To find out more about the opportunities available for mature students at the University of Sheffield, visit

spring 2017 Army&You 23


#OurArmyFamily Whether married or single, parent, partner, cousin or child of a soldier, we want you to tell us all about your Army family. Follow #OurArmyFamily on Twitter and Instagram for more stories

Lynda Higgs, serving husband Andrew, and Romilly (11) tell us about their anythingbut-typical Army life...


Do you and your loved ones want to share what makes up your #OurArmyFamily? Send your details to

24 Army&You spring 2017

Having lived in seven countries over 15 years, we’re currently posted to Glasgow. We’ve found returning to the UK after eight years abroad somewhat of a reverse culture shock. Successive international moves are definitely logistically complex. Simple admin can be a lot more complicated and in some locations the burden of sorting out documents falls on the Service person, which has put extra strain on my husband and left me feeling a bit sidelined. That said, we are in the fortunate position of having a safety net because we are an Army family. We have

seen civilian ex-pat families left to fend for themselves. The culture shock we experience when first arriving in an unfamiliar place is often challenging. Getting out and exploring our new home and making local friends has been the most effective way to manage this. Keeping in touch with family and friends – established and newer

ones – requires more effort because of time differences, different lifestyles and poor connectivity. But it’s provided us with a very necessary link home. Knowing we have X amount of time in a place motivates us to explore our home-fornow. We’ve also found adopting aspects of the local lifestyle has helped us acclimatise quickly. In some locations, we’ve been able to live in the local community where you’re forced to

integrate and be self-reliant. We made wonderful friends this way and it’s definitely brought our family closer. Having a child attending a local school has helped us meet people. Being so nomadic has impacted on my ability to work at times. As a freelancer, the energy required to network in a new market is a challenge, especially as there is a chance you could move just as your hard work bears results. Equally, it can stop you becoming stale. Italy is our favourite posting – although Kuwait comes a close second. &


A blooming good break Close to Brockenhurst in Hampshire sits the Poppy Pod Village – a holiday and respite facility in the heart of the New Forest. Julie Mounfield, AFF’s Regional Manager South, went along with her family to find out what it’s like…


Y HUSBAND is no longer serving, but the beauty of the Poppy Pods is that they are for veterans and serving personnel alike, writes Julie. Now, no-one will ever tell you that I am a fan of camping. I will, however, glamp and that is what appealed to me. The pods are, in the words of my sons, “awesome”! THE SITE Sturdy wooden habitats that look like a cross between a tent and a Hobbit hole, the 20 pods are sited in an oval formation around a central covered structure which is used by all guests for cooking and socialising.

Our neighbours to our left were Navy and – wouldn’t you know it – an old friend from our Catterick posting in 1998 to our right. The first evening passed with a barbecue and a huge game of cricket with all the kids and parents joining in. Even into the dark hours, Cyalumes could be seen bouncing around the area as the kids played until it was finally time to crash. We tried the

climbing provided on site the next day and spent the rest of our time exploring the splendour of the New Forest. CAMP COMFORT Inside the pods is like something TV presenter, George Clarke would appreciate in Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces. It’s certainly minimalist, with a table between two bench seats which winds down into a double bed. There are also two cot beds, which makes comfortable sleeping for four. A solar panel charges a small lamp on the wall and a USB port is supplied for phone charging – that’s it! The showers

and toilet facilities are similar to any modern campsite, functional but immaculately clean. You also have access to a fridge, freezer, sinks and cold water points. WHAT DOES IT COST? This is the really good bit. Your £15 membership fee covers a three-year period when you can go as often as you like at no extra cost, subject to

availability. Pods can be booked at weekends for two nights or during school holidays for a maximum of four nights. The project was made possible with the help of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, The Royal British Legion and Hampshire County Council. Find out more at &

spring 2017 Army&You 25


HILO: The Boy Who Crashed To Earth is the first of three books in a series. It is available in shops now, priced £7.99, hardback.


HAVE FUN SHARING BOOKS It’s free to take part in Reading Force, where families share a book and talk about it, together at home or over Skype or FaceTime if separated due to deployments and training. You’ll receive a free book and scrapbook to fill with your thoughts, letters, drawings and photographs – it's a fun way to keep communicating. Take part via your children’s school, HIVE, or register online at If your children would like to review books for Book Club, email info@ with their names and ages.

Cosmic comic caper Army&You and Reading Force, the national shared reading charity for Armed Forces families, have teamed up for our popular Book Club, where young readers review the latest children’s releases. For this edition, three Service youngsters have been finding out about HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed To Earth, by Judd Winick. HiLo is the story of a boy who crashlands in suburbia and joins forces with two kids to battle the alien robots who have followed him to Earth...

Jack Watson (10)

Tristan Aitken (9)

Efan Hughes (11)

“This is a book about a robot who tries to save the world from a monster called Razorwalk and he is helped by his friends Gina and DJ. DJ does not find things easy at home or at school but the story shows how you can do well in the end with some help from your friends. It's bright, colourful and easy to follow – I think children of lots of different ages would enjoy it.”

“It is a really good book. I would recommend it to my friends. At the end, I got a little scared when Razorwark opened the portal. I would give this book 10/10. I loved it.”

“It was an easy read, which I enjoyed. The story was good. I think I’m a little bit old for it, and it’s probably more for 8-9 year olds. The illustrations are great so it would be good for kids who don't like reading very much.”

26 Army&You spring 2017


A&Y READERSHIP SURVEY Visit to complete our Readership Survey

Share your Best Loved bits Complete Army&You's Readership Survey to help shape your magazine – and be in with a chance of winning a two-night break at a brilliant British hotel


S THE magazine for everyone with a soldier in their life, Army&You strives to provide a publication packed with information relevant to you. From fascinating features on business-savvy spouses to expert

education tips, insightful housing advice and more, we endeavour to make each issue as interesting, informative and useful as possible. HAVE YOUR SAY To help us on our mission, we would like to invite you to

complete our 2017 Readership Survey. By completing a simple online form, you can tell us what you like, what you want to see more of and how we can continue to evolve Army&You. PERFECT PRIZE Of course, one

good turn deserves another, so we have teamed up with Best Loved Hotels ( to offer an amazing prize. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw for a two-night bedand-breakfast break in a twin or double

room at a Best Loved Hotel of your choice. Best Loved Hotels can be found in the glorious countryside, by the sea, near rivers and lakes, in sleepy villages and in busy city centres – and wherever you choose to stay, you will enjoy the warmest of

welcomes, excellent food and wine, great service and, above all, a good night's sleep. Visit surveymonkey. to complete the survey and be in with a chance of winning this prize. &

The prize is valid until 23 December 2017 and booking is subject to availability. Travel or extras are not included and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash.

spring 2017 Army&You 27



Sa t


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M RN ay I 20 N 17 G


“Dauntsey’s is ... Fab”

The Good Schools Guide

t Feb 2017 (Jan 2017)_Layout 1 08/02/2017 16:04 Page 1

Boarding & Day School Co-educational 11-18

West Lavington, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4HE T. 01380 814500

CCB Open Morning Advert - Army and You Magazine 132mm x 186mm 3 February 2017 ArmyandYou Spring 2017.indd 1

24/01/2017 11:17:34


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Christ College Brecon


Saturday 25th March

9.30pm until 12 noon

Meet Senior staff and pupils and tour the school as you see Christ College at its best. School transport service to Heathrow with stop-offs along M4 corridor at Exeats and School holidays. Current Forces parents offer a buddy scheme offering advice on choosing a school for your child. Many years experience of educating and nurturing Forces children. A close community where everyone counts and warmth and support purvey.

Independent Day and Boarding Education for Boys and Girls aged 7 – 18

For more information or to arrange a school visit please contact Mrs Margaret Stephens (Admissions Registrar)

on 01874 615440 or email

28 Army&You spring 2017



Musical maestros: Lucy Scott’s son Alastair (above left), The Duke of York’s Royal Military School Band (above right) and a youngster at Watchfield’s Cheeky Little Monkeys

Musical notes As Army families, we often look to provide stability in our children’s lives. AFF Education & Childcare Specialist Lucy Scott investigates how you can take music with you wherever you are…


T DOES not matter how good you are, it’s about how music makes you feel. When my eldest said that he wanted to take up the guitar around the time of his AS Levels, it wasn’t exactly music to my ears. Shouldn’t he be studying? What about the cost? But I found that it was perfect for allowing him time to relax before exams, and you can always hire or pick up instruments second hand. I bought a bargain guitar on our local Facebook

page and he found free lessons online.

TUNE IN TOGETHER Music can be a great social activity. Whether you have tiny tots or teens, there’s usually something music-related going on near you. In Watchfield, smiling faces arrive for a session of Cheeky Little Monkeys, a sing-along group for under-fives attended by mums, dads and older siblings of different nationalities. It helps children express themselves and build confidence – and it’s a great way to bring military and civilian families together. Between the drums and the bells, I chatted to some of the Service families. “Jack has been coming here since he was

under one,” explained mum Felicity. “He now recognises the sounds and when to stop and start.” Tomi and her daughter Akane are from Japan: “This is a great opportunity to learn British nursery songs, which is helping her with learning two languages,” she said.

“Lucy has dyslexia and it’s turned out to be an unexpected advantage. She is able to push through her musicality and creativity despite the struggles she has academically. “Without music, she wouldn’t be the person she is today. It has been the making of her.”



Music forms part of the national curriculum so will feature in your child’s learning. Some primary schools include a term of free lessons and extracurricular activities are often on offer, but there’s sometimes a cost. Army spouse Alison is the mum of Lucy, who studies performing arts at her local sixth form college. She said:

If your child is at boarding school, find out how much extra you’ll need to pay for music lessons as the bill can soon mount up. Check whether there’s a notice period for swapping instruments or discontinuing lessons too. One school that places music high on its priorities is The Duke of York’s Royal Military School. “We troop our colour every year and we can’t

have a parade without a band. It’s a central part of the fabric of our school,” explained director of military music Major (Retd) David Cresswell. Pupils also have the chance to try out instruments in the military band and they receive a year’s free tuition funded by the MOD. Music is something you can take with you and also provides memories that are uniquely linked to each posting. If you have musical experiences to share, get in touch with Lucy at &

USEFUL LINKS l Search for your local

council’s music hub l l l l spring 2017 Army&You 29

Co-educational, day & boarding school for 3-18 years in South East England

Full boarding from 7 to 18 years Warm and supportive family ethos Strong academic results at 11+, GCSE and A Level Modern en-suite boarding accommodation Fast train only 75 minutes from London

HM Forces personnel in receipt of CEA pay only 10% of the boarding fee T: 01843 572931 E: College Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 7AE

Sparkling WITH



Farleigh School is a leading Catholic co-educational prep school near Andover for boarders and day pupils aged 3-13

30 Army&You spring 2017

Come and see us at our next Open Morning Spring Open Morning - Saturday 11th March 2017 Register at:



School report

Army&You highlights the excellent support that schools worldwide show our military children. This edition, we're heading to Lancashire... How does the school help Service children settle in?

New children immediately become part of our Weeton family. We have a special ‘friendship ring’ that is lit in assembly to welcome new arrivals and settling in messages are given by existing pupils. Buddies are also in place to help new arrivals settle in and there’s an excellent pastoral team that helps with this transition process.

What practical support do you give Service pupils?

ool Name of sch

Weeton Primary Location

Weeton, Preston Number of s Service pupil

121 out of 160

We have a dedicated family learning mentor in place who works within our rainbow room and offers support, both emotionally and academically, to our pupils.

Are there any military links?

Our local unit welfare officer, along with some of our military parents, are active members of our governing body and some of the teaching and welfare staff are also from military families. We have close links with the regiment based in Weeton, currently 2 LANCS. When the school closed for emergency repairs, the regiment helped us move the school into their training wing for a short time. Each Christmas the children are invited into the soldiers’ cookhouse for Christmas lunch.

Are there any special projects involving Service children?

The school celebrates Armed Forces Week, which involves inviting parents in to partake in activities alongside their children, and we hold a Red, White and Blue Day to raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The children also took part in Preston Remembers, a project commemorating the First World War.

What do the kids say?

One new pupil in year five said: “On my first day they lit the friendship ring for me in assembly. I was a bit nervous but I thought it was really nice. Everyone here is really kind and I get lots of help. The teachers really support you and the children get along well.” A year one youngster added: “Most of the children in my class have daddies or mummies in the Army and some of them come from different countries like Fiji. Lots of my friends move house but we always say goodbye to them at school.”

And the parents?

One family told us: “The school is doing a fantastic job for Army families here. As a family we could not be happier that our children have started their school journey at Weeton.” &

Is your child’s school going that extra mile to support Service children? Would you like your school to feature in the future? Contact Army&You for details by emailing

spring 2017 Army&You 31

Amelia, Harvard University. Tom, Oxford University. Both received Wycliffe Scholarships.

School fees fixed at CEA +10% of the school fees – there is no more to pay.* * Terms and conditions apply

Nurturing Potential Co-educational from 2-18 Nursery

Prep School

Day and boarding

Senior School

Sixth Form

Exceptional hammock made by Albie (age 16).

discounts for military families


Sat 11th March & Sat 20th May 9.00 - 10.30am




Boarding and Flexi Boarding in a top Surrey school for boys and girls aged 7-18. Full boarding less than £4,800 per term.


32 Army&You spring 2017

Gatton Park, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0TD Tel: 01737 649000

where happy children succeed proudly supporting military families for generations academic excellence • sporting and creative • the best in boarding

to find out more search “fsmschool” Independent Pre-Prep and Preparatory School, Boarding and Day, for Boys and Girls 3-13 Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1NS ~ 01425 653181 ~


Image: Clifton College,


Cheer leaders: Dedicated staff from the MOD’s Children’s Education Advisory Service help to put a smile on the faces of pupils from military families

A day in the life of CEAS If you have a question about your children’s education and Army life, the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is on hand to help. We caught up with Anna, part of the CEAS team, to find out more… WHAT IS CEAS? It’s part of the MOD’s Directorate of Children and Young People, which is the lead for all matters relating to children and young people across all three Services. CEAS has a small, friendly team consisting of teachers employed as parent support officers and civil servants working as advisers.

WHAT DOES CEAS DO? We cover a whole range of issues, from advice about state school admissions through to guidance on overseas allowances. No two enquiries are the same and because we

aren’t a large team, generally there are only one or two advisers on duty each day, we all get to deal with everything as it comes in.

IS IT A BUSY TEAM? Incredibly so! We average about 100 queries per day, but each of those may take a good few hours to deal with so we take turns on the enquiry line. It’s much clearer if you email your issues so we can take them away and deal with them, especially complex queries.


Well, today I’ve spoken to a mum who was really distressed as her child might be excluded from boarding school. Some of our parents are very upset by the time they get in touch so we need to understand what they are asking and also be emotionally supportive – it can be complicated.

their SFA for a child to finish their GCSEs for example. A lot of these issues are tricky and CEAS can advise, but we’re not the decision makers – we are here to help as much as we can.


We run the SEN registration system and advise parents as they try and make sense of SEN wherever they are in the world. The general message is that if something doesn’t seem right then you can always ask for advice from CEAS. &

We get lots of routine queries, such as questions about Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). But we can deal with things such as a Service parent needing to retain


You can contact CEAS at or 01980 618244.


TRUST IN EDUCATION How the Forces Children Education Trust can help you access educational grants...

MOST Service children are happy and resilient, but others can be disadvantaged by a lack of stability in mainstream education and the challenges faced in military life. For these young people, the Trust may be able to assist with education-related costs that parents are unable to

afford, helping them achieve their educational potential. HELP WHERE IT’S MOST NEEDED When the son of a serving soldier had learning difficulties, his parents were very grateful for support from the Trust: “They helped us get

access to specialist provision to help our son with speech therapy and communication with other children so that he can be better prepared when he enters mainstream schooling.” Another parent told us: “The grant from the Trust has allowed our daughter

to remain settled in an environment in which she is secure while building her selfconfidence.” Since 2011, almost £1m has been awarded to serving and retired Service families by the Trust. To find out more about applying for a grant, go to

spring 2017 Army&You 33

CHAFYN GROVE Excellent Co-educational Day & Boarding School from 3-13

Encouraged to flourish

Individually known, Individually nurtured. Boarding & day school for girls aged 9 - 18

Come and find out more at our Open Morning on Friday 10th March 2017

Open Morning Saturday, 11th March 10.00am – 12.30pm Forces Discount available

01722 333423

Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9LP +44 (0)1747 852416

Chafyn Grove, Bourne Avenue, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 1LR

es rc t Fo n % cou 15 dis

Co-educational state boarding and day school for students aged 11-18

“Quality of care and support is outstanding. ” Boarding Ofsted 2015 The Wellington Academy is a unique, state of the art modern co-educational state boarding school for students aged 11-18, set in a 22-acre community campus in Tidworth, Wiltshire. The award winning design reflects the surrounding countryside, with stunning open and light filled spaces.

Your child at our heart

• Outstanding results - 57% A*-C grades at A Level • Top University places - 70% of all 6th Form students progressed to universities • Sports centre, gymnasium, fitness suite, floodlit all weather 3G sports pitch, football, rugby and cricket pitches • Offsite engineering and manufacturing centre • Stand-alone CCF centre with its own indoor firing range

“The Academy is a multi-cultural and inclusive environment, where young people’s individuality is celebrated and equality of opportunity is promoted. ”

To find out more contact Jane King, Registrar on 01722 439260

Boarding Ofsted 2015 Contact: or call 01264 405060 to arrange a visit.

34 Army&You spring 2017

wellington college Sponsor of w e l l i n g to n c o l l e g e ac a d e m y t ru s t

@ArmyandYou SCS_Army&You_132x90_16.01.17_v1.indd 1

16/01/2017 15:12


First-class facilities We explore the ace amenities on offer to pupils at some of the country’s top independent schools...


HEN the inquisitiveness of youth takes hold, schools can play a major part in helping their pupils’ interests to blossom. Pristine swimming pools and perfect pitches nurture budding sports stars, theatres and auditoriums can propel those with an evolving enthusiasm for acting or music into the limelight and technology can transform lessons for those with a passion for a particular academic subject. And while such amenities were once the preserve of a small number of elite schools, first-class facilities are becoming an increasingly common feature of the nation’s educational landscape.

where a full-sized astro, smaller training pitch and even a lowropes course are complemented by a performance hall and organ, capacious library, computer suites and much more. Headmaster Simon Head said that the standard of facilities is a good marker of a school’s health and aspirations, adding: “They reveal a school’s priorities and strengths. Chafyn Grove is committed to breadth, depth and balance – therefore all of our departments are provisioned to the same high specifications.”

In the north of England, students at Barnard Castle School enjoy access to cutting-edge assets across the establishment’s 50acre estate. Gardens, fields and pitches provide plenty of outdoor

space in which to let off steam, while constant investment has provided state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a dedicated science laboratory and, most recently, a brand-new sixth form centre. For headmaster Alan Stevens, the facilities combine with Barnard Castle’s stunning grounds and historic buildings – including its famous chapel – to create an excellent educational package. He said: “An effective allround education should be a rich combination of academic learning in fit-for-purpose classrooms balanced with equally fulfilling opportunities outside the classroom. “Our facilities are conducive to both – our boys and girls benefit from plenty of time spent in the ‘great outdoors’ and an extensive extra-curricular programme of more than 100 activities each term as well as learning in purpose-built environments.” A mixture of out- and indoor investment is also evident at Salisbury’s Chafyn Grove,

The challenge of integrating new amenities into an established setting has been well and truly mastered by Christ College Brecon. Sitting in the shadow of Pen-y-fan – well-known to many in the military – the college can trace its roots back to 1541 and its founding by Royal Charter by Henry VIII. The beautiful site combines ancient buildings such as the Medieval Chapel of St Nicholas

with modern additions such as a science centre, the Y Neuadd Goffa performing arts centre and a new junior section, St Nicholas House. Marketing and communications manager Rhion Johnston explained that the facilities go hand-in-hand with the college’s excellent teaching to provide pupils with the best possible education. She added: “[They] really value the school’s ancient history and find the beautiful campus and sense of openness gives the space to breathe and enhances the learning experience.” Wales’ beautiful landscapes also provide the backdrop for a unique educational experience for pupils at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools. Based in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the schools offer ultra-modern facilities and lovingly-restored listed buildings in a setting that benefits from the proximity of the River Wye. A spokesman said: “We have created an educational ››





Top three most-used facilities: 1. Sixth form centre 2. Outdoor sports facilities 3. Atkinson Hall multi-use venue

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Astro pitch 2. Climbing frames 3. Library

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Y Neuadd Goffa Memorial Hall 2. Medieval Chapel and dining hall 3. Hubert Jones Science Centre

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Memorial Hall 2. Tuck shop 3. New Pavilion







spring 2017 Army&You 35

environment where learning comes naturally. We make full use of the river for rowing and other water sports, we have 60 acres of pitches and space for two 25m pools, indoor sports halls and two theatres.” A sense of history is apparent at Salisbury Cathedral School. Its Upper School’s Palace Campus has the 13th-century Bishop’s Palace at its heart, including the Bishop’s Drawing Room, a chapel and the Undercroft refectory, while the Lower School’s Leaden Hall Campus combines the architecture of Elias de Dereham with eco-built teaching spaces, a performance hall and a view over Harnham Water Meadows.

After exercising their grey matter in the classroom, youngsters benefit from letting off steam through physical activity – and schools are

increasingly well-equipped to allow that to happen. Energetic pupils at Dauntsey’s School, on Salisbury Plain, can make use of facilities including eight rugby and football pitches, seven all-weather netball and tennis courts, an athletics track, sports hall and fitness suite, heated indoor swimming pool and two squash courts. The school even has its own tall ship, Jolie Brise, as well as a fulltime sailing master. Such extensive provision is matched by a commitment from staff to serve students with ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Headmaster Mark Lascelles said: “Pupils are encouraged to develop a strong spirit of adventure here and, with almost 150 acres of grounds, we have plenty of space for pupils to get outside and explore. “Our rural surroundings provide the perfect setting

for many outdoor activities, including orienteering, camping, wide games – the list is endless.” At Dover’s The Duke of York’s Royal Military School, sporting ambitions are facilitated by a host of specialist amenities. Already enjoying the benefits of a 150-acre estate, the school recently gained a new sports centre built to Sports England specification as part of a wider £24.9 million investment that included new junior boarding houses and a sixth form block. The centre offers an external climbing wall and drama black box studio, while a floodlit astro hockey pitch and running track and floodlighting on the military-friendly school’s parade square add further opportunities for activity. St Lawrence College, in Ramsgate, recently added an Olympic-standard, water-based hockey pitch to a recreational register already containing a

sports centre complete with squash courts, dance studio, fitness suite and a climbing wall. Following the Olympic theme, there are fewer greater seals of approval than that of a Games champion, but that’s exactly what Andover’s Farleigh School received when Team GB hockey star and Rio gold medallist Maddie Hinch attended the opening of a new all-weather pitch. The facility bolsters a 70acre site which features an indoor swimming pool, sports pitches, tennis courts, an outdoor classroom, trim rail and extensive woodland, while those interested in the arts are well catered for thanks to a brandnew, purpose-built music school. A school spokesman said: “Music has long been one of Farleigh’s strengths and after several years of planning, it was fantastic to see [it] open. “It is a superb addition to





Top three most-used facilities: 1. Multi-use sports hall 2. Parade square 3. Nye Hall Performing Arts Centre

Top three most-used facilities: 1. The Chapel 2. Swimming pool 3. Sports pitches, theatre & music school

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Sports facilities 2. Performing arts centre 3. Classrooms and laboratories

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Library 2. Sports facilities 3. Social and recreational areas





Picture credits (clockwise from top left): Barnard Castle School; Farleigh School; Dauntsey’s School; Christ College Brecon; Duke of York’s Royal Military School; Queen Victoria School


36 Army&You spring 2017


Picture credits (clockwise from top left): St Lawrence College; Christ College Brecon; Royal Alexandra & Albert School; St Lawrence College; Chafyn Grove; Duke of York’s Royal Military School


Farleigh’s facilities, providing the school with a stunning new recital hall, 12 practice rooms, dedicated classroom, recording studio and rock room.” A dedication to the arts is also evident at St Mary’s Shaftesbury, which houses a bespoke art, photography and design and textiles building. St Mary’s art department won the school’s category and two pupils won individual honours at the 2016 Dorset Art Prize and headmistress Mary Arnal said that the facilities played a part in the success. She explained: “Well-lit rooms and access to hi-tech facilities, as well as space to think big and stretch their creative muscles, allow our girls to excel. “We are always deliberately going to be a relatively small school, but because we have the full range of quality, adaptable facilities, all our girls are able to discover and nurture their own

unique talents.”

While the availability of firstclass facilities is a welcome benefit, most schools are quick to point out that their sports pitches, hi-tech classrooms and beautiful boarding houses are just part of a wider package which is focused on providing an excellent education. Dunblane’s Queen Victoria School (QVS), for example, acknowledges the attraction of its swimming pool and multigym, dedicated piping and drumming complex and four fully-furnished boarding houses, but headteacher Donald Shaw pointed out that they are the foundation on which a child’s education is built. He said: “These facilities of course include school infrastructure, but QVS considers that other facilities are just as important – for example,

our high level of pastoral care for pupils. Pastoral care facilities at QVS include the allocation of tutors, experienced house masters and matrons as well as the entire school staff putting the wellbeing of the pupils first.” Mark Dixon, headmaster of Reigate’s Royal Alexandra and Albert School, also emphasises the point that facilities provide additional opportunities to unlock pupils’ potential. The sprawling establishment houses everything from an eight-lane 100m sprint track and Bernard Sunley Sixth Form Centre to an equestrian centre with 20 horses and inand outdoor sand schools on a 260-acre estate and Mr Dixon explained that the range and quality of such amenities is key. “Not only are good teaching facilities, such as interactive white boards and iPads, required in the classroom to engage and support learning, the importance

of facilities that promote exercise and outdoor play cannot be underestimated,” he said. “Facilities that stimulate pupils to get out, join activities and socialise with their peers are fundamental. After all, healthy and happy children learn better in the classroom.” From landscaped grounds to professional-standard theatres and sports fields, the schools featured on these pages offer facilities which benefit children in and out of the classroom. But should such admirable amenities be the basis on which parents pick a particular school for their child? According to Antony Spencer, principal of Ramsgate’s St Lawrence College, the answer is no. He said: “It’s the people that make the school, but the facilities enrich the overall experience and make the environment a pleasurable place to learn.” n





Top three most-used facilities: 1. Swimming pool 2. Astro pitch 3. Fitness suite

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Contemporary & historic facilities 2. Stephenson Hall performance area 3. Extensive grounds

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Theatre 2. Sports centre 3. Coffee shop

Top three most-used facilities: 1. Dance studio 2. Mary Ward boarding house 3. Swimming pool






spring 2017 Army&You 37


Girls 3 - 18

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38 Army&You spring 2017



Doing business with man's best friend Living in the garrison town of Colchester in Essex, with husband Dillon and eight-year-old French Mastiff Blue, Rebecca Wattam told Army&You how her love for animals has guided her career path…


EBECCA had a career working with international show jumping horses, but it often took her away for up to six weeks at a time. She explained: “After I met Dillon, our relationship blossomed, but he was posted away and we were struggling to see each other. We realised something had to give.” CAREER CHANGE As she was happy for her career to be less hands-on and involve more sociable hours, Rebecca ventured towards work in equestrian and rural property. But when that shift made her realise that she missed working with animals, Rebecca decided to pursue a new professional path. Having decided to plan for when Dillon leaves the Army, Rebecca invested time creating a business that could be managed from anywhere. She took on a dog grooming position and quickly developed her skills. “I saw a gap in the market and started building up my own list of clients, eventually renting premises within a vet’s practice," she continued. “I started going to networking meetings, developed my own marketing

tools – including a website and social media platforms – and I now have two amazingly capable employees. "I’ve also put software in place so I can manage the business online and registered it at Companies House.”

replicated, franchising it is a possibility as well as creating our own line of dog shampoos via an online shop. “Working with animals can be physically and mentally demanding, but it’s certainly rewarding.”

LOOKING TO EXPAND Rebecca is currently considering opening another grooming parlour within a veterinary practice. She said: “Once I can show my brand can be easily

ADVICE FOR OTHERS Rebecca’s biggest recommendation to anyone wishing to set up in business is to network. “Whether meetings, groups or on social media, you will gain knowledge, advice, experience and open doors for opportunity,” she said, adding: “You also need to be financially committed to having a dog.

"Blue’s insurance is more than £400 per calendar month – yes, per month! "However, we absolutely wouldn’t be without him and he’s such great company. Having a dog is a great way to keep active and enjoy the outdoors.” & If you are keen to begin a new business venture, check out the following links for advice: l l l l

spring 2017 Army&You 39


Part of the family It’s a scientific fact that pets are good for our health – physically, mentally and emotionally. For Army families, our furry, feathery or scaly friends can be a huge source of comfort, giving us a sense of purpose and preventing loneliness. When we move around, our pets can be our constant when everything else in life is changing. They’re an excuse to be

sociable in our new community and online too – how many of you regularly post photos of your pets on social media? If you have children, pets are perfect for teaching them responsibilities and mutual trust. We invited Army families to send us their favourite ainmal pictures and here we reveal what pets mean to some of you…















WE have three cats and, for us, they provide consistency, love and affection in our everchanging lifestyle. They are always there when we get home, however long one of us might have been away. I wouldn’t be without them – they give us so much joy. They’re very calming after my husband has a stressful day at work, and they keep me occupied when I’m looking for a job if we’ve just moved to a new posting.

40 Army&You spring 2017

DAISY brings a calming and centred effect to a somewhat stressful Army family life. She is most definitely a member of the family and not just a pet. She’s listened to many tearful conversations and never judged, but just given a cuddle in return. She provides company and comfort to all of us and a good giggle during her ‘crazy Daisy’ moments, running around playing with her toys.

LOUIS has brought consistency. From when we first became an Army family and I moved out of my childhood home with him, through deployments, exercises and more – he’s always been there with a waggy tail and warm cuddle. He pines for my soldier when he is away, which is heartbreaking at times, but it shows me how much he loves our family – just as much as we love him!

MY pets mean the world to me especially as my husband is away a lot. They are companions – there’s nothing better than a crisp winter morning walk with pets in tow!


CHARLIE is our world. As an Army family she is better than any therapy/ counselling which you may need to get through tough times. She’s our constant unconditional bundle of love.





5 2




PETS are companionship and morale through the toughest tours, detachments and everything else in-between. Our dog Bruce, also known as Private Wareing, spends most days wandering the top corridor of 60 Sqn, 4 Regt RLC when my husband is home. He’s become somewhat of a squadron mascot and is often stolen by other squadrons with ransom notes for his release. Once he returned with dog tags around his neck featuring the name ‘Dave’ – another name to add to his aliases! He ‘helps’ to move drops around the airfield, steals chicken nuggets from the guys and girls on night guard and has adopted a female soldier as his work-based ‘mum’.






OUR beautiful dogs were rescued from Ay Nik animal welfare in Cyprus. Lottie was dumped on a beach in a carrier bag with her brother and sister at six weeks old and Luna our Malamute-cross-Husky (kind of) was found running around the camp and was then rescued. They mean so much to our family. They help my son, who has chromosome issues, with behaviour and understanding and they provide us with some stability when we move around. As I’m not working they give me something to do after I’ve finished the housework. We go out walking – as long as it’s not raining as Lottie hates it!

spring 2017 Army&You 41


That’s hen-tertainment Pets can be great stress-busters when you’re an Army family. Gaby Oakes tells us how keeping chickens fits perfectly with military life…


HAVE always been passionate about animals as a registered veterinary nurse, so when I met my husband, Tim, he quickly became accustomed to the kittens, puppies and occasional ferret that arrived as temporary

house guests in need of TLC. It therefore came as little surprise when I showed an interest in keeping chickens. Chickens make fantastic pets; great for children and very adaptable to Army life. Provided they have a secure coop and run, they can be kept in most types of garden and need no more

maintenance than rabbits or guinea pigs, with the added bonus of fresh eggs. After lots of research, I bought three hybrid hens, which come in lots of pretty colours and lay around 300 eggs a year each – plenty for a family of three.

COMMUNITY ATTRACTION It’s never long before news of our chickens spreads around the patch and we have a stream of visiting children (and adults) wanting to

feed the girls and look for eggs. My son, who is two, has grown up with the girls and is very much ‘chief chicken wrangler’. When we moved from Wiltshire to Hampshire last summer, the girls stayed in ‘The Hen Hotel’ for a few days whilst we settled in. My husband was amazed that such places exist, but a quick online search shows that there are numerous places that offer chicken boarding should you need it. Tim deployed for three months two days after we moved house and having the chickens was a great way for me to make new friends with the neighbours. The offer of fresh eggs always goes down well and I quickly became known as ‘the crazy chicken lady’. We are never short of offers to look after them if we go away either. They provide entertainment and a welcome distraction from Tim’s constant deployments. I think pets are so important for children living the Army life, providing continuity and a way to make friends in ever-changing surroundings. I wouldn’t be without my girls. &

What do you do to escape the stresses of Army life? To tell us about your hobby and feature in downtime, email

42 Army&You spring 2017



Are you pet-prepared?


ETS can be a welcome addition to your family, providing much-needed comfort when loved ones are away and a sense of continuity when moving frequently from one home to the next. If you’re living in Service Families Accommodation (SFA) there are some simple steps you need to take to ensure you're ready for an animal's arrival. Make it clear that you own a pet when you apply for your SFA using the application form e-1132.

If you’re already in SFA and decide to get a new pet, call CarillionAmey (CA) on 0800 707 6000. If you’re thinking of keeping chickens, your property will need to be assessed by CA for suitability. Exotic or farm animals are not permitted. When you move out, you must make sure your property meets the standard by cleaning all carpets and floors and removing all evidence of pets from the garden. ANIMAL ADVICE Once you have

welcomed your new family member into your home, there are a number of things you need to consider. Regularly check your animals for fleas and parasites and make sure any vaccinations are up-to-date. If your pet makes a mess as you are walking around your housing estate, make sure that you clean it up. Failure to do so could see you landed with an on-the-spot fine – the amount varies from council to council, but it can be as much as £80.

Keep your pet out of the way of any maintenance work to ensure it is protected from injury. Check your garden for broken fences or damaged gates – it only takes a few seconds for a pet to escape. It’s now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped and contact details to be kept up-to-date. If you don’t get your dog microchipped, you may be liable for a £500 fine. For more info, visit &

CAN I TRAIN AND RETAIN? We asked Cat Calder, AFF’s Housing Specialist, to explain the rules for staying on in your SFA to complete an educational course… YOU are currently only allowed to retain your SFA in order to complete an educational course if you initially timed the finish to coincide with the end date of your soldier’s assignment and they have then been short-toured. So, what should you consider before applying for a long educational course? Make sure that it will finish before your partner’s posting but if it’s longer consider the following: l See if you can transfer to another setting during your course and if so at what point will this be feasible? For example, if you can transfer at the one-year point but not the two-year point, will this help you? l Look at Open University options – it may take longer but will mean that moving won’t disrupt or curtail your education l Can you afford to rent in the area for a period of time should the course be longer than the posting? Bear in mind that you may be able to access the tenancy rental deposit loan scheme however, remember to consider how this may affect allowances such as Continuity of Education Allowance and removals l Can you take a break midway? l Contact CA and see if there is a possibility of moving into surplus SFA in the surrounding area – it may be a longer commute but could be significantly cheaper than renting in the long-run. If you are experiencing issues, contact Cat at Check out our feature on pages 16-17 for more information on higher education opportunities.

WINDOW SAFETY SPRING is here, so it is time to start opening your windows. Make sure you regularly check that any restrictors are working – especially if you have small children or vulnerable people at home. Although there is no legislative requirement, BSI British Standards state that where restrictors are fitted they should limit the initial movement to no more than 100mm. If you disable the restrictor to clean the windows, check that you have reconnected it as some do not re-engage automatically and need to be corrected manually. If any restrictors are not working or open more than 100mm, call the CA Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000.

spring 2017 Army&You 43

Featuring move-in tips, a window workshop, educational guidance and animal advice

Move-in responsibilities t you – and CarillionAmey (CA) – are wha us tells der Cal Cat ist cial Spe g AFF Housin Families Accommodation (SFA)... vice Ser into ving mo n whe for e sibl pon res

YOURS Arrive in good time after so that you don’t feel pressurised If possible, arrange removals for the day know what to expect Read the CA move-in guide so that you significant changes their job – the new contract has made some Allow the Allocations Officer (AO) to do ictors work and safety ows and doors have keys, window restr Check that: the bins are present, all wind ing and there’s hot water on and check that the radiators are work certificates are in-date. Turn the heating work Check that the cooker, shower and taps CA tick sheet as a guide Check each room thoroughly using the Take photos of any issues what the AO intends to do to recorded on the paperwork along with Any faults or cleaning issues must be ally even if this has been discussed verb rectify the problem within 24 hours – re that you are not charged at ld be noted on your 14-day report to ensu Existing issues such as stains or chips shou move-out

standard. It’s vitally important to ing to accept that the SFA is at move-in When you sign the form, you are sign future complaints. rwork – giving you an audit trail for any ensure that all issues are on the pape


ral days before your move-in The AO should have checked the SFA seve That the SFA is at the move-in standard. move-in The AO will allow up to an hour for the ing, cooker etc) and where the that everything works (windows, locks, heat They will take you to each room, show stopcock and gas emergency cut-off are issues to be resolved within rwork and will arrange for any recorded The AO will note any issues on the pape 24-hours iances cates and operating instructions for appl You will be left with the relevant safety certifi oil levels The AO will record meter readings or issues are noted before you sign k accepting the house – ensure that all The AO will ask you to sign the paperwor as an uninhabitable fault, the ot be fixed and you can’t move-in, such If there is an unexpected issue that cann n. This may be another SFA or a hotel. AO will arrange alternative accommodatio sheets, visit For more details on the process or tick let AFF know at please -in, move at issues any ience If you exper

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Sun, sea and supportability The thought of sunnier climes or living in exotic locations can be very tempting. But for those of you who have a family member who requires extra support due to a medical condition, additional need and/ or disability, it’s important to be aware that there may be differences in health and social care provision and, in some locations, there may not be any provision at all. AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross looks at the guidance available to you when considering an overseas move…



There’s a responsibility on both your soldier and MOD to ensure your family member’s needs are assessed properly before an assignment should be accepted. Often families are not aware of the process to follow or the information available.

Even before you consider an overseas assignment, your soldier must register all family members with a medical condition, additional need and/or disability – including things like medication or dietary requirements – with their career manager. This allows them to consider the most suitable assignment. Your soldier should also include information about your family’s requirements on their Assignment Preference Proforma (APP).

TOP TIP Ask your soldier to read JSP 820 and AGAI 108, which can be found on the Army’s intranet and explain the registration process. There's also more at

Read one family's experience on page 66

Medical prescreening and supportability If an overseas assignment has been proposed, do your research to see if the care provided is equivalent to that in the UK. Your soldier can find this information through the overseas command, DIN Library, the Army’s web pages and Blue Book. Not being supported could have a real impact on your family because you may be returned to the UK or have your soldier's assignment cancelled at short notice. If this happens you will be supported by your welfare team and the chain of command. You should also be able to retain your Service Families Accommodation if the assignment is cancelled.

The move

Allow time

As soon as you receive an assignment order, your soldier will need to apply for the Movement Support Services (MSS) family pack. This must be completed regardless of how you intend to travel to the new location. The pack also contains a certificate of medical fitness and a medical screening form to fill in for all family members.

The medical screening process can take time, particularly if the overseas doctors need to confirm your medical requirements with your current health professionals, so start the process as early as you can. When all the assessments have been completed, clearance certificates issued and signed by the chain of command they are forwarded to APC. Your travel won’t be booked until MSS has received a signed Annex A, an educational clearance certificate (if required) and confirmation of medical clearance from APC.

TOP TIP Your soldier can find form F/MOV/564e and further details at https://grms.

TOP TIP Your soldier is responsible for sending a copy of Annex A and clearance certificates to MSS, once the posting is confirmed.

TOP TIP Read JSP 770 Part 1 Chapter 2A. The Army Personnel Centre will advise your soldier to complete the form at Annex A. There’s a flowchart explaining the process.

If you are due a posting and need any advice on supportability, contact Karen at

46 Army&You spring 2017



Open house Army&You hears how a Wiltshire hospice is embracing the area's growing Service community...


Picture: Simon Ward Photography

ILITARY families form a high percentage of the population across Wiltshire so it’s no surprise that some of them are already benefitting from the support of Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice. The number of parents needing access to community and hospice care is growing as more Service households move into the county as part of the Forces basing programme. A quarter of all the care currently given by the charity in Wiltshire is in the homes of military families. SERVICE SUPPORT The military already provides assistance to its soldiers and families in need of help during difficult

or stressful times, but Julia’s House enhances this support by working with other agencies to make sure life-limited children get the care they need, where and when they need it. One such child is Sophia Thursby (pictured below with her family), who is receiving assistance from the Julia's House community care team. The three-year-old is blind and suffers from severe epilepsy which means she has constant seizures and can need resuscitating several times each day. She lives with her mum, Rebecca, dad Damien, who is a full-time Reservist with the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, and brother Harry. Sophia cannot be left with friends or extended family as her seizures are so severe. Rebecca said: “When I found out Julia’s House was planning to build a

hospice in Devizes [opening in spring 2017] I was so excited. “It will be amazing for families like mine to have access to all sorts of wonderful facilities under one roof. “It’s just going to be so stimulating for Sophia to have a change of scene and to be able to play safely in a new environment with people she trusts, rather than staying at home.” Julia’s House understands the diverse nature of the military and the impact of not having family members close by who are able to help. The strain of looking after a sick child can be very isolating – especially if you have no loved ones nearby or a partner who is away on exercise or deployment. Having a nurse or carer come to your home can be a lifeline.

VITAL FUNDS Julia’s House receives just five per cent of its income from the government, relying on donations and fundraising for the vital funds it needs each year to run its service. The military community has been rallying behind the charity. Tidworth Garrison Commander, Colonel Steve Lawton, is an ambassador, and a fantastic group of kind-hearted Army families and soldiers have generously volunteered their time to help raise funds. To find out more, visit &

spring 2017 Army&You 47


Building the best Having lived in both the good, the bad and the ugly MOD housing in her 20-plus years as an Army spouse, AFF’s Wiltshire Co-ordinator, Carol Morris, jumped at the chance of a sneak peek of the brand new development at Tidworth. Here’s what she found out…

SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS AFF’s Wiltshire Coordinator Carol Morris has added the Services Cotswold Centre (SCC) to the list of places she visits regularly to meet with Army families and discuss issues. The centre, near Corsham, provides short-term transit accommodation for Service personnel, their spouses, civil partners and families. It can be used by any tri-Service family needing short-term accommodation between postings, on leave, for welfare purposes, when leaving the Services or just a short break.

SAFE ENVIRONMENT On a recent tour of the facility, Carol said: “After driving through the main gate, there is immediately a sense of security and tranquillity. "It’s set in lovely grounds with plenty of areas for children to play safely. The facilities allow families to maintain a sense of normality and be able to get on with day-today activities.” Managed by the Army Welfare Service, the 60 self-contained chaletstyle homes have clean,

modern interiors and adapted accommodation is available for those who need it. The SCC also has an on-site primary school and early years centre, plus internet access, a bar, games room, launderette and storage facilities. One family, who used the centre while they were waiting to move into their own property, said: “The SCC offers a unique stepping stone for families like us transitioning into civilian life.”

CONTACT AFF Carol is now visiting the centre every two months: “My visits will enable me to meet with new families and those who are there for a longer stay and may need our help," she explained. "I can discuss any concerns with AFF’s Specialists and hopefully help them to find solutions." For more details on how the centre can be used and booked, visit, call 01225 810358 or email rc-aws-scc-receptionist@ You can contact Carol at

48 Army&You spring 2017


FTER viewing the new builds, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into these modern Service Families Accommodation homes. There are 322 being built as part of the Army’s basing programme, which will see many of the Salisbury Plain housing areas expanded.

come with garages and space for two cars. There’s a mixture of semis and detached properties and if you have children, they’ll have lots of safe places to play including a couple of parks. Gardens already have patios laid and decent fencing, one less job for when you move in!



The setting is tranquil as the estate backs onto the ridge, which provides great walks, bike tracks and views. It’s conveniently located off the A303 and a path will take families to the centre of Tidworth meaning supermarkets, schools, doctors and sports facilities will all be within walking distance.

Rooms appear to be a good size and wider than normal doors on the ground floor are a nice feature. There are all the mod cons you’d expect in a new-build and all properties have two solar panels and are well insulated.

LET’S GO OUTSIDE All the three- and four-bedroom houses

WE’LL BE HERE FOR YOU As the Wiltshire Co-ordinator, I will continue to visit the site and will be on hand for when families start to move in, which is expected to be anytime now. Anyone applying for SFA in the area will be entitled to live in them. We hope this new development will live up to expectations but if you do have any issues, contact me at



LIFE IN NI Army spouse Hannah, who lives in Aldergrove, tells us about her family’s experience in the province... How long have you lived in NI? Five and a half years and I’d happily stay unless a sunshine posting was on offer! What’s your quarter like? I love it. I asked around before I moved as there are lots of different styles of SFA. Mine is very spacious with a massive kitchen big enough for a table so I can use the dining room as a playroom.

Posted to Northern Ireland? The grass can be greener When the posting order says Northern Ireland you may be worried. Is it safe to go? Can I get a job? But as many Army families who live there will testify, there are lots of positives to residing across the water. AFF NI Co-ordinator Hazel Dobson tells us more…


IRSTLY, if you do need extra support in your Army life, there are many people whose specific role is to help you, including AFF of course.

completing application forms. If you want to study locally or do volunteer work, it can help with that too – email



Generally, AFF receives numerous enquiries on housing issues, but there’s no shortage of SFA in NI and there’s often a choice of property type. With less housing stock to look after, many families get to know the maintenance team and the CarillionAmey rep comes along to coffee mornings so issues can be looked into quickly.

Local school places are usually easily obtained and the standard of education is generally high, with more than 60 grammar schools in the province. There is a dedicated Children’s Education Support Officer ( who can help with all education issues and enquiries.

place to learn with quieter roads and a SSAFA scheme funding 50 per cent off ten lessons. Check the HIVE blog at for more information.




While life can be very much normal and we are encouraged to get involved in the community, there are some security restrictions. To compensate, your soldier receives the NIRS – Northern Ireland Residents' Supplement – which is a taxable allowance currently set at £7.58 per day. You also get three family warrants a year and extra leave to travel to and from GB.

The Families’ Employment Advisory Team, unique to NI, can help you ‘civilianise’ your CV, offer advice on suitable locations, interview techniques and

It’s easy to travel, with country, seaside or city days out reachable from the three SFA locations. If you can’t drive, it’s a great

Find out more about NI on the AFF website ( or contact me at if you have any questions.

Do you work? I’m a qualified teacher and always try to work but now I have four children it’s tricky. When we first moved here I worked in a local nursery, then I got a job as a teaching assistant in a school. What about schools/childcare? There are four primary schools ranging from small to large so it’s worth looking around to see what suits you – all are rated good and have buses from camp. The on-site nursery is reasonably priced and flexible, providing care from babies to preschool and after-school care. Where do families get together? There are many pre-school groups during the day and there are always events at holiday times. Bingo runs in the evening and there’s a cinema too. What is life like in NI? There are downsides; getting post and deliveries is a nightmare but you soon work out ways around it. I love the fact that there is a lot for us to do as a family, all a short drive away.

spring 2017 Army&You 49


We're posted overseas – what next? Moving abroad can be a stressful experience, especially when you don’t know where to find all the information you need. We asked Esther Thomas, AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas, to answer your FAQs on far-flung assignments… How do we… Get information about where we are going? HIVEs hold location information packs and can often signpost you to local Facebook groups. Your soldier can check the defence intranet or you can find info at See opposite for more information on the new iHIVE. For more remote assignments like loan service there are ‘Blue Books’ available, mostly for loan service posts, and you may be teamed up with a host buddy prior to your arrival. AFF also has a number of overseas volunteers so if you’re having difficulties contact

...Check whether our family can be supported? 50 Army&You spring 2017

Once your overseas assignment is confirmed, your soldier can apply for a family pack from the MOD’s Families Section – email There may be variations to this process for unit moves. The pack will guide you through things to consider and suggested timeframes.

You will need to consider the implications such as:

...Find out about schools?

You’ll need to submit a parental declaration form to the Families Section to show that you have understood and accepted this. Remember, assignments can change or be curtailed, so consider the impact this may have on accompanying children especially if they’re in the middle of exam years. CEAS can also advise on

Some locations, such as Germany, Cyprus, Brunei, The Falklands and SHAPE, are well served by MOD schools. You can find out what they offer at Where no MOD school exists, the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS, 01980 618244) will help you find suitable educational provision.

Being in an educational system which starts at a different age l Schools which do not offer the English National Curriculum l Other cultural issues.

boarding schools and how to apply for Continuity of Education Allowance.


...Discover what allowances we’re entitled to? Allowances are complicated and on certain assignments they are provided by the host nation. Your unit should be able to advise you of your specific entitlements or your soldier can check out JSP 752 and JSP 800 on the defence intranet. The majority of overseas postings will attract: l Disturbance Expense – a one-

off payment to compensate for additional expenditure incurred during the move process. Rates differ for outward and @ArmyandYou

Before you go...

When you’re posted overseas, ther e are some key things to conside r. Take a look at our checklist below to make sure you r Army family is ready to move abro ad… DO YOUR RESEARCH See our supportability article on page 46, read AGAI 108, JSP 820 and JSP 770 Part 1 Chapter 2A. You will be required to sign a certificate to confirm your willingn ess to reside overseas. MEDICAL AND DENTAL CLEARA NCE You’ll need a certificate of fitne ss valid for six months from you r GP, which will be screened by Defenc e Medical Services. EXPECTANT MOTHERS Some locations have specific con finement policies, so make sure you check before travelling if you are pregnant or planning a fam ily. ADDITIONAL NEEDS It’s very important to provide the chain of command with informa tion about your specific requirements , whether that is housing, medical, welfare or educational. EDUCATIONAL CLEARANCE All children require educational clearance before a move oversea s. For children with special educati onal needs and/or a disability, register according to AGAI 108 and with the Children's Education Advisory Service. An assessment will be carried out to ensure that your child’s needs can be met. PASSPORTS AND VISAS Passports must have at least six months’ validity remaining from the date of travel. Some overseas loca tions will require an additional visa for the host country. Call the Defence travel visa team on 020 7 218 4366 for more details.

homeward journeys. l Local

Overseas Allowance (LOA) – a non-taxable allowance to contribute towards the additional local cost of living. It’s a daily rate which is location specific and awarded on rank and family size. LOA is reviewed regularly but can also fluctuate due to exchange rates.

...Access removals and storage? Agility Logistics will provide

the unaccompanied baggage service including: management of applications, surveys, packing, collection, delivery, unpacking and storage, within your entitlement. Call 0844 282 1465 or go to for further guidance.

them. More info at

...Find out about taking our pets?

Remember to seek specialist advice as early as possible and research the location thoroughly as in some areas there are limitations on spousal employment, childcare, schooling and medical support. See our checklist above and supportability article on page 46.

The management and financing of moving pets overseas is your responsibility. In some locations it may not be advisable to take

If you have further questions, visit or email me at &

For the loved ones you leave behind AS YOU set up home in a new country you’re bound to be concerned about the wellbeing of your wider family. The Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre (JCCC) is there 24/7, 365 days to manage the immediate travel, at public expense, of compassionate cases that warrant a family being together at very short notice. This can be arranged from a single call to the JCCC from you or your family members back home. To contact the JCCC, call 01452 519951 quoting your soldier’s rank, name and Service number. It’s recommended that you and your family: l Hold a copy of the JCCC card that fits into a wallet, available from your unit’s chief clerk. l Download the JCCC MOD ICE app. Your soldier should be able to access this at defencegateway. and it can be downloaded multiple times.

iHIVE coming soon IF YOU are considering or are posted to an overseas location, the Army Welfare Service has come up with a new initiative. iHIVE is launching soon and will provide up-to-date and relevant information on all overseas locations worldwide through Overseas Location Guides (OLG). The guides can help you to make decisions on future postings and, most importantly, the suitability of an overseas posting for your family. OLGs will contain information and the latest policy details for your destination. There will be an online blog and access to a HIVE Information Support Officer, who will be on hand to answer your enquiries. winter spring 2015 2017 Army&You 35 51


A postcard from...

M A L AYS I A How long have you been an Army family? Married 12 years and together seven before that. I used to be a little bit wild, so it took seven years for John to pin me down. T ime in Malaysia: We arrived in September 2016 and it will be too short, but isn't that always the case? We chose this life of pay, pack and follow and I would have it no other way. How many other military families live in Malaysia? There are five UK families of mixed Service and a large antipodean presence. What's your quarter like? Ginormous - a villa near the shore, reminiscent of Caribbean-inspired architecture. I need a scooter to get from the front door to the kitchen. The dogs love it in the garden and spend the days in staring matches with the monkeys. Can spouses and partners work? No, but who wants to when there's paradise to explore?

52 Army&You spring 2017

Where do Army families get together? There's no social military infrastructure, so having made super Canadian, Aussie, Italian, German, Norw egian, British, Chinese and Penangese friends, we visit the plethora of local bars, restaurants, hawkers' markets and festivals with them. Who supports families? The British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and, unofficially, new friends, the Penang Facebook pages or ex-pat blogs. What's the best thing about living in Malaysia? Everything is strange, everything wonderful. Frequently I look at the tropical trees, lush foliage, monitor lizards, monkeys, wet markets, trishaws, street food and batiks and I feel a cheesy grin on my face. And we haven't even had time to explore beyond the island yet. Next month - orangutans in Borneo, then HaLong Bay in V ietnam.


Drusilla, husband John and their

dogs, a Patterdale Terrier and a Cocker Spaniel

WHERE: Penang, Malaysia



Student finance: Am I eligible? *There are different requirements for EU nationals and family members of UK nationals.

AFF F&C Specialist Katherine Houlston looks at how your immigration status affects your ability to claim student finance and highlights issues to be aware of…


HE UK Council for International Student Affairs website states that to be eligible to claim finance for a higher education course in England, you must meet the following requirements:

however it’s very important that you have your ILR/ILE on the first day of the first academic year of the course. If your ILR/ILE is issued after this date you will most likely be refused, so apply in plenty of time.

l Be settled in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course*; and l On the first day of the first academic year of the course you must be ordinarily resident in England; and l Have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the full three-year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course.


SETTLED STATUS If you have Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you are considered settled. This doesn’t usually cause any problems,

You are ordinarily resident if you are ‘habitually, normally and lawfully’ resident.

DOES MY TIME SPENT ON AN OVERSEAS POSTING COUNT AS ORDINARILY RESIDENT? Yes. The student support regulations state that you may be treated as being or having been ordinarily resident in the UK if you would have been resident but for the fact that you, your spouse or civil partner, or your parent was serving overseas. If you're a student returning from an overseas posting as part of the UK Armed Forces, you

Case study: Dennis Turagavou DENNIS (right) applied for student finance in-date. He already had ILE, issued in 2012, but this was on an old passport and had an expiry date. Believing that the visa had expired, he applied again

whilst in Germany but was issued with a limited leave visa, not indefinite leave. He sent this off to Student Finance England but his application was refused because he didn’t have ILR. He was asked to pay accommodation and university fees and was in danger of having to leave his

course. AFF contacted UKVI and was told nt’ visa because, that he had been issued with a ‘returning reside of the UK for more as far as UKVI was concerned, he had been out ing school in the than two years – despite actually attending board his ILE onto a UK since 2012. AFF assisted Dennis in transferring student finance a biometric residents permit and he was granted few weeks later.

may be considered ordinarily resident.

DOES MY TIME SPENT IN THE UK WITHOUT A VALID VISA COUNT AS ORDINARILY RESIDENT? No. The regulations state that you will not be treated as ordinarily resident in a place unless you lawfully reside there. If you have had times where you have not been lawfully resident in the UK within the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course, you cannot be treated as ordinarily resident. You will be considered to be in breach of immigration laws if you are an over-stayer. The Immigration Appeal Tribunal has said that it is irrelevant that your stay was subsequently regularised by a grant of Leave to Remain. For more information, visit the F&C pages of the AFF website at &

Case study: Maricer Langellier-Aurelian MARICER (left) and her son were granted ILR in 2015. The application was made after the previous visa’s expiry date; it was not an intime application. Student Finance England (SFE) refused finance on the basis that they weren’t ‘ordinarily reside nt’ for the past three years due to this period of overstaying. AFF raised the case to the Armed Forces policy department within UKVI and asked that they communicate with SFE to explain the overstaying rules for Armed Forces spouses. SFE has now reconsidered the case and offered

student finance to both Maricer and her son.

spring 2017 Army&You 53


TAKE TO THE OPEN ROAD. It’s going to be harder than ever to slide effortlessly back into civilian life. With the global economy under attack in all continents, nobody is fully protected. Leaving the Army, Navy or RAF suddenly pitches you into a new battle. The fight for a good job. On the bright side, the skills you’ve gained, and the experiences you’ve had provide a tremendous basis for a worthwhile career in civvy street. What they don’t give you is a free pass. The important thing is that you’re not on your own. The MoD is strongly committed to resettlement, to offering the help and tools that make sure you land on your feet when you leave. To do that, the MoD works closely with a number of organisations who can maximise your talents and help smooth the path into a job that’s probably going to feel very different to the one you’re used to. One of the best known and most respected of those organisations is The Open University.

Open road - a road well trodden The relationship between the three services and The Open University goes back a long way and, make no mistake, it’s special. Special because The Open University - let’s call them the OU, everyone else does - lights up a clearer and more exciting career path. It doesn’t matter what rank you’ve achieved, where you’ve served, what unit or trade you’re in or what your personal interests are, the OU can build on that. Basically, the OU can make you more attractive to a civilian employer. At the moment, more than 2,000 service personnel and their dependents are taking advantage of the special relationship between the OU and the Armed Forces. Many others who have left the forces are starting or continuing to study with the one university that suits an income-earning lifestyle. The OU not only offers them the freedom that comes with its renowned distance learning style of study but also the benefit of choice. You’ll find a course from the OU that fits with what you’ve done before, with what your interests and talents are and with where you want to go. Take your pick from over 600 OU and Open University Business School courses and make the most of the cost, flexibility and quality advantages on offer. “There is a huge range of courses available and suitable for service personnel enabling preparation for resettlement and the ensuing competition for jobs,” says Pam Barber, Head of Business Development (Defence) at the OU.


If you’re still serving

Open road to engineering success

If your eye is on where you want to be when you go back to being a civvy but you’re still in post, the sensible move is to make the most of the Ministry of Defence’s Enhanced Learning Credits scheme ( This initiative promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the armed forces by granting financial support, based on length of service, towards the costs of personal or career development from approved suppliers like the OU.

Engineering affects almost every part of our lives, and a qualification in this field can be your passport to a huge variety of rewarding careers. Qualified engineers are in great demand globally, and are amongst the best-paid professionals. You’ll need to be imaginative and enjoy solving problems, but as a graduate engineer your broad-ranging skills and knowledge will be highly valued.

The OU’s flexible distance learning format is ideal for those in the armed forces, as you’ll be able to work your studies around your shifts and postings. Studying with the OU while in the services has two purposes: to advance your service career and to prepare you for a new career in the fiercely competitive civilian jobs market.

The OU’s cutting-edge engineering and technology courses enable you to explore how to design, engineer and manage situations where technology and people interact. A wide-range of undergraduate engineering qualifications means that you can choose to study just one short course or you can complete a certificate, diploma, degree or work towards a masters (and chartered status).

Most of the courses taken by service personnel aren’t entirely academic in focus. They draw directly on your personal experience in the roles you have done or are doing. When they are rooted in the workplace like this, they can lead to a named qualification which is powerful evidence of your professional ability and skills.

The career options as a professional engineer are varied; advances in technology ensure there are opportunities in areas as diverse as communications, energy, health care, manufacturing, music and transport. Or you may choose to work in a particular engineering discipline such as aerospace,

Open road to teaching and business

Costs of the Open road

For example, if you’re thinking about teaching, then studying for a BSc (Honours) in Sport, Fitness and Coaching with the OU can provide you with leadership and coaching skills that will enhance your career prospects. The OU offers a modular programme that allows flexible patterns of study which can be completed in as little as 3 years, which will suit those whose circumstances prevent them from taking a traditional full-time course.

We keep our fees as low as possible and offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to make study even more affordable than you might think.

For the large number of service personnel with a leadership background, the OU also offers undergraduate and postgraduate routes into a career in business. The BA (Honours) in Business Management and our tripleaccredited MBA are flexible, distance learning routes to qualifications that are respected by FTSE 100 companies such as KPMG, Rolls-Royce and Pfizer. In fact, 86% of FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff on OU courses. Part of the study can be completed around service duties using resources such as books, DVDs, online tutorials and forums. Existing higher-level qualifications and experience can be used to reduce study time.

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Crown copyright 2015.

chemical, civil or mechanical engineering.

OU fees for new students is £5,572 per full-time equivalent course of study (120 credits). The amount you’ll pay each year will be determined by the credits you’re studying for. A typical student studying 60 credits in a year, will pay £2,786 per year. You pay for each module separately as you study them and fees include OU course materials, tutor support, assessments, and exams.

To find out how The Open University could help you broaden your career horizons or be better equipped for civilian life, visit


matters Dealing with family disputes and crises is a stressful and emotional time. Our team of Family Solicitors provide a friendly, supportive and expert legal advice to help our clients try to resolve their difficulties. Our approach is always to strive to achieve an outcome with the least amount of acrimony and expense while at the same time being aware that sometimes one has to stand firm to achieve a fair outcome.

at Wansbroughs

We offer advice on all family matters including divorce, co-habitation and separation and all related financial issues including Pre-nuptial and Living Together Agreements. Wansbroughs is central Wiltshire’s leading law firm with offices in Devizes and Melksham. Wansbroughs Solicitors, for you, your family and your business.

Please call: 01380 733300 Email: Wansbroughs_Army&YouMagazine_132x186mm_Divorce_Ad_v2.indd 1

56 Army&You spring 2017

14/02/2017 13:17



Relationship special: dealing with divorce The breakup of a marriage is naturally a stressful time which can have far-reaching impacts. We asked a panel of expert family lawyers about the separation process and the alternative options to divorce... I want a divorce. What do I need to consider

In some cases, one spouse may have built up

have regular contact with the parent with

in respect of... Housing?

a valuable pension whilst the other has not,

whom they don’t live. Don’t forget to include

Alexander David: This is one of the most

perhaps because they were at home caring for

other people in this contact – grandparents,

important issues to be resolved; certainty is

the children while the other worked. The court

cousins, aunts and uncles. You may want to

what people want. If the parties are currently

views contributions of money through work

consider using a parenting plan, which you

living in SFA, then it will probably be the case

and contributions by caring for the children

can get from CAFCASS ( If

that the spouse or partner will have to move out

as equal or following their soldier around the

you’re finding it difficult to come to an amicable

within 93 days of the marriage breaking down.

world and so may look to equalise pensions,

arrangement, then think about mediation as

This can be distressing and it is important that

especially where there is a long marriage.

an alternative to court proceedings – indeed, in

advice is sought without delay if there has been

almost all circumstances, parents are obliged

a separation. In terms of private housing, the


to try mediation before going to court if they

details of the mortgage-raising capacity, if any,

James Carter: The terms of settlement

can’t reach agreement about their children, post

of both parties is key as well as confirming what

are usually agreed following a disclosure


type of housing is required to meet both parties’

process and agreed either through solicitors

needs. Who is to be the primary carer for any

or mediation. If an agreement cannot be

What options are open to me other than

children can be a decisive factor as the needs of

reached court proceedings can be issued.


children are legally more important than any

However a settlement is obtained, its structure

Jeremy Tier: Firstly, you should ask yourself

other factor. A court can order that a property

is usually based on what a court would have

whether or not the marriage can be saved. If so,

be sold or transferred to one of the parties. If

been likely to decide. The most important

consider whether or not your spouse will attend

there is a mortgage, then it needs to be paid and

priority will be the welfare of any dependent

marriage guidance counselling with you.

the court may order one party to make monthly

children, followed by other factors including

If the marriage has broken down, some parties

contributions to the other to assist with

each party’s financial resources, ages, length of

consider a simple separation. This will normally

meeting the payments. A mortgage company

their relationship, earning capacities, standard

involve them reaching an agreement about the

may also agree to a payment holiday.

of living and their contributions. In terms of

children and matrimonial finances and asking a

capital, the usual starting point is a broadly

solicitor to prepare a separation deed. One party


equal division, but there can be a departure

or the other may start divorce proceedings after

Katie Raybould: In the first instance, both

from equality in one party’s favour for several

two years or more. This option is ideal if one

parties will need to obtain cash equivalent


party (or both) cannot go through the process of

values from their own pension provider. This

divorce so soon after the marriage breakdown.

can be done by contacting the policy provider


Another option (although rarely used) is

and explaining you need a valuation for divorce

Jill Cameron: As parents, you will want to

judicial separation. It is similar to an informal

purposes. This information will form part

ensure that disruption and upset is kept to a

separation, although it puts the separation on

of your financial disclosure. The court has

minimum for your children. Talk to your spouse

a more formal footing. Indeed, it is often used

the power to make several different orders

and try to reach an amicable arrangement

when a married couple may have a religious or

in relation to pensions, the most common

that puts the needs of your children first. Is it

moral objection to divorce. It is important to

of which is a Pension Sharing Order. When

possible to put in place, and would the children

note that judicial separation could affect your

deciding what type of pension share should

benefit from, a shared care arrangement? If

soldier’s PStat category and therefore impact

take place, the court considers all aspects.

that isn’t possible, try to ensure the children

upon allowances or housing. n






Partner & Head of Family Department, Batt Broadbent

Partner & Head of Family Law, Awdry Bailey & Douglas

Solicitor, Scotts Wright Solicitors

Solicitor, Wansbroughs Solicitors

Solicitor, Goughs Solicitors

To read more from our expert solicitors, visit the Army&You website at

spring 2017 Army&You 57

Goughs Army and You Mag 186wx132h.qxp_Layout 1 02/02/2017 14:27 Page 1

Signatories to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant

We understand that service life can be challenging when it comes to divorce or separation. We offer a free initial consultation and discounted rates with our highly experienced family lawyers to discuss all aspects of a military divorce, including... • The divorce process • Military pensions • Issues regarding children • Separation agreements • Financial matters • Pre-nuptial agreements Arrange your free, initial consultation at a time that suits you by visiting or by emailing

Calne Tel: 01249 812086 Chippenham Tel: 01249 444499

Corsham Tel: 01249 712193 Devizes Tel: 01380 726913

Melksham Tel: 01225 703036 Trowbridge Tel: 01225 762683

“We pride ourselves on supporting the local community and are ideally located to serve the legal needs of Catterick Garrison” Scotts Wright has had a presence right in the heart of Catterick Garrison since the early 1970s. Our matrimonial department can support you through the mediation process, can help you with divorce or separation and deal with related issues such as finances (including military pensions) and disputes about children, including postings abroad. We have specialists who can help with Courts Martial, disciplinary procedures and service complaints. And for life “outside” – we can deal with your house sale or purchase, Forces Help to Buy, making a will, dealing with a deceased’s estate, Powers of Attorney, debt management and landlord and tenant disputes. If you would like help with a legal matter, contact us today on 01748 832431 or via our website: 58 Army&You spring 2017


100k in 24 hours Do you have what it takes? 100k Yorkshire 17-18 June 2017


100k London to Brighton 1-2 July 2017

Sign up: Registered Charity No. 216227 (England & Wales) and SC039411 (Scotland)

spring 2017 Army&You 59

Ask the experts Got a question you want to pose to one of our team? Send it to us and we'll get it answered! Email

OUR EXPERTS EDUCATION STUART BALNAVES Head of learner experience at UCAS, the university admissions service

NUTRITION JACKIE LYNCH Nutritional therapist and author (

HOUSING KEVIN WILKINS Group marketing director at Bovis Homes (

FINANCE DR WILLY KITCHEN Head of Department for Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield


How can I write a strong personal statement? Stuart Balnaves provides some handy hints on the art of self promotion HIGHER education is not just for 18 year olds leaving school, for many, the right time can be later in life. In 2016, more than 100,000 mature students (21 and over) were accepted onto higher education courses in the UK. So, if you’re considering studying for the first time or changing career, then now could be the right time to take the plunge. One of the most challenging parts of the UCAS application form is the personal statement, where you showcase, in 4,000 characters or fewer, why you’d make a great student. Although this can be daunting, it’s also a great opportunity to show your experiences and skills that make you a good fit for a certain course. By following a few guidelines and avoiding a couple of pitfalls, you can make yourself stand out from the crowd:

Veterinary advisor for Pets at Home

Focus on why you are applying Your ambitions and what interests you about

the subject, career, course providers and higher education Highlight what makes you suitable Any relevant skills, experience or achievements gained from education, work or other activities Thoroughly research your choices This will enable you to develop your personal statement to reflect the skills and qualities the universities and colleges value most Try to stand out But be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t share your sense of humour Proofread aloud and get family and friends to check Once you have done this, redraft until you’re happy that the grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct.

How do I wean myself off comfort food? Jackie Lynch explains how Army families can put healthy snacking and drinking on their menus... AFTER a long, busy day when your soldier is away, it can be all too easy to fall back on a diet of unhealthy treats. Not only will this go straight to your waistline, it will cause energy dips and poor sleep.

But with a few small tweaks, you can still turn to your favourite comfort food with a clear conscience... PEANUT BUTTER ON TOAST The trick is to use unsweetened peanut butter which is a great source of protein and spread it on wholemeal toast, which contains double the fibre of white toast. A BOWL OF CEREAL Most brands contain around seven teaspoons

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of sugar per serving. If cereal is a default option for you, then choose one that has at least 5g of fibre per 50g serving. Adding a tablespoon of sunflower seeds will provide a big protein boost. They’re also full of calming magnesium which could be just what you need at a stressful time. A GLASS OF WINE If wine is your preferred tipple, opting for red wine is the smartest move as a glass of medium white wine contains about five times as much sugar. Beware of sparkling wine, which is even more sugary.

CRISPS The combination of fat, sugar and salt in crisps is highly addictive as these are the nutrients we instinctively crave. Try snacking on a bowl of nuts instead – almonds, cashews or pistachios are all great sources of protein and full of heart-healthy, hormone-balancing omega 3. JACKET POTATO A baked sweet potato provides the same comforting texture as a regular potato but with a much lower GI score which will be kind to your waistline and keep you going for longer. @ArmyandYou

What do I need to consider before getting a family pet?

What are the benefits of a new-build? Kevin Wilkins explains why a new build might be the best property option… A FRESH START TO SUIT YOU If you buy new, it goes without saying you’re the first to live in your home. Bright, clean and untouched, without the need to spend money upgrading. PRIME PROPERTIES New homes are constructed to the latest building standards to ensure a quality home. They’re also more energy-efficient, saving you money on your utility bills. PEACE OF MIND New homes are covered by the National House Building Council’s 10-year ‘Buildmark’ warranty and typically a twoyear guarantee from the house builder. MORE FOR YOUR MONEY The availability of purchase assistance

schemes, such as Help-to-Buy Equity – only available for new-build homes – mean homebuyers can buy a home with just five per cent deposit and a mortgage for 75 per cent, thanks to a 20 per cent equity loan from the government. When combined, Forces Help to Buy and Bovis Homes' All-Inclusive Armed Forces Discount Scheme (bovishomes. information-on/schemes-for-thearmed-forces) could make buying new much more affordable than you think. The Bovis Homes discount scheme includes money off the price of a Bovis home (£500 for every £25,000 spent), a £500 contribution towards legal costs and a package of extras, including carpets and curtains, meaning all you need to bring when you move in is the furniture.

Dr Maeve Moorcroft lets us know what Army families need to think about ahead of succumbing to animal attraction… OWNING a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s important to consider whether you can offer your new family member the five pet welfare needs – shelter, food and water, good health, appropriate company and the right living environment – to keep them happy and healthy. It’s also important for Army families to consider how best to manage frequent moves and changing family circumstances. A disruptive environment can be a stressful and unsettling experience for animals, so it’s important to consider how you can minimise this. There are a number of products, including plug in diffusers, to reduce pets' stress. In particular, Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are great as they are designed to help keep pets calm and relaxed when moving to a new home.

How do I budget for my return to education? Dr Willy Kitchen shares some tips on how mature students can finance their university courses… IT IS important for students to understand the costs associated with studying at university and to plan their budgets accordingly. All students have unique lifestyles and spend money differently, so it’s difficult to provide an accurate figure that applies to everyone. However, mature students may need to factor in additional costs such as childcare, travelling for study, and loss of earnings. Other tips for mature students include: l All full-time, first-time students from the UK

and EU are eligible for a government-funded tuition fee loan. This is paid to the university and students don't pay it back until they reach an earning threshold – currently £21,000 – after graduating

l Full-time students are eligible for a maintenance

loan. The maximum amount available is £8,200 per year. Some of this will depend on your household income, which is your family's gross annual income minus some pension contributions and allowances for dependent children l When paying back, your tuition and maintenance loans are added together so you make one monthly payment. Your monthly payments are based on nine per cent of whatever you earn above £21,000. Payments are based on what you earn, not what you owe. If your wages drop, this is reflected in your repayments. After 30 years, anything you haven’t paid back is written off l Full-time students with children in registered or approved childcare can apply for a Childcare Grant

to help with these costs in term time and holidays. You may also be eligible for a Parent's Learning Allowance to help with course-related costs. This is on top of any Child Tax Credits you're eligible for. Both the grant and the allowance are based on your household income and you don't have to pay the money back l Students get discounted travel l Take advantage of student discounts to save money off everything from meals to haircuts. Some shops don’t advertise it, so be sure to ask l Open a student bank account. Shop around to find the best benefits to suit you l Make a budget before you arrive and try to stick to it l Aim to buy any books on your reading list second-hand from last year's students. spring 2017 Army&You 61


Click the giveaways tab at and follow the links. One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 23 April 2017 unless otherwise stated. See page three for competition rules. Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Winners’ names and T&Cs are published on the Army&You website.

Sunny seaside stay DISCOVER the delights of Eastbourne, the UK’s sunniest resort on the south coast. You and a loved one will be treated to a two-night stay in the heart of Eastbourne’s theatre district. Follow the palm tree-lined promenade onto the Victorian Pier where you can admire the sea views and tuck into traditional fish and chips before relaxing at the award-winning 4-star Edwardian guest house, The Mowbray. Escape the bustle of Army

life as you explore the rolling countryside of the South Downs National Park or visit the harbour where you can dine al fresco in one of the marina’s restaurants. Your two-night stay will include a complimentary breakfast with everything from pastries to pancakes. It’s sure to leave you feeling relaxed and revitalised. Go to to find out more.

Enter to be in with a chance of winning a two-night stay for two, worth £210, at The Mowbray, including bed and breakfast in a standard double or twin room.

T&Cs: This prize is open to serving Regular or Reserve families only and must be taken between 1 May and 31 July 2017. Bookings are subject to availability and the prize is not transferable. Travel costs are not included.

Army v Navy: Centenary sell out TICKETS for the 100th Army v Navy rugby match sold out within four days – but you can still join 82,000 fans at Twickenham by entering our giveaway. We have four pairs of tickets up for grabs for this special centenary match on Saturday 29 April. Following the formation of the two Unions, the event has taken place every year since 1907, other than during the World Wars.

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You can enjoy watching the Women’s Royal Navy and Army teams, the Royal Navy Mariners v Army Masters and UK Armed Forces U23s against Oxbridge U23s. Live entertainment precedes the main event at 3pm, where the Army and Royal Navy clash for the 100th time. For more information, visit This giveaway closes on Thursday 6 April.











Turn your earphones into a fashion accessory with Wraps. When worn on the wrist, the slider system keeps the lightweight alloy heads, slider and jack plug all connected for a compact fit. The cables are kept in perfect alignment and remain tangle free. Wraps’ new ‘Talk’ range comes in six colours and features a universal one button microphone. Wraps Talk, priced £19.99, are compatible with all smartphones and tablets.

Win a set of family tickets for the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, where awesome awaits. Fly through treetops to escape dragons, ride rapids with a viking fleet, join LEGO® divers on an underwater adventure or enjoy the UK’s only LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland Model Display. Become a master of Spinjitzu at the new LEGO® NINJAGO™ World opening in May. With more than 55 rides, live shows and attractions, LEGOLAND is guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained.

Huxter is all about kids’ clothing, handmade for boys and girls. You choose the fabric and select the items you’d like, then Huxter matches the coordinating fabrics and creates your design. The company was created by Army spouse Sophie Bell-Carr, who started making her own clothes during a posting to Germany. Army&You readers get a 10 per cent discount until 30 April. Enter code “AFF” during checkout at

These handmade cushions by Janelle Design featuring the iconic British Army Foot Guards will look great in any military home. The two-toned covers show the buttons on the tunics and plumes on the bearskins for each of the five Household Division Foot Guards – Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards. All cushions are handmade to order with invisible zip and are overlocked to prevent fraying.

Move over Superman – the original and iconic Action Man is back! Celebrating the much-loved idol’s 50th anniversary, Action Man Soldier has returned to duty. Despite having a fair few years on him now, this hero still has his distinctive flocked hair, gripping hands and famous scar. Lovingly hand-crafted, each piece is presented in a special gift box and includes the iconic Action Man dog tag and 50th anniversary booklet.

l Army&You has three pairs

l Win a family pass (two

l Three lucky winners can

l Win one of two pairs of

l Army&You has three of

of Wraps, each retailing at £19.99, to give away.

adults and two children) valid until 30 October 2017.

choose any item, worth up to £32, from the Huxter range.

cushions, one colour and one silhouette (£38.98 per pair).

these iconic figures, worth £34.99 each, to give away.

spring 2017 Army&You 63

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, NINJAGO, the Minifigure, DUPLO and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2017 The LEGO Group. Full T&Cs on the Army&You website.



To have your say on the issues affecting you, send your letters to the Editor at You don’t need to worry that it will affect your soldier’s career. Please include your name and address. They will not be published or revealed to anyone outside AFF without your permission.

THE writer of this letter wins a Millie Marotta Journal, a ruled hardback journal interspersed with illustrations for colouring and doodling; Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom box of 50 postcards; and a pack of three paperback journals, perfect for note taking on the go. Based on her bestselling colouring books, Millie’s Marotta’s intricate wildlife illustrations decorate journals, postcards and other stationery products that will appeal both to fans of colouring in and of Millie’s signature illustration style. Find out more at Batsford. com/MillieMarotta

64 Army&You spring 2017

Tax-torment for Scots-based troops WHILST sorting out my tax affairs, I stumbled across details on HMRC’s website regarding a devolved Scottish tax policy which came into effect in the current tax year and directly impacts on some Armed Forces families living in or about to be posted to Scotland. The Scottish Parliament has the right to set its own taxes, including tax bands from this April, and to tax anyone who is both earning and is considered resident in Scotland. The HMRC website indicates that Armed Forces personnel are included in the broad definition of who qualifies as a Scottish rate tax payer. ‘Living in Scotland’ applies to anyone in rented accommodation, even if it’s paid for by another party or provided by an

employer. In Scotland, the higher rate tax threshold is not going to be increased, unlike the rest of the UK where it is set to increase at an annual, incremental rate until 2020. This policy means that Service personnel posted to Scotland and liable for higher rate tax could end up paying more tax than if they were posted elsewhere in the UK – or abroad – simply because they are resident in an SFA/ SSFA with a Scottish address. We would not be expected to pay additional tax to a local government if we were posted overseas, yet this will be the case in Scotland: a country within the UK that benefits from the employment

opportunities presented by the MOD and enjoys the security afforded by the protection of HM Armed Forces! That this same country then sees fit to effectively penalise any demographic of HM Forces employees based there for the duration of a posting – or even successive postings – is unreasonable and unfair. It’s my sincere hope that this matter is already receiving the urgent attention it deserves. Name and address supplied. Response from Maj Arthur Dawe, SO2 Allowances: The MOD continues to monitor the effects of any potential changes to the Scottish Rate of Income

Tax. A submission was made to the Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel, Mark Lancaster MP, who is currently considering the facts. Do look out for updates once ministerial direction has been received. Response from AFF Chief Executive, Sara Baade: This has been on our radar for some time and we have lobbied policy makers to help ensure Army families will not lose out financially if they are posted to Scotland. Under the Armed Forces Covenant, no family should face disadvantage because of their Service – this is a clear case. We await the Minister’s comments and will continue to monitor this issue.


For more information on determining whether your soldier is a Scottish tax payer, search for 2015DIN01-215 online

Star letter


Investigate your insurance: Service spouses and partners who are EU nationals should be aware of healthcare rules

Are you covered? I UNDERSTAND that an EU national who resides in the UK, and who is not in paid work – a housewife or househusband for instance – needs Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI). Before the EU referendum, I was totally unaware of this rule and I suspect that many EU spouses still do not know about this. Being married to a working British citizen does not suffice. I personally work full-time, so do not have a CSI concern, but I am sure that other Service spouses/partners will. I think this information should be communicated as a matter of urgency to all Army families. Name and address supplied Response from Maj Dave Coward, SO2 Welfare B,

Personal Services: Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the medical care for Service personnel and entitled family members. In the home base, medical care is provided to uniformed Service personnel by the Defence Medical Services as an entitlement. Medical care to entitled family members is provided by the NHS except in certain locations where families might be treated in a military primary care facility. If you’re assigned overseas, medical care is provided free of charge

to all resident military personnel and their entitled family members who are eligible. Therefore as a spouse of a Service person who resides in the UK you are entitled to access NHS medical care regardless of your nationality or employment status. However, NHS medical care does not count as CSI, which you will need if you intend to apply for permanent residence as an EU national. Those EU nationals who are employed or self-employed do not require CSI.

Before the EU referendum, I was totally unaware of this rule and I suspect that many EU spouses still do not know about this

I AM concerned about the residency rights in the UK of EU spouses of British Service personnel. Anyone wishing to apply for permanent residency (PR) must have resided lawfully in the UK for five continuous years. It’s my understanding that overseas postings will not count towards residency, which puts EU spouses of Service personnel at a huge disadvantage. Our battalion was in Germany from 2007 then straight on to Cyprus from 2010-12 – it has been back in the UK since. Therefore, if an EU spouse wanted to apply for PR today, they would be declined as the five-year rule isn’t met. It gets worse, as the battalion is due to be posted back to Cyprus for three years! What will happen to EU spouses upon return to the UK from Cyprus, especially bearing in mind that we will be living in a post-Brexit world by then? These residency rules are extremely unfair for EU spouses of Servicemen and women. Name and address supplied Response from Maj Dave Coward, SO2 Welfare B, Personal Services: To have the right of permanent residence in the UK, you must have been working, studying or supporting yourself independently in the UK, for a continuous period of five years. Absences are allowed as long as they do not exceed six months in any 12-month period. There is provision on the EEA (PR) application in Section 5 to explain absences from the UK for more than six months by reason of military Service for the applicant or their sponsor. Any application made for permanent residence is a personal choice and applicants should seek advice from a qualified immigration specialist to discuss individual circumstances, especially if they have been out of the UK over the prescribed period laid down. There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU. EU nationals concerned in the wake of Brexit should read the Government statement at spring 2017 Army&You 65


Overseas medical anguish MY HUSBAND received an assignment order to Cyprus. I completed a medical request with my current doctor because of an ongoing medical condition. We arranged removals, I gave my notice at work and we had a pre moveout visit. We were also advised to book our children’s holiday flights from boarding school. Two months later, my husband received a call saying I could not go to Cyprus due to my health issues – the day before I finished in my job. We appealed the decision as we felt it had been made from a single piece of information regarding my health. I sent supporting evidence from my consultant and Senior Medical Officer (SMO) which stated that I would not require secondary care. We heard nothing until my husband called to find out that our appeal had been rejected. My husband’s superiors felt that he should go to Cyprus and fight my corner. If I could meet with the deciding SMO and discuss my condition, he would see that I am not in need of any healthcare other than prescription medication. So we flew to Cyprus and arranged a meeting with help from SSAFA. It was a waste of time. The SMO clearly had no intention of discussing the issues; when I handed him my medical evidence he stated he didn’t have time to read it as it was a 15-minute appointment. Everything I suggested was dismissed. We requested a review via Commander Med and I provided all the previous and additional information. I had hoped for a fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory review; no-one represented me. Again, I was being judged on paper. My husband had to phone for the result, only to be told we had been denied again. I believe my ability to deal with my issues and reports from consultants have been ignored. I also stated I would be happy to have a psychiatric evaluation, which was not acted upon. This situation has hugely impacted on me. Since I was a child I have been pushing myself to maintain an ordinary able-bodied person’s life and now feel that I have persevered to no avail. The military system is not willing to look at me as an individual. Although I have multi-disciplinary issues, the only healthcare I require is my

66 Army&You spring 2017

Grounded: The availability of suitable medical and welfare services in overseas locations can impact on whether members of Army families are able to join their soldiers on postings abroad

medication. They have made a decision from a paper trail. I am investigating whether my experience is a breach of the Equality and Human Rights Acts. I have seen that it is mandatory to notify the Army Personnel Centre of issues however, as I do not require any specialist or welfare assistance and have never required additional support as a dependant in 18 years, I did not believe it necessary to register. There is no process for me as a family member, to make an official complaint and I believe I should have a voice. Name and address supplied. Response from Wing Commander Chrissie Ashton HQ British Forces Cyprus: The availability of suitable medical and welfare services overseas must be considered before Service personnel and their family members can be posted abroad. There are certain cases, particularly for individuals with complex needs, where it is not possible to replicate the level of support that is available from the NHS, local authorities and charities in the UK. The assessment is undertaken by professional agencies. Assessments are made before postings

to Cyprus are confirmed. We advise personnel not to make plans to move to Cyprus until supportability is confirmed and dependant status granted. This supportability process is in place to ensure we maintain the duty of care and wellbeing of our Service families. We cannot discuss details of individual cases but we can confirm that in relation to the case you have brought to our attention that the correct process was applied. Response from AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross: AFF is working hard to ensure that families are aware of the policies that provide the information on supportability, whether that be educational, medical or welfare support and the process that they should follow – see our article on page 46. However, we are concerned that sometimes the decision to accompany a serving spouse on an overseas assignment is being made quite late in the process and that the person with the additional need and/or disability is being assessed as a paper exercise rather than as an individual. We would like to see more flexibility in the system to ensure families in this situation are being given the best opportunity to accept an overseas posting. @ArmyandYou


WORKING AGE VETERANS ARE 3.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER FROM HEARING LOSS THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION The Legion is working with audiologists across the UK to help veterans and Reservists with hearing loss acquired during Service, whose wellbeing needs cannot be met through the NHS If you suffer hearing loss or tinnitus we may be able to help you

For more information visit call 0808 802 8080 or visit your local Pop In Centre

Registered charity number: 219279



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