Army&You Spring 2024

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Spring 2024 Along for the ride A spotlight on the highs and hardships faced by Service young people Win Exclusive tickets to visit Grand Designs Live PLUS: COMMUNITY | EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING | EDUCATION & CHILDCARE | FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH HEALTH | MONEY & YOU | OVERSEAS | YOUR FAMILY | YOUR HOME ACE YOUR ANSWERS Tips on successfully navigating job interviews BOARDING BRIEFING Things to consider when deciding on your child’s home from home ‘REMOVE’ THE STRESS Helpful hints for a smooth move CHILDCARE CHALLENGES How being in the military can pose additional parenting headaches is our free and confidential helpline and webchat service, providing support for regulars, reserves and veterans from the Armed Forces and their families. Family, debt, housing, mental wellbeing, addiction or other problems - don’t talk to us CALL FORCESLINE 0800 260 6767 Open weekdays, 09:00 to 17:30 TO CONTACT US ONLINE Registered as a charity in England and Wales Number 210760 in Scotland Number SC038056 and in Republic of Ireland Number 20202001. Established 1885. keep quiet .

The voice of youth

Service children and young people can face unique challenges, such as frequent moves and separation from loved ones as a result of deployments and training, which can put a strain on family life.

However, growing up as part of a military family can also mean children and young people develop many positive qualities such as pride, determination and resilience. In this edition, to coincide with the Month of the Military Child, we focus on military children and young people. In our feature Childcare challenges on pages 10 to 12, reporter Jill Misson talks to families about their experiences of juggling army life and working with a young family.

considering boarding for your child, page 41, including extra costs which can easily add up.

In our Education & Childcare pages, we put the focus on the MOD wraparound childcare scheme and answer some of your most frequently asked questions – pages 47 to 49. We also talk to charity Never Such Innocence as it embarks on its 10th anniversary year of supporting service youth.

We also take a look at what support is available when you’re growing your family while posted overseas – pages 22 to 23 –and how the Armed Forces Families Early Years programme has helped childcare settings, page 48.

Get social!

Want to keep abreast of the latest news and views about army life? Make sure you follow us online for exclusive content! Find us @armyandyou on X and Instagram, search for ArmyandYou on Facebook or visit

Elsewhere, we consider the wider implications of

As around around 14% of 18 to 24-yearolds are not in education, training or employment, in our Employment & Training section, we look at the support available to help the next generation take their first steps into the world of work.

There are some inspiring stories and books to be won in Dandelions, our children’s section, on page 62. If you’d like to tell us about a project involving service kids or if your youngster would like to feature in a future edition, just get in touch by emailing

Finally, you can win some fantastic prizes, including six weeks of online fitness training and tickets to Grand Designs Live, on our giveaways on pages 64 and 65. Enjoy the edition! A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 3 ✪ Posts generously sponsored by the Army Benevolent Fund Housing
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Editor // 01264 554004 Regions Devolved Nations England Overseas CONTRIBUTIONS If you’ve got a story to tell about army life, then let us know – email SUBSCRIPTIONS In your own home or private rental? Subscribe for FREE via – you can unsubscribe at any time via the same link or by emailing unsubscribe@aff. If you need to change your details, email DELIVERY If you live in SFA/SSFA and would like to be removed from our mailing list, you can do so at any time by emailing unsubscribe@aff. or visiting, where you’ll find our privacy policy and T&Cs PUBLISHER Army&You is published quarterly by TylerBale Communications on behalf of the Army Families Federation. Editorial content © AFF. Not to be reproduced without permission. Design by Wroxy Meredith AFF Army Families Federation is a charitable incorporated organisation registered in England and Wales with registered charity number 1176393 and a charity registered in Scotland with registered charity number SC048282. Principal office: IDL 414, Floor 1, Zone 6, Ramillies Building, Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover SP11 8HJ COMPETITIONS To enter, visit One entry per household per giveaway. Full T&Cs on the website. Closing date is 19 May 2024 unless otherwise stated. ADVERTISEMENTS Interested in advertising in Army&You? Contact TylerBale Communications. Email: Tel: 01252 714870 / Web: Money
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4 | | Army&You Spring 2024 FEATURES COVER STORY 10 Childcare challenges Picking a pathway through the problems of parenthood COVER STORY EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING 16 How to ace your interview Expert tips on shining under employment examination 18 Starting out Avenues of assistance for young people climbing onto the career ladder COVER STORY YOUR HOME 20 On the move? Make sure you’re up to speed on how to book your removals OVERSEAS 22 Navigating new arrivals What you can expect from pregnancy care when assigned away from the UK 24 Vehicle spotlight Guidance on swerving motoring admin headaches 29 A postcard from... A snapshot of military life in Edinburgh FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH 30 Immigration rules The lowdown on the regulations relating to service young people COMMUNITY 32 Together in song Celebrating a decade of singing from the same sheet HEALTH 34 A helping hand Sources of sensitive support for service families COVER STORY MONEY & YOU 41 Boarding briefing Revision notes for those weighing up whether to board SPOTLIGHT 42 Menopause matters Meet the ‘unsung heroine’ helping to break the silence YOUR FAMILY 44 Youth work overseas A spotlight on those working hard to ensure families enjoy their overseas experience EDUCATION & CHILDCARE 47 Wraparound childcare Your most asked questions answered 48 Grants to grow Early years programme helps providers to prosper REGULARS 7 A Word From… Education Specialist, Anna Hutchinson 8 AFF in Action Discover the latest news affecting army families 14 Download Newsy snippets about army family life 60 Blogspot You share your experiences of army family life 62 Dandelions For the younger members of your army family 64 Giveaways COVER STORY Check out our prize haul and be a winner this spring 66 Book Club Toby, aged 7, tells us what he thought of Call the Puffins! 30 32
forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X for lots more news and features Childcare
suitable childcare
for many parents
the unique nature of military life can make it more challenging for army families.
10. Contents | 10 44
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Army&You Spring 2024 | | 5

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YOU continually tell AFF of the challenges faced by your children and young people brought about by being part of an army family.

Issues with affordability and lack of suitable childcare for those with young children are common problems for many. We know that childcare has a huge impact on families and their ability to work and study. The lack of availability of childcare both for the early years age groups and for those with children at school is also a real issue.

AFF recognises that, even with the introduction of the MOD’s wraparound childcare scheme and the financial support this has given many families, it hasn’t been a solution for others.

Affordable childcare for those not eligible for other means of government support, being able to access childcare that meets your needs and that covers school holidays remain of key importance for parents and carers.

lack of choice over schools when moving house are ever present concerns and, for families with older children, issues surrounding exams and applying for college and university are regularly highlighted as times of worry and uncertainty.

We recognise that the school admissions process is challenging and have worked closely with the other families federations in asking for clear and easy-to-understand guidance for the School Admissions Code in England so that local authorities, admissions teams, schools and families understand the process when applying for and allocating school places to service children.

AFF works closely with the

Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP) which developed a Thriving Lives Toolkit for schools across the UK to use when working with service children to help ensure that the support given by the school matches the needs of those within it.

Even without childcare issues, many of you report that the application process for school places brings a degree of anxiety and that even when children are settled in a school, the next military move can already be seen looming on the horizon.

Frequent school moves and

So what does AFF do to help resolve these ongoing issues? We work closely with the departments within the MOD, Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding and Defence Children Services. We regularly feed into these teams the questions and issues raised by you to help build a picture of the real-life issues you experience.

“Affordable childcare for those not eligible for other means of government support, being able to access childcare that meets your needs and that covers school holidays remain of key importance for parents and carers. ”

SCiP is now working on a project to deliver a toolkit which will cover a service child’s journey from birth through to age 25. AFF is delighted to be involved in the working groups for these expanded phases that will include early years children and those in higher education. We know that more needs to be done to help lessen the impact of service life on children and young people and will continue to highlight to policy makers the importance of supporting the lives of the youngest members of our army community. A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 7




The AFF Foreign & Commonwealth team will be holding regular virtual Q&A briefs every last Tuesday of the month from 7-8pm until further notice.

The sessions will be an opportunity for the F&C team to update families on the latest news, provide detail on specific topics or issues and answer any questions you may have. To join, simply go to the Foreign & Commonwealth pages at aff. to find the link to the Teams meeting.



The Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report 2023, which gives an update on the support provided to the armed forces community in the last year, has now been published. AFF, with the RAF Families Federation and Naval Families Federation, had the opportunity to comment on the report and ensure that the voice of military families was heard.

In our observations on pages 9-14, we highlight the review of the Armed Forces Covenant governance structure to ensure that there is continued focus on the unique needs of serving personnel and their families.

We also raised the need to monitor progress on issues as they are taken forward by relevant government


AFF Overseas Manager Esther Thomas attended the meeting of the Defence Attaché and Loan Service Global Defence Network (GDN) in London recently. This links in with AFF’s regular joint presentation on the Defence Attaché Foundation course for spouses preparing to accompany their soldiers overseas.

The meeting discussed Loan Service concerns in different locations. The families federations gave feedback on ways in which the support given before assignments could be improved for families and offered to trial virtual quarterly briefs for spouses who are unable to attend the GDN’s courses in person.

If you have any queries or feedback (positive and negative) on a current Defence engagement overseas assignment, contact AFF’s overseas

The families federations also welcomed the expansion of eligibility for the Wraparound Childcare Scheme.

Read the report and our observations on it on

team who can pass on concerns to the GDN, anonymously if necessary.



A Fijian student based in Cyprus got in touch as she was unable to access the university funding she was entitled to due to being part of an army family overseas.

AFF was able to support her through the appeals process and is delighted to report that her appeal was successful.

If you have any problems in accessing the university funding which you are entitled to, due to being a military family, please get in touch with us so that we can guide you through the appeals process.

It is important for us to be able to evidence issues that families encounter so that we can work to remove any disadvantage for army families in the funding process.



Couples who were separating told AFF they were having difficulty claiming removals, as the serving person needed to apply and this was not always possible.

A process was in place for a non-serving spouse or civil partner to access removals, but this was not clear in the policy.

We spoke to the army remuneration team and fed back your concerns. New information has now been added to the policy to make it clearer.

This means if the breakdown isn’t amicable you can speak to the welfare team and ask for the Commanding Officer to liaise with Agility to apply on your behalf.

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Above from top left to right: Commander Andrew Norgate, Head Defence Attaché and Loan Service, Global Defence Network, Esther Thomas of AFF, Sue Gee of RAF Families Federation, Sian Timms of Naval Families Federation, Maj Emma McMillian and Shaun Morroll, Global Defence Network. #AFFteamwork Above: The AFF F&C team



The Army Families Federation team were back on the road in January, this time holding the Ask AFF roadshow in Colchester. The specialist team met 16 Air Assault Brigade chain of command, welfare teams, serving personnel and their families.

The event took place over two days, with four sessions in and outside the camp during key times of the day to maximise the opportunities to discuss any issues or concerns families and soldiers face due to service life.

The team discussed issues concerning military allowances and debt following the festive season, complex Foreign and Commonwealth immigration enquiries, questions about the New Accommodation Offer and queries relating to service children with additional needs.

Lt Col E L Rankin, Colchester Garrison Commander, said: “I am grateful to the

AFF team for their support and for making themselves so accessible to the Colchester Garrison community. It is very clear to me that we have a superb organisation committed to supporting and assisting the soldier and their family from day one of initial training through to the transition from the army.

“They have provided a team of committed experts who cover housing, money and allowances, health and additional needs, education and childcare, employment and training, Foreign and Commonwealth requirements and general welfare issues; all of them are passionate and committed to seeking resolution, advice and information to help the soldier and their family. It has been wonderful to meet the team at AFF and I am immeasurably grateful to them for their engagement and the opportunity to be part of the Ask AFF Roadshow.”

For more information on AFF events, visit



The Waqanisauvaki family was reunited in January after AFF helped them with their visa applications and proving that the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) had been met.

Mosese Waqanisauvaki said:

“On behalf of my family I would like to say a big thank you for all the advice I have received when trying to sort out the paperwork and all the necessary documentation to support the application for my wife and son to join me in the UK.

“My son is now in Year 2 at primary school and my wife just started work.”



Suliana Tuiteci from our Foreign & Commonwealth team has recently passed her Level 1 Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) exam. This means that she can now provide qualified immigration advice to F&C families.

You can get in touch with the team at or find useful information at

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 9

Childcare challenges

Finding suitable childcare is tricky for many parents but the unique nature of military life can make it more challenging for army families. Jill Misson reports…

FREQUENT moves and uncertainty around future assignment locations mean that childcare places can be difficult to source and families face a lack of availability or choice. Many also struggle with the cost.

Families’ experiences

Army spouse Annie Hennessey says: “We’ve had five military house moves in just under four years. Our eldest has had four nursery places in the last year and we have just managed to secure our youngest into childcare but we are due to be posted again in under a year.”

Alyshia Humphrys is a paediatric nurse who almost had to give up her career. She says: “Childcare is extortionate and doesn’t cover the hours I need for long shifts. I rely on friends to walk the eldest to school and book him into after-school and holiday clubs, however, there aren’t always spaces.

“By the time we have got into a routine we may have to move and start the process again of finding jobs that work with school hours and joining waiting lists for childcare.”

“Childcare is extortionate and doesn’t cover the hours I need for long shifts.”
10 | | Army&You Spring 2024
Alyshia and her children

Balancing work and home life

As part of the Haythornthwaite Review of Armed Forces Incentivisation, service leavers were asked about their reasons for resigning. The report, published in June 2023, revealed that 44 per cent had mentioned childcare challenges.

AFF works closely with the MOD through Defence Children Services (DCS) and Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS) to highlight the difficulties that families face when trying to balance work and home life around childcare availability, while ensuring their children have access to a quality setting which is beneficial for development.

Wraparound childcare

Through the MOD Wraparound Childcare scheme (WAC) eligibile families can claim up to 20 hours of funding during term-time for each child aged four to 11. A simpler registration and claims process integrated into Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) was launched in February. To find out how to apply and use the WAC benefits calculator, go

online to discovermybenefits.

A spokesperson for Defence says: “We have supported over 7,300 service families with WAC since the scheme rolled out across the UK in autumn 2022. Making it easier for armed forces partners to return to work and easing financial pressures on households is hugely important to us.”

An MOD feedback survey highlighted the positive impact WAC is having on family finances, morale and retention. One serving person described it as a “game changer and a massive help in providing much-needed financial support considering the current cost-ofliving crisis”.

While it is a step in the right direction, WAC doesn’t help all families as it doesn’t extend to holiday care nor does it include

“I would like to see a realistic hourly rate and extended provision so that spouses can work full-time... It would relieve a burden if some holiday care was covered, at least during deployments.”

families where the partner is currently in full-time education gaining qualifications.

In many areas families cannot access WAC as either suitable wraparound care is not available or the provider does not accept tax-free childcare voucers as payment. There is currently no overseas equivalent.

Holiday care needed

Hannah Routledge uses the scheme but feels it doesn’t go far enough. She says: “It does help and we are grateful but I would like to see a realistic hourly rate for childcare costs and extended provision so that spouses can work full-time, as 20 hours doesn’t cover commuting. It would relieve a burden if some holiday care was covered, at least during deployments.”

The capped funding rates for WAC are based on the annual average regional costs determined by Coram Family and Childcare. In some areas families will not need to pay anything extra whereas in other

areas families need to pay extra on top of the capped rate.

As childcare providers set their own rates, this was determined to be the fairest way to work out funds for each location across the UK.

Overseas offer

Defence is now reviewing how it can expand childcare support more widely to families serving overseas. AFF encourages parents to fully research childcare options before an overseas posting, especially when it’s essential to support dual-serving couples, singleserving soldiers or to allow for partner employment. Details on childcare available in each location should be in the prearrival guide provided by the welfare team.

AFF Overseas Manager

Esther Thomas says: “Not all overseas locations have MOD-approved childcare and provision will need to be sourced independently by parents.

“Where host nation provision is used, eligible families will be

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 11
“The online presence is a fantastic helpful community where we can all ask questions about anything parentrelated and members can individually contribute their professional and personal experience.”

able to claim Overseas Nursery Authority for actual costs.”

There may be other local considerations such as extra childhood immunisations being needed to attend US childcare facilities or some countries only offering childcare places to children who are going fulltime.

To increase available childcare, Esther would like to see greater support for those who wish to train and become regulated childminders overseas and for them to be able to accept tax-free childcare vouchers when registered.

Support on social

Serving personnel with children are turning to social media for support thanks to the Army Parents’ Network (APN). Its Facebook group, which has more than 5,000 members, is run by APN chairman Ben Davey.

He says: “The online

presence is a fantastic helpful community where we can all ask questions about anything parent-related and members can individually contribute their professional and personal experience.

“In response to specific issues, we can engage directly with service members’ chain of command if they consent. We also have direct access to our champion, currently Maj Gen Robin Lindsay, Commander Field Army in his role as gender champion, and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, who makes time in her diary to speak with us directly once a quarter.”

Childcare queries crop up regularly in the forum.

Ben says: “The expense of childcare is a constant issue; the introduction of wraparound childcare has helped, but it excludes a major portion of the most expensive childcare –those with children aged up to four – so we urgently need to

realign support to people with younger children.

“The problem of juggling childcare and deployment is unique to the military, and it is a common question. Our chain of command needs to better understand the breadth of flexible service; using it to support our serving parents while also retaining and investing in their talent.”

Childcare expansion

Government funding for early years childcare has been expanded to two-yearolds but only in England. Families are advised to use to

see how the offer will apply to them, as well as seeing what other childcare support is available.

AFF anticipates that in some areas demand for places will exceed supply and therefore getting in touch with providers early is key when moving to a new location.

Anna Hutchinson says AFF wants to hear from families: “We urge you to contact us to let us know your childcare experiences.

“We can feed this back to policy and decision makers in order for them to fully understand the impact army life has on your children.” A

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FearFree is a charity which supports current and ex-service personnel in Wiltshire, who are worried about how they treat their loved ones.

Emily Denne, FearFree’s Service Director, said: “Domestic abuse takes many forms. It can involve physical violence, but it can also involve shouting and scaring someone, controlling them, restricting their access to money or sharing images without consent. It is never okay to abuse someone. We know it is hard to admit you need help, but it is the first step in keeping your family safe.”

FearFree’s Forces Intervention Programme offers free, non-judgemental support through one-to-one and group sessions, which are open to all ranks and are outside military camps.

The programme helps participants recognise how their behaviour affects loved ones and how to make positive changes to have healthier relationships. Sally Stockham, Service Manager, explains: “Our dedicated forces team understands the unique pressures of military life. The course is flexible and works around exercises and deployments.”

For more, see


A new report, Improving Life Skills in the Armed Forces, has found that, whilst the majority of service personnel and their partners have good life skills, some need extra support to help them develop the abilities needed to deal with the challenges of daily life when they leave the armed forces.


A new remote midwife service has been launched for military mums-to-be in certain European locations and Turkey.

The new initiative was launched in May 2023 by the Central European Practice (CEP), which oversees healthcare for families assigned to locations in Europe and Turkey where there is no UK military medical centre.

The practice is working with a UK-registered midwife to provide a bespoke programme of remote maternity support.

Major Jane Keenan, Officer in Command CEP and Senior Nursing Officer, says: “It’s a reassuring addition to local host nation care.”

If you are due to be posted to Europe or Turkey and will have your baby overseas or if you become pregnant while there, get in touch with the CEP by emailing ukstratcomdms-dphc-ejsu-cepgrp@mod. for a referral to the new service.

personnel (51.7 per cent) thought they had good life skills when they first joined the military.



Social media star @MyNamesSarah has been writing and performing a weekly comedy vlog about being married to the military for the past four years.

She says: “My videos are often used as ice breakers at training depots, meetings and even by padres. This past year myself and retired colonel Philip Ingram MBE (one of my followers and now very good friend) have set up, based on my Sarah character, where anyone with a tri-service background can submit their dits/war stories to be published in our book, ‘the ditionary’. The funnier and more outrageous the better.”

Service personnel most affected included those lower in rank and younger in age, who have not had the chance to develop their skills, or those who had poor life skills on joining.

The research, led by QinetiQ and supported by Cranfield School of Management, found that most service personnel (87.2 per cent) and partners of serving personnel (82.4 per cent) report having good life skills. Fewer serving

Michelle Alston, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, which commissioned the report, said: “Having a strong set of life skills is crucial to ensuring that service leavers and their families make a successful transition into civilian life.

“It is positive to hear that there is not a significant deficit of these skills in the armed forces, reflecting the fact that most service leavers make a successful transition. However, some struggle with life skills, and it is these who are often the most vulnerable and require more tailored support.”

See life-skills-in-the-armed-forces

The proceeds from the book will be donated to seven small military charities: Tommy’s Lounge, Hidden Warriors, Bravehound, Service Dogs UK, Frontfoot Jobs, Help 4 Homeless Veterans and Forces Children’s Trust.

She adds: “We’d love more dits/stories from army wives like ‘Sarah’ so we can dedicate a whole chapter to these amazing ladies. You can submit anonymously or leave a name. It’s up to you.”

Head to the website to submit your story and find @mynamessarah3 on X. She is also on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.


Charity Little Troopers has launched a webpage for healthcare professionals with military-specific tools and resources to support forces children in their settings.

Founder Louise Fetigan says: “Over the last year we have received a growing number of enquiries from healthcare professionals. They are looking for ways to specifically acknowledge and support armed forces children in their care. The aim is to empower them with tools to increase their knowledge and understanding of military life.”

On the page you’ll find resources that can be used in children’s hospitals and wards, paediatric outpatient facilities, children’s centres, GP surgeries and social work services.


14 | | Army&You Spring 2024

Congratulations to 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles Nordic skiing team, who secured second place at the Infantry Championships 2023/24.


Many thanks to Irena, who sent in this atmospheric shot in January of the snowfall outside her quarter in SHAPE, Belgium.

The Duke of York’s Royal Military School put on an electrifying performance of High School Musical for its annual senior production, starring Daniel Onyeator as Troy Bolton, Sasha Musicha as Gabriella Montez and Shyan Ogunjimi-Dyer as Sharpay.


Real Stories

2024 is an online gallery of images submitted by the UK armed forces community and provides the opportunity to view the community’s experiences through their own lens.

Organised by King’s Centre for Military Health Research at King’s College London, it’s hoped this virtual art gallery will be educational, informative and will help raise awareness and understanding of what life is like for the armed forces community.

Members of the UK armed forces community are invited to submit one or more images that capture meaningful life events.

Real Stories 2024 will be exhibited at the Veterans’ Mental Health Conference in May 2024, in an online gallery and as a printed album.

For more and to submit a photo, go to


Military Coworking Network (MCN) hubs provide collaborative workspaces to military spouses and partners, allowing the military community to foster connections and access vital resources.

The MCN will be opening three extra hubs in 2024, thanks to a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. These will be located in areas that have a high concentration of military families, offering state-ofthe-art facilities, including high-speed internet. They will also be available for hosting events and workshops. For more information go to

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 15 Send your pic to or PM on social media @armyandyou
Staff Sergeant Rajesh Babooram, of 23 Amph Sqn, judging a variety of categories at Cake International, a world-leading sugarcraft show. He has previously won both gold and silver at the competition, as well as many other culinary awards.

...ace your interview

In the third of our ‘How to’ series, we asked Sarah Peñaluna, Families Employment Advisor at Forces Employment Charity, for some tips on interviews…

It’s been ages since I’ve done an interview, how do I prepare?

Jumping back into interviews after a break can feel like a bit of a climb. Take a look at some strategies, especially crafted for military spouses and partners like yourself.

1. Positive self-affirmations can help shift your mindset towards a more positive and confident outlook. Before the interview, repeat statements that highlight your skills and experiences.

2. Take advantage of one-to-one support from an expert employment adviser specifically dedicated to supporting military families at Forces Employment Charity. We’re here to provide you with personalised interview support and techniques.

3. Recognise transferable skills you’ve developed as a military spouse, such as adaptability, teamwork, communication, resilience, leadership and problem-solving. Highlighting these skills will not only showcase your strengths but also boost your confidence in your ability to contribute to a workplace.

4. Researching the company is key, familiarising yourself with the company’s mission, values, products/services, and recent news. This knowledge will help you tailor your responses and demonstrate your genuine interest.

5. Knowing the key responsibilities and requirements of what the job demands is crucial. Be prepared to chat about how your skills and experiences align with the job description.

6. Anticipating the common questions that you could be asked in interview like “tell me about yourself,” “why should we hire you?” and “what are your strengths and

weaknesses?” are important to perfect as you only get a short window of time to align how you’re best suited for the job.

7. Craft a brief and compelling introduction that summarises your background, key skills and what you’re seeking in a job. This is useful for the “tell me about yourself” question.

8. Familiarise yourself with any recent trends or developments in the industry. This shows that you are proactive and well-informed. You can do this with general research, networking and attending relevant events.

9. Preparing thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer demonstrates your genuine interest in the position.

10. Rehearse your answers, this helps build confidence. Practise answering common interview questions, focusing on behavioural questions. This will help you refine your responses and become more comfortable with the interview format.

Should I mention that I’m a military spouse/partner? How do I explain the gaps in my CV from all our military moves?

Sharing that you’re a military spouse actually highlights qualities like adaptability and resilience. If it feels right for your job search and helps explain those CV gaps from all those moves, don’t hesitate to bring up your role as a military spouse/partner. The trick is to show your experiences as

16 | | Army&You Spring 2024 EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING
Sarah Peñaluna

a superpower, not a setback. Loads of employers understand and value the unique skills that military spouses can bring. Tell your story in a positive way, connect it to what the job needs, and you’ll be addressing any worries about employment gaps tied to military moves. It’s about showing your dedication to growing professionally and making a real impact in the organisation.

Any top tips for answering interview questions, such as “where do you want to be in five years’ time?”

Let them know about your skills, tie your goals to what the company is all about, and show them how being a military spouse makes you a real asset. Let your ambition shine through, talk about how adaptable you are, and make it clear that you’re all about growing professionally. Your journey as a military spouse has given you a unique set of experiences that make you a standout candidate.

Some example answers are:


“As a military spouse, I’ve developed a unique set of skills such as adaptability, resilience, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments. In five years, I see myself leveraging these strengths to excel in a leadership role within this organisation. My experiences have taught me the value of teamwork, effective communication, and quick decision-making, qualities that I believe will contribute significantly to both my personal growth and the success of the company.”


“Over the next five years, I see myself as someone who has continued to evolve and adapt to new challenges. I am committed to ongoing learning and staying abreast of industry trends. Whether it’s through professional development courses, mentorship programmes, or staying engaged in relevant networks, I want to ensure that I am always bringing the latest insights and

skills to any role I undertake. My goal is to be a continuous learner and a valuable asset to the organisation.”

I’ve heard about STAR stories – what are they?

STAR (situation, action, task, result) stories are a structured way of highlighting your past experiences, allowing you to showcase your skills and competencies.

S: Describe the Situation, providing background information, helping the interviewer understand the circumstances.

T: Explain the specific Task or challenge you were faced with in that situation. This sets the stage for what you needed to accomplish or overcome.

A: Detail the Actions you took to address the situation or task. What specific steps did you take? This is the core of your response and where you showcase your skills, qualities and decision-making.

R: Highlight the Results of your actions. What was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience.

I’ve been at home with the kids for so long, I can’t think of my strengths and weaknesses for a job!

It’s understandable to feel this way. Remember, your experiences as a military

spouse and managing a household have equipped you with valuable skills, such as organsiation, time management, communication skills and resilience.

I’ve heard that body language can make all the difference…

Body language plays a crucial role in making a positive impression during an interview.

Start with a handshake that’s firm but friendly as it conveys confidence.

Maintaining eye contact establishes attentiveness and engagement with your interviewer(s). Standing tall with good posture conveys a positive attitude. Smiling naturally shows an approachable demeanour and creates a positive atmosphere. Active listening by nodding at appropriate times can show you’re in tune and your interviewer will feel heard. Portray a confident entry and exit.

The Forces Employment Charity helps ex-forces personnel and their families through a range of practical support. It supports current partners as well as those that are separated, divorced or widowed through its Families Programme. A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 17
IN TOUCH For more
information visit forcesemployment.

Starting out

It can be daunting for young people who are taking their first steps into the world of work, whether that is finding a Saturday job, starting out on a dream career or just working out what to do in the future.

According to the latest figures, around 14 per cent of 18 to 24-yearolds are not in education, training or employment (‘NEETs’).

AFF Employment & Training Specialist Lucy Ritchie has some tips on where to start and the resources available…

How old do you have to be to start working?

Once you’re 13, you can be paid to work, but there are strict rules on working hours for under-16s. See

What is an apprenticeship?

It’s a real job with hands-on experience and a salary, alongside getting industrystandard training and a qualification. It is for anyone over 16, to help kick-start a career in a job that suits your skills and interests, and is available across a wide variety of sectors, roles and levels.

Find out how to become an apprentice on and check out the apprenticeship page on Forces Families Jobs (FFJ).

What about training opportunities?

The Prince’s Trust supports young people (aged 16-30) to build confidence and develop essential life skills to get ready for work and access job opportunities.

Youth Employment UK has a wealth of information and advice, including career guides, skills training and early career support, to help you get work-ready.

What other support is there?

FFJ is an employment and training platform for military family members, including adult children aged 18-25. There is a jobs board which averages 10,000 live roles including apprenticeships and graduate opportunities. All the employers have signed the Armed Forces Covenant,


Forces Families Jobs:

FEC Families Programme:

Government apprenticeships:

Prince’s Trust:

Youth Employment UK:


so you can be confident they are forces friendly.

Pinnacle Service Families’ social values team offers free coaching and mentoring programmes to help shape your working future, including one specifically designed around career support for young people.

David Beck, Pinnacle Service Families Social Value Business Partner, says: “Our programme, aimed at 18 to 24-yearolds from military families, is an ideal programme for an individual to take the next steps in their work life supported by an experienced mentor. Whether you are a NEET, at college or generally wanting support to get a job or even start your own business, we will tailor our programme to suit your needs.”

For more information on the programme, email

Defence Children Services: Search DCS on

MOD Virtual School: Search MOD Virtual School on

The Forces Employment Charity (FEC) has a Families Programme which offers mentoring and career guidance to service children aged 16-24. Kelly Wales, FEC’s Armed Forces Families Education and Skills Liaison, says that “embarking on your very first job search can be nerveracking but breaking it down into key steps will make things more manageable”.

Kelly’s advice is: “First, set aside time every day to do your research. Next, narrow your search for apprenticeships or jobs by using websites, like UCAS, which allow you to look for specific criteria. Most organisations will list school and college leaver programmes and apprenticeships within the career sections on their websites, so that’s also a good place to focus your search.

“Once you find something you’re interested in, don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet all the job requirements – it’s usually still worth applying. A strong cover letter or personal statement can demonstrate the personal qualities, skills, and attributes organisations are looking for.” A

18 | | Army&You Spring 2024 EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING


None of the employers at Forces Families Jobs see the gaps on your CV as a red flag, because they understand your unique lifestyle.

Forces Families Jobs is delivered by a tri-Service partnership between the Naval Families Federation NFF) Army Families Federation (AFF and Royal Air Force Families Federation RAFFF . Forces Families Jobs is a product of the Army Families Federation (AFF . AFF is a charitable incorporated organisation registered in England and Wales with registered charity number 1176393 and a charity registered in Scotland with registered charity number SC048282 having its principal o ce at IDL 414, Floor 1, Zone 6, Ramillies Building Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover SP11 8HJ

On the move?

Make sure you’re up to speed on how to book your removals – contractor Agility has some tips to help ensure a smooth move…


To book your removals, register at and fill in the removals application.

You and an authorising officer should sign the form and send it to ukrsfms@ (UK/European moves), (single soldiers/ unaccompanied moves) or RSO@ (overseas moves).

You should apply a minimum of 28 working days before your required removal date – every effort will be made to meet the dates requested but this isn’t guaranteed.

You should wait for the confirmed removal date before booking moveout/move-in appointments. Where possible, you should ensure that removals are not planned to arrive on the same day as your move-in appointment in case there’s a problem.


You’re advised to take out standalone insurance for the removal and storage of your belongings with a policy that covers ‘new for old’ replacement. Disturbance Allowance includes an element for purchasing transit insurance.

Agility will appoint a move co-ordinator and the supplier will contact you to arrange a virtual survey of your belongings. It’s important to ensure that you present everything that will be moving to the surveyor as it’s not possible to add extra items on the day of the move.

It may be possible to move additional belongings not declared at the survey on the condition that the supplier is

told before the move, you remain within entitlement and an additions form has been completed.


You’ll be expected to dismantle some items, such as bed frames. Make sure you don’t pack anything that belongs in the house you’re leaving, e.g. door mats, window/gas keys.

On completion of the move the crew leader will ask you to sign paperwork to confirm you’re happy that all items have been collected, packed and delivered.

If there are any issues, make the crew leader aware and annotate on the paperwork any remarks e.g. damages. A

For more info, see grmsexternal.agility. com


At the time of writing the implementation of the SFA elements of MAO (formerly the New Accommodation Offer) have been paused while a review is carried out.

AFF will be continuing to support the positive changes that formed part of the Future Accommodation Model pilots and NAO, while encouraging policymakers to develop a way forward that considers the needs of all service families, and is supported by long-term funding.

Our evidence over several years, including our Big Survey on FAM in 2021, shows that SFA is an important part of the offer for soldiers of all ranks and their families, particularly the most mobile.

AFF continues to push for sufficient homes, of the right size and condition, in the right locations, to meet the aspirations of all army families. For updates and our surveys, see

20 | | Army&You Spring 2024 YOUR HOME

to pay into a private pension to gain a similar income. As an example, an annual pension of £15,000 would cost around £300,000 at 2024 values. What’s more, your service pension rises in line with inflation. And of course, the longer you serve, the greater your pension value.

That’s why we caution anyone thinking of leaving, to find out the facts before they decide. Staying for the optimum period and choosing the right point in time to leave can make a great difference to your future income.

Many of our growing number of Members (now more than 66,000) ask our Forces Pensions Consultants for periodic updates on their pension value and guidance about how to make decisions that enhance its value. For example, now that everyone is serving on AFPS15, pension top-ups are available and are well worth considering.

So join us and find out how to get the most from your pension.

Pension guidance is just one of the many benefits of membership. As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, our membership subscriptions help to fund our support for the Veterans’ Community, our Roadshows and Webinars, our attendance at CTP Employment Fairs plus our vigilance in taking governments to task whenever we spot unfairness or injustice in the system.

And importantly, we provide the whole military community with a voice that counts on the representative bodies for Armed Forces and Public Sector Pensions.


Annual membership for you and your spouse/partner is just £45. You will have exclusive access to our Forces Pensions Consultants, our informative Members’ Webinars and you’ll receive our bi-annual e-newsletters and our magazine, Pennant. You’ll also have access to our wide range of membership benefits from discounts on new cars to insurances, including our latest range of travel policies.


Forces Pension Society

Tel: 020 7820



68, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1RL
o y o u k n o w t h e r e a l v a l u e
f y o u r A r m e d F o r c e s p e n s i o n ?
o i n u s . F i n d o u t .

And baby came too…

Having a baby is an exciting time and understanding what support you can expect when you’re assigned overseas can help you plan, as every location is different…

AFF Overseas Manager Esther Thomas says: “There are some locations which are classified as ‘non-confinement locations’, where births are not supported. All expectant mums, even with low-risk pregnancies, will be expected to return to the UK, some could be as early as 24 weeks into pregnancy, and possibly not return to the location until several weeks after the birth.

“Mums with complicated pregnancies may be required to return to the UK earlier. So, for both scenarios this may result in several months of separation for family members.

“Where locations are classified as ‘confinement’, you can give birth overseas. While there is no entitlement for travel back to the UK unless there is a clear clinical need to do so, families may elect to return to the UK to give birth at personal cost.”

“Mums with complicated pregnancies may be required to return to the UK earlier. So, for both scenarios this may result in several months of separation for family members.”


Another issue to consider is that whilst MOD policy states that, where possible, service personnel and their spouses, civil partners or partners should have access to assisted conception services provided by the NHS in the UK, this is not the case overseas and the level of fertility support can vary. Search ‘assisted conception’ at


Midwife support can also vary. In some locations like Brunei and Cyprus there are contracted SSAFA midwives, whilst families in locations supported by Healix will have a named midwife assigned to them during their pregnancy with an entitlement to receive NHS-equivalent antenatal care.


Options for birth may also be reduced overseas. Even in well supported locations like Cyprus, AFF understands that British Forces Cyprus Medical Group cannot safely support home births.

While families can expect to receive care from English-speaking midwives, obstetricians and doctors, not all nursing/ midwifery staff will speak English, although in larger locations there may be Hospital Liaison Officers who can help with the language barrier.


Following the birth, families can also expect a slightly different level of support, ranging from contracted SSAFA Health Visitors in Brunei and Cyprus, virtual support in locations like Kenya and host nation support in more remote places.

For more info on having a baby in Cyprus, scan the QR code.


The eRedbook, an electronic version of the ‘red book’ given to mums when pregnant or on the birth of their baby, is available overseas, so you can access your children’s records wherever you are – sign up at uk A

22 | | Army&You Spring 2024



Jon, a veteran, and his serving wife Isobel have just had twin baby girls while assigned to Cyprus.

Jon says: “On hearing we were posted to Cyprus we planned on having another child, as it fitted well into our career timeline.”

He noted that pre-departure, the crossover from the NHS midwives and getting a scan in preparation for the unit move wasn’t easy, due to Isobel being under the care of the MOD medical system. He stressed that “it was key we got a dating scan to allow us to fly under the RAF regulations and we required a ‘fit to fly form’ signed off by a doctor”.

He was aware of other expectant mums in the unit who had to fly under ‘early mover status’ to start their posting earlier due to these regulations.

Once in Cyprus the couple attended hospital for routine check-ups and scans with antenatal care shared between the SSAFA midwives and the Cypriot obstetrician, as in Cyprus delivery is always handled by the obstetrician and not the midwife.

Whilst there was some frustration due to the need to duplicate UK NHS scans, everything else was going well until Rosie and Stella decided to make an early appearance, arriving 10 weeks early.

Isobel said: “We owe a huge thanks to the speedy actions of the on-call midwife, Zeta, as we were blue lighted to the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the island.”

After the birth, the family were given the option to fly the premature twins and Isobel back to the UK, but they decided to stay in Cyprus.

Jon said: “We decided we needed to stay for a number of reasons – the excellent quality of care from the NICU, the facilities provided by the Ronald McDonald House Charity as well as the wider 1 RIFLES and Dhekelia Station support. We couldn’t have got through those trying times without them and especially welfare officer Dave Dimmock’s amazing support.”

Continuity of family life and schooling for their five-year-old son Emlyn – who was looked after by his grandmother while Jon and Isobel stayed in the Ronald McDonald House for nine weeks – was also important.

Stella and Rosie are now going from strength to strength, and at the time of writing have more than tripled their initial weight.

One of Jon’s top tips is: “Think hard about the logistics of family help if you already have young children. Also think hard if your pregnancy is high risk.”

He added: “Families should be under no illusion – giving birth in Cyprus is not the same as the UK. There is obviously a small language barrier, however, all the doctors can speak English and many of the nurses do too!

“In Cyprus patients are treated first and then the treatment is explained if the results are not favourable. They don’t tell you why they are conducting tests or doing a certain treatment, unless you specifically ask, and they don’t necessarily ask permission before starting a treatment.

“A real positive in Cyprus is that there is a Hospital Liaison Team of three on call 24/7 to help at any hospital across the island with any language barriers, form filling and welfare support. They are indispensable!” A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 23


Vehicle admin spotlight

Last year AFF’s overseas team dealt with a small number of enquiries where families overseas needed advice on issues related to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

As a result of this AFF has established a point of contact within the DVLA who has successfully helped several army families assigned overseas who were facing fines, legal action and, in one case, court proceedings due to a lack of understanding of DVLA admin.

While the DVLA has a specific email address that can be used to ask questions ( uk), it has also responded to AFF’s request to answer some frequently asked questions about the process for taking second-hand vehicles overseas, concerns over addresses on UK driving licences, and renewing and relinquishing UK licences when overseas.


There are no special dispensations for serving personnel and their accompanying family – they are subject to the usual DVLA requirements.

If you plan to take a used vehicle (duty paid) overseas on assignment for more than 12 months, you need to ‘export’ the vehicle by sending in the export slip, which is section 5 of the V5C logbook, making sure to fill in the date of export and the country you are going to. This slip is used to update the vehicle record and generate any refund of vehicle tax if any is due.


AFF has reported to DVLA that some BFPO locations don’t appear as options on the online renewal system – this is currently being looked into. In the interim you should complete a D1 application and send it to DVLA by post.

You need to change the address for both your vehicle and driving licence, as the DVLA systems for each of these are not linked.

Failure to do this could lead to fines being sent to the wrong address and subsequent delays could mean more

fines or offences being added.

If this isn’t done, the vehicle won’t have an export marker against it, so there will be no refund of vehicle tax, and reminder letters will continue to be sent out. Insurance issues may also be raised, as the vehicle will usually be insured at the new posting, rather than in the UK.


You should update the address on your driving licence every time you move – you can use a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address. If this isn’t done and there is an incident, and the information is found to be incorrect, the driver could face a fine of up to £1,000. A

You can sign up to view your driving licence and vehicle details in one place at


If you need a local driving licence overseas, then this should mean your UK driving licence is surrendered to that country’s driving authority. This would result in a marker being put on your record in the UK when the DVLA has been told that the exchange has taken place. When you return to

the UK you can apply to exchange the local licence to a UK one. As long as it is a country that the UK has an exchange agreement with, this is free of charge. There would be a fee if the photo needs to be updated, however, and this cannot be done online.

The full DVLA FAQs can be found by searching DVLA at uk and further information is also on taking-vehiclesout-of-uk A


If you have any queries or comments on taking and driving a vehicle when posted overseas, email overseassupport@

24 | | Army&You Spring 2024

Maddi’s story

AFF has been a lifeline to me through one of the most stressful years I have experienced. We had been assigned to our first overseas assignment in October 2021 and I took my vehicle to Naples, thinking it was a great idea as we would have immediate transport. Plus, as we were expecting our firstborn by the end of the year, it meant we didn’t have to stress about transport in case of an emergency.

On arrival I transferred ownership of the vehicle to my husband as instructed and he completed the registration of the vehicle onto the Armed Forces Italy system. In January 2023 I received a phone call from an enforcement officer telling me that I had been taken to court, without my knowledge, for owning a vehicle in the UK without insurance and now owed a £600 fine or faced a warrant for my arrest.

I was left distressed and felt backed into a corner to pay the fine after threats to take possessions from my mother’s home as this was the last registered address of the vehicle. I provided the officer with my passport, visa, entry and exit stamps to and from the UK, as well as the assignment order, to state I no longer lived in the UK.

a 30-day time limit quickly slipping away, I talked to our Head of the NSE (National Support Element) who put me in contact with AFF.

I was told I could appeal after explaining I had no knowledge of the offence and that the car was registered in Italy and that this was all one big misunderstanding.

After a few weeks of trying to appeal on my own, I found a British solicitor who was in Italy, spent numerous hours on the phone to various government departments and court systems and, with

From that point on, my seemingly impossible task suddenly felt achievable. Overseas Manager Esther supported me through the process, helping me with documents that I needed to provide, contacting the DVLA on my behalf and putting my case across that this unfortunate set of events was an admin

error. This was such a relief. Without the help of AFF, I believe the outcome of my case could’ve been different.

Thanks to AFF’s hard work, my case was swiftly reviewed and ultimately decided that this was an admin error, we were simply not aware that we had missed some vital steps in fully transferring the car onto the system in Naples.

My advice is to do your own research beforehand, contact your NSE and ask questions if you need clarification on where you can find the relevant information. A

26 | | Army&You Spring 2024
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A postcard from...

How long have you been an army family? Twenty years and counting…

Time in Edinburgh? We are just four months in.

How many other military families live there? The army presence, in a city like Edinburgh, is significant, with families from neighbouring Redford and Dreghorn Barracks sharing a patch and those from 2 SCOTS living out at Glencorse near Penicuik.

What’s your quarter like? We’re in a standalone quarter, but friends on the patch talk of substantial, if old, houses often with big gardens.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities?

Living in a city opens up a wide range of opportunities that are inevitably harder to come by in a rural setting.

Edinburgh is no different, although some professions do ask those inbound from other UK nations or the EU to jump through certain hoops before applying for work here so it’s worth checking the small print before making a career move.

What about schools/ childcare? There are a number of primary and secondary schools within range and so families can broadly choose what best suits, whether that be for proximity, educational reputation, learning support or wraparound care.

Where do army families get together and who supports you? A proactive welfare team runs a variety of services from the Community Centre on Dreghorn Barracks using social media to communicate effectively. Patch WhatsApp

groups, meanwhile, cover everything from babysitting to the classic, ‘has anyone got a spare egg?’.

How do you find the cost of living? The cost of living seems lower than in the south, whether that be in terms of the cost of a pint, a haircut or a taxi. That being said, our budget for travel has had to increase significantly and the 364,000 (only a slight exaggeration!) independent coffee shops in Edinburgh might prove tempting for some!

What are the best and worst things about living there? Edinburgh is an utterly charming city; it boasts beautiful architecture, fascinating history (much

of which is free or reduced for the military), stunning countryside within easy reach, a strong independent presence on the high street and an effective, reasonablypriced public transport network. Downsides? Its weather (spot the everpresent woolly hat!) and, for us, the distance from family and friends.

Would you recommend it as an army posting? As someone with no connections to a Scottish regiment and little prior knowledge of the city, we have found it very welcoming and easy to navigate, with entertainment to suit every interest.

I would heartily recommend a posting here but suggest sourcing the thickest, down jacket prior to making the move! A Want to share your experiences of army family life?

Get in touch by emailing

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 29
Jody (serving), Liz, Ethan (18) and Eliza (16)

IMMIGRATION RULES for young people

The immigration rules for children and young people differ widely to those for adults, allowing caseworkers to exercise discretion in line with the UK’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.

In particular this flexible approach recognises that children are not responsible for any time spent in the UK as overstayers. AFF Foreign & Commonwealth and immigration specialist Katherine Houlston looks at some of the rules and discretions for children and young people coming to and remaining in the UK…


In most cases children are expected to follow the immigration route of the non-serving parent and must be granted limited leave before being eligible for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

However, in some cases, outlined below, it is possible for children to bypass the requirement for limited leave. New guidance issued in August 2023 has also clarified that in some circumstances children can apply for citizenship without first needing ILR.


● Children whose parents are in the UK and are either both serving or both already settled here (i.e. are British and/or have indefinite leave).

● Children of serving personnel who have sole responsibility for them (i.e. children from a previous relationship) or whose other parent is deceased.


● Children of serving personnel who have sole responsibility for the child or the child normally lives with them, or the other parent is deceased. This applies even if the child is in the UK as a visitor or is an overstayer.

● Children in the UK with parents who are either both serving or both already settled here (i.e. are British and/or have indefinite leave). This applies even if the child is in the UK as a visitor or is an overstayer.


Children who have lived in the UK for 10 years who have a valid visa (ILR is not required) and whose parents are British or settled (both parents need to be British or settled unless separated).

There is a specific category within immigration rules for ‘young adults’. Young adults are classed as people aged between 18 and under 25 who arrived in the UK as a child and who have spent at least half their life in the UK.


Once a child reaches the age of 18 they are no longer able to enter the UK as a dependant if they have never previously

held a UK visa as a dependant. This applies even if they are still at school and still dependent on their parents. There are limited exceptions to this rule.


Over-18s in the UK who used to have a visa as a child under the armed forces rules can still apply for ILR in some circumstances. Both parents need to be British or settled and the over18 cannot be living an ‘independent life’. Unfortunately, the cost of the ILR application is often prohibitive and usually these cases fall out of the scope of charitable funding. Over-18s who never had a visa or who are not eligible for ILR would have to apply for limited leave. Life in the UK is very difficult for over-18s with

30 | | Army&You Spring 2024
Akosua came to the UK when she was eight

no valid visas as they cannot continue their education and cannot work. Children in these circumstances would need to look at other routes to enter the UK, such as the student route.


There is a specific category within immigration rules for ‘young adults’. Young adults are classed as people aged between 18 and under 25 who arrived in the UK as a child and who have spent at least half their life in the UK. It doesn’t matter how much of this time has been spent as an overstayer. As long as they meet the continuous residence requirement, they can apply for leave to remain under the ‘private life’ route for five years.

The leave granted will allow them to work and, in some circumstances, will also grant them access to benefits. They can apply for ILR following five continuous lawful years on this route (or earlier if they have previously held leave).


If the young adult has no financial support then they can apply for a fee waiver. The fee waiver application requires a lot of supporting documentation, but AFF can assist with these applications. There is no fee waiver application for ILR applications, you can only be granted limited leave if you apply for a fee waiver.


The immigration rules also allow for someone who has lived in the UK for 20 years to apply for limited leave on the private life route.


AFF can advise on the best route available for you/your young adult. We can also check over completed

applications, help with supporting documents and provide letters of representation where required. Please contact fcsupport@


Akosua came to the UK when she was eight and had leave as a dependant under the armed forces rules until 2017.

Unfortunately, when her parents separated, her application for ILR was refused because her mother was by then an overstayer. She was granted leave on the five-year ‘young adult’ route but then became an overstayer again after another application for ILR was refused.

Due to the overstaying, she will have to wait until 2026 before she will be eligible for ILR again. As she didn’t qualify for charitable funding to extend her last visa, she has been waiting for the outcome of a fee waiver request since August 2023.

She is currently studying at university but is not receiving full student funding because of the overstaying. A


Clarification which was requested by the AFF Foreign & Commonwealth team about entitlement to the MOD wraparound childcare scheme (WAC) if one parent has no recourse to public funds (NRPF)* has resulted in a change to previous advice.

Following consultation with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the MOD WAC team has now confirmed that:

● All serving personnel are eligible to apply for WAC regardless of their immigration status or their partner’s status;

● If a service person has a partner who has NRPF then the service person has to be the one to make the application;

● If the partner is not subject to immigration control, then either of them can apply;

● Both the service person and their partner need to meet all the other criteria.

*When you have permission to enter or stay in the UK, but a condition of this is that you have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), so you cannot claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance paid by the state.

For more info on the WAC scheme, see page 47 and

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 31 FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH


In 2023 Taunton Military Wives Choir celebrated its 10th birthday with a gathering of past and present members and special guests. Those in attendance reminisced about the fun and exciting events they’ve taken part in. There were speeches and emotions shared over a celebratory glass of fizz and delicious buffet.

The choir is currently 36 strong and –depending on work shifts, babysitters, partners being at home – as many members as possible meet weekly for rehearsals on base at Norton Manor Camp.


Member Julie Way says: “We gather and chat, share experiences, often about military life with old and new friends who understand, until Edward Goater, our Musical Director, leads our singing rehearsal.

“Being able to read music is not a prerequisite. Ed encourages us to make the right noise! It’s not always pretty, but that’s half the fun!

“The choir’s signature song says ‘together we are stronger’, and we encourage and support each other which enables us to do things that are brave and bold. Singing to an audience takes confidence; reaching goals and achieving successes gives us all enormous confidence, increasing wellbeing and improving mental and physical health.”


Another member, Alex, says: “It’s my night away from work and a break from the trials of running the family home whilst hubby is away.”

Julia adds: “Over the past 10 years of

singing with this choir the ladies have become an extension of my family. They’ve been with me throughout my wedding, having children and supported me through prolonged absences of my husband.

“Two hundred ladies from the Military Wives Choirs were invited to The London Poppy Day to perform in five different locations to fundraise for The Royal British Legion. I was in NatWest headquarters and Coutts Bank on the Strand. It was a wonderful experience in two awesome buildings which I would never have had the opportunity to visit otherwise.

“I wish I had joined long before I did! My husband is still serving, we’ve been together 32 years. I have never lived on a military base and so joining the choir has given me a wonderful connection to other ladies that I didn’t realise I had missed!”


The military connections of members are tri-service, serving, veterans, wives, mothers and sisters. Any woman whose life is or has been affected by a close connection to the military is welcome to join. Email taunton@militarywiveschoirs. org for more information or to join them. A

32 | | Army&You Spring 2024 COMMUNITY

Family Pension Entitlements

SHOULD a Service

Person or Veteran die, their eligible dependants – spouse, civil partner, eligible partner, or eligible children – will receive Armed Forces pension benefits. In this article, the Forces Pension Society’s Head of Pensions, David Roberts, provides an overview of the family pension entitlements for Armed Forces Pension Schemes (AFPS) ‘75, ’05 and ’15.

If the member’s pension is a preserved AFPS 75 pension (that is a pension not yet in payment), there is no STFP entitlement. The spouse/civil partner would receive 50% of the member’s pension entitlement payable for life. This would include a lump sum of three times the pension, which is paid automatically to the spouse/civil partner. If there is no spouse/civil partner, the lump sum is paid to any eligible

AFPS 75 adult pensions are normally limited to the spouse or civil partner of the member. If the member dies in service or they die with their pension in payment, the family pension is paid in two stages. First, a Short-Term Family Pension (STFP) is paid in the immediate aftermath of the member’s death for 91 days, if there are no eligible children, or 182 days, if there are. The STFP is based on the member’s representative rate of pay for their rank if they were still in service, or their full pension if the pension was in payment. After the STFP has been paid, the long-term pension reduces to 50% of the member’s entitlement and this pension is payable for life.

sum will normally be paid in accordance with any nomination the member has made stipulating who should receive the money. If there is no nominee, it is paid to the member’s spouse, civil partner, or eligible partner. If there are none, it is paid to the estate.

AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 adult pensions are normally 62.5% of the member’s pension entitlement. These pensions are payable for life.

require the child to be under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 and in full time education or vocational training. There are no marriage criteria for children’s pensions in these schemes so long as the child was financially dependent upon the member.

For all schemes, a child’s pension is only payable beyond age 23 if the child is unable to undertake gainful employment due to mental or physical disability suffered before age 23.

children. If there are no eligible children, it is paid to the deceased’s estate.

AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 pay adult pensions to the member’s spouse, civil partner, or eligible partner. The eligible partner is an unmarried partner of either sex, who lives with the member and can demonstrate financial dependence or interdependence. There may be a lump sum payable on death if, for example, the member dies in service, dies before claiming their pension or before having received 5 years’ worth of pension (which includes any lump sum the member took on discharge). The lump

If the member has benefits in more than one scheme, there could be family pension entitlements in each. For example, a spouse or civil partner of a former AFPS 75 member could have entitlements in AFPS 75 and AFPS 15, but an eligible unmarried partner of a former AFPS 75 member would have benefits under AFPS 15 rules only.

Turning now to children’s pensions

AFPS 75 rules for serving members require the child to be a child of the marriage (this includes a natural, adopted or stepchild) who is under the age of 17, or under the age of 23 and in full time education or vocational training. For deferred or pensioner members the qualifying relationship rules are more complex.

AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 rules

In respect to child pension entitlements:

● For AFPS 75, where there is an adult pension in payment, the remaining 50% of the member’s entitlement is available to be shared by the eligible children. For AFPS 05 and AFPS 15, 37.5% remains available for the eligible children. In each scheme, where there is an adult pension in payment, no child can receive more than 25% of the member’s entitlement.

● In all schemes, where there is no adult pension in payment, and the children are not living with a parent or step-parent, the whole pension is available to be divided between the children, with no child receiving more than 33.33% of the member’s pension entitlement.

If you are not a member of the Forces Pension Society but would like to learn more about us, visit

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 33 SPONSORED FEATURE
David Roberts

A helping hand

AFF sometimes receives enquiries of a sensitive or more challenging nature around sexual violence, domestic abuse, addiction, gambling and more general mental health and wellbeing issues.

We are always exploring what specific support there is out there for the armed forces community, so that support can be offered by those professionals who understand the unique nature of army life.

Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, has been speaking to some organisations that can help…


Forces Family Support is a charity dedicated to supporting members of the armed forces community affected by a loved one's addiction. The charity understands that addiction not only affects individuals but can have a huge impact on their families and friends too. These effects can be profound, causing strained relationships, financial difficulties and emotional turmoil.

The support provided is free, confidential and without stigma or judgment. Outside the chain of command, it is available to veterans, reservists and those currently serving and their families, carers, colleagues and friends. The services address the emotional and practical challenges faced by armed forces communities.

Forces Family Support services include a phone helpline 0300 222 5747, available 9am to 9pm, 365 days a year, one-to-one and group support sessions and counselling provided by registered

practitioners in a confidential space.

A recent client of the service said: “I am so grateful to Forces Family Support for the lifeline they have thrown me when my son, who is currently serving, was struggling with alcohol and gambling.”

Visit or email to learn more.


A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to or is forced into against their will. It is a form of sexual violence and includes rape.

SARCs are located across England and are available free of charge for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault. They offer services including forensic examinations to support police investigations, emergency contraception and referrals to supportive agencies.


In September 2023, Emma Hatfield (left) was appointed as a forensic nurse advisor for sexual assault (military) as part of the newly re-commissioned SARC service for Yorkshire and the Humber.

This new role aims to provide specialist support and care for members of the military community who have experienced rape or sexual assault. It also aims to enhance the response to disclosures of rape and sexual assault, encompassing serving and ex-serving personnel, and family members.

Emma brings eight years of experience as a forensic nurse examiner and SARC manager and is based in The Harewood Medical Practice, Catterick Garrison. She has already seen an increase in attendance at the SARC.

She says: “Our aim is to ensure any victim or survivor has access to a similar service regardless of where they are based within the military, either at home or overseas.”

If you experiencedhave a sexual assault, contact 0330 223 0099 for 24/7 support and advice or see

One client said: “Thanks for listening to me, it’s good that your office is away from the bases, it makes it easier to come and see you.” A

34 | | Army&You Spring 2024 HEALTH
Tailored car insurance to meet the needs of the Military family )XOOFRYHURQDQGR WKHEDVH L DLGXSFRYHUDYDLODEOH &RPSDWLEOHZLWK %)**(29/2 '9 /$UHTXLUHPHQWV 2XULQVXUHUDFFHSWV1R&ODLPV'LVFRXQWHDUQHGRXWVLGHRIWKH8. T&Cs apply. Please see policy documents at for full details Call 0151 363 5290 Visit Lines are open: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm Forces Mutual Car Insurance is provided by ERS. *The 10% discount is available online only. It is applied to the basic premium when you buy a new car insurance policy. The discount is not available on optional extras and minimum premiums apply The discount will be automatically applied to your quote. The o er applies to new car insurance policies purchased online. The discount can be withdrawn at any time and is provided by ERS. PMGI Limited, trading as Forces Mutual is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Register No 114942 Registered in England & Wales No.1073408 Registered o ce: Brookfield Court, Selby Road, Leeds, LS25 1NB. For your security, all telephone calls are recorded and may be monitored Scan to find out more Car Insurance online discount* Drive away with a 10% MAN008 Army & You Spring 0324

Someone to call on…

Understandably, a cancer diagnosis can come as a shock and be frightening, taking a toll not only on an individual’s physical wellbeing but also their emotional and social state. While the support of family and friends is fundamental, individuals may feel unable to share their fears and emotions, leading to a feeling of isolation.

seeks to provide confidential support, information and advice, by enabling those affected to speak to someone who can personally relate to military life and the treatment they are facing.

Veteran Stuart Roberts, founder of Charlie Charlie One, said: “Family and friends are essential to helping you tackle everything that cancer throws at you, but sometimes you just need someone else. Someone with similar stories to you, someone that you can relate to and someone that relates back.”

“Family and friends are essential to helping you tackle everything that cancer throws at you, but sometimes you just need someone else.”
-Stuart Roberts

● Peer support is provided through a network of volunteers, who are themselves serving or veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer. The volunteers cover a wide range of cancers, stages and treatment pathways. This does not seek to replace formal medical or clinical advice, but instead provides access to someone who can listen and relate to the situation, therefore avoiding the feeling of isolation.

● Signposting to other national, regional and local organisations that are able to provide specialist guidance and information relevant to managing the condition.

● The charity also engages with public healthcare and agencies to provide information, education and non-clinical advice.

Often, the families of those who have been diagnosed and are undergoing treatment also find themselves in an equally daunting and worrying situation, similarly they also need support and advice.

If you would like further information or to volunteer, go to or email A

36 | | Army&You Spring 2024
Charlie Charlie One supports serving personnel, reservists, veterans and families affected by cancer. The charity Charlie Charlie One can offer support in a number of ways: Image:

•Co-educational, non-selective independent school set in 36 acres of beautiful grounds on the edge of Taunton, Somerset- giving the best of town and countr y

•Caring and supportive family boarding environment 7-18 years

•Broad and balanced curriculum with wide ranging co-curricular activities

•Extensive subject choices and combinations through to GCSE and A Levels

•Strong tutor network with reassuring communication between home and school

•Superb facilities for academic, sport, music, creative and performing arts including theatre, dance studio and swimming pool

• Flexibility for pupils to join their families at times of POTL and R&R


Renowned for our warm and welcoming home-from-home community, Kingswood offer s full, weekly and flexi boarding opportunities, with our houseparent teams providing a safe, nurturing and engaging experience for pupils. Our broad and balanced curriculum is supported by outstanding pastoral care, so that every pupil can find and ignite their potential.

We are proud to provide an outstanding education for children of serving member s of HM Forces and the FCDO

To discover more and book a visit, head to our website.

A co-educational independent school for pupils aged nine months to 18 year s

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 37



AFF often receives enquiries asking for information on bereavement support. Understandably, bereavement can be a very difficult time, not only for the immediate family, but the wider community too, and the loss of a child can be particularly challenging.

AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross looks at the specific support available to the armed forces community…


DMF is a grassroots organisation committed to improving military parental health and early parenthood experiences for the tri-service community.

Founded by three military mums who have experienced perinatal mental health challenges, DMF recognises the unique circumstances that military families face and is dedicated to supporting and creating connections for families in early parenthood.


Corporal Hollie Davis MBE was key to creating the Defence Child Bereavement Network after having lost her son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2020.

What sets DMF apart is that it is focused on the mental and emotional impact of military life on parenting.

DMF currently provides online peer support to individuals on a one-to-one and group basis. It has created a caring and non-judgmental online peer support forum on Facebook called Dandelion Connect, has teamed up with Reading Force to set up an online book club and launched online peer support groups to encourage connection and reduce loneliness within the military community.

DMF is also proud to have partnered with the national bereavement charity Sands to support military families who have experienced pregnancy and child loss. These groups are held online and run monthly.

For more information, email or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

The Army Child Bereavement Network was set up in July 2021 but this quickly became a triservice network including partners and veterans.

The network offers peer-topeer support, signposting to organisations who can provide help and to charities who provide care packages for bereaved parents.

For more information and support, search Defence Child Bereavement Network on Facebook.


Other organisations which support younger members of the family with bereavement include:


FAB is a tri-service charity that provides challenging and fun activity holidays around the UK for bereaved military families.

FAB Camps offer a week away for bereaved military families, so they can meet and socialise with others who have also experienced a similar loss.

This year’s camps will be held in Wales from 26 July to 2 August and in North Yorkshire from 2 to 9 August. See


Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved military children and young people.

It provides support and guidance for its beneficiaries throughout their childhood offering respite from the loss and grief of losing a parent.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers gives assistance to families in three services. If you are interested in becoming a member, visit A


Child Bereavement UK:

Cruse Bereavement Support:

Lullaby Trust:

Winston’s Wish:


Make a Wish:

Give Us Time:

38 | | Army&You Spring 2024


Operation Bletchley is a series of distance and codebreaking challenges which raise vital funds for the Army Benevolent Fund – the Army’s National Charity. Participants can take part from anywhere in the world using their phones, fi tness trackers or even a good old map. There are three code levels to choose from: Junior, Codebreaker and Cypher Expert. Our April mission – Operation Bletchley: Paris – is now open! (*option to adjust your distance to suit your ability.)

It’s 1942 and the situation in France is at boiling point. The Nazi occupation has cut us o from our agents on the ground, so we need you to go behind enemy lines to make contact. We cannot a ord for our intelligence to be compromised, so you must move through the shadows and crack codes along the way to avoid detection. This mission is not for the faint hearted. Your success is critical. Do you have what it takes?

Since its launch, over 13,000 people have taken part from all over the world, walking nearly 860,000 miles while raising nearly £550,000 for soldiers and veterans in need. With a thriving Facebook community, Operation Bletchley has also won a gold award after being voted ‘The most innovative event in the UK’

Registration is £15 per mission (£15 with fundraising or £40 with no obligation to fundraise). Registration open now. Your mission must be completed between 1 – 30 April 2024. To find out more and to register for this event visit or email or scan this QR code to go to the sign up page


Army Benevolent Fund is a registered charit y in England and Wales (1146420) and Scotland (SC039189) and registered as a company limite d by guarante e in England and Wales (07974609).
40 | | Army&You Spring 2024

Boarding briefing


Continuity of Education

Allowance (CEA) can help to support regular serving personnel with boarding school fees from the academic year of a child’s eighth birthday. This allows the family to move together but for the child to have a continuous education.

Every year many army families consider boarding school as an option to ensure their children’s education is not disrupted by the frequent moves that come with army life. When you’re thinking about all the options, it’s important to consider the financial impact, and what support is available. Image:

AFF Money & Allowances

Specialist Claire Hallam says: “There are many rules and regulations you need to be aware of. To be eligible to claim CEA, the serving person must be likely to be assigned more than 50 miles away from their current duty station within four years and remain accompanied by their family.

“However, this is just a snapshot of the rules, and I would recommend looking at JSP 752, Chapter 14 and speaking to your unit HR admin if you are unsure of how the rules apply to you.”


If you are eligible for CEA, you would need to make at least a minimum 10 per cent parental contribution towards fees at an independent school, or eight per cent if you choose a state boarding school, after any forces discount or bursary is applied.

The MOD reviews CEA rates annually, usually in the summer, with new rates effective from 1 August. Rates can go up, down or remain the same.

The rates for CEA are the maximum rates per term that can be claimed so it’s wise to discuss the fees with the schools you are considering. If a school is more expensive than the CEA maximum rate and your personal contribution, you would need to pay the rest.

There are different CEA rates for junior and senior years, so it’s worth factoring in what your contribution would be for both stages of fees to make sure it remains affordable. Also bear in mind that school fees tend to increase in the senior years.

at RC-DCS-HQ-EAT@mod.


There may be other extra costs to consider outside of the standard uniform costs such as deposits or admin fees, and travel costs for pick-up and collection. If you are more than 100 miles from a chosen school, you may be able to claim some support for a certain number of trips to collect your child (school children’s visits).

It is also important to look at what is included in a school’s fees. Some schools will include all weekend trips while a child is boarding, while others may charge extra for weekend trips or other things such as taking your child to the doctor, stationery etc.

You can find moreaboutinformation the CEA process and rates at aff. Search JSP 752 on for details of the policy on CEA.

When the CEA rate changes from junior to senior will depend on an individual school – some change from Year 7 but others, such as prep schools, may not get the senior rate of CEA until Year 9.

The UK Education Advisory Team (UK EAT) has a list of accredited schools on their database where CEA can be claimed, so that you can check what rate applies when at each school. You can email the team

Alun, who had two children taking exams in the same academic year, was faced with nearly £900 of exam fees as well as significant amounts for extra-curricular activities.

He said: “It’s all these little extras which add up and if you don’t ask the right questions at the start of your CEA journey, you may be putting yourself into a vulnerable financial position later.” A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 41


Army&You spoke to Mo Bingham – the founder of the MOD Menopause Network and winner of a Women in Defence Unsung Heroine Award…

Please tell us about your background

I have been a Crown Servant for almost 40 years and in the MOD for about 35. Working mostly in logistics, I’ve been proud to support military and civilian colleagues. I currently work in Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) as a Supply Chain Manager.

How did the Menopause Network come about?

Like many, I was faced with loads of symptoms, some of which scared me, and I didn’t know who to go to. I was dismayed that no-one spoke openly about menopause and I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone and confused like I had, so I started talking and haven’t really stopped.

It started with a small event as part of the Women’s Network at DE&S. The appetite to know more was incredible and so I found myself talking to senior MOD leaders.

After the event we realised there was a need for a safe space for people to just talk and the network was created in early 2020. Then COVID-19 hit and that improved our reach as we were completely virtual and people were able to join us from across the world.

How has the network grown since then?

Initially we were amazed that we had more than 400 members quite quickly, we now have more than 2,000.

Who does it support?

The network aims to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace and is inclusive of civilian and military colleagues. It offers a safe place for support and resources, although we don’t provide HR or medical advice. The network aspires to challenge perceptions and influence policy and guidance.

How do you encourage people to join?

Through word of mouth or through events. We are starting to see managers referring people to us now, which is great.

Have you had any feedback from members?

Someone once said to me: “Take a moment to step back and reflect on just how much you have achieved by being you, not accepting the way things are and changing so much for so many. You really are Defence’s menopause revolutionary!”. Another said: “I am so pleased that I logged into that Menopause Network dial-in session two years ago and connected with you and all of our fantastic people who have one common purpose, to understand, live with and share the menopause in a more open and collective way.”

“I was dismayed that no-one spoke openly about menopause and I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone and confused like I had, so I started talking and haven’t really stopped”

Do you work with charities or other relevant organisations?

I am also an executive committee member of the pan civil service Cross Government Menopause Network. The departments collaborate with each other to influence direction for menopause and we were involved in the pan civil service menopause policy. We also work with the Charity for Civil Servants which has supported us with World Menopause Day events.

It must have been a hugely proud moment receiving the Women in Defence award… It was, I’m still awed by it. It was recognition that talking about menopause was the right thing to do. Since then more people are talking and I just love it when menopause crops up as part of general conversation, in books and on TV.

What plans do you have for the future?

Hopefully as time goes on we will make ourselves redundant with everyone talking about menopause in conversation! We’re still not there quite yet though so the network can continue to empower others to talk and raise awareness. A

42 | | Army&You Spring 2024

6th May Scan

CEA families will pay no more than 10% of fees

Co-ed 3-18 | Boarding & Day | Jesuit, Catholic School

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 43
the QR code to book your place
Creating men &

Youth work overseas

To find out more about what support Defence offers young people on a posting overseas, AFF Overseas Manager Esther Thomas met Becky Wakefield, Chief Community Development Officer, Army Welfare Service (AWS)…

Becky says: “Defence employs professional youth work staff to support the wellbeing of children and young people. The UK government’s guidance recognises the importance of time spent outside of school and Community Development Workers (CDWs) in the UK and overseas work to provide that support.”

There are differences in what’s on offer depending on the location. “There are nine CDWs overseas supported by civilians (where budgets and regulations allow) and AWS is constantly looking at new ways to support young people and their families,” she says.

Becky explained that the single services and overseas commands employ specialist professional play, youth and

community work staff; train and support community volunteers; and deliver nonpublicly funded contracted projects in partnership with others. Where there are permanent AWS or other CDW staff, they can offer youth work and play work such as:

● play and youth sessions;

● work in schools (particularly during periods of deployment and separation);

● a monthly Defence youth forum activity and/or access to the virtual youth work network and tri-service online youth forum;

● holiday activities.


Becky added, “We know how important it is for families and young people to feel prepared for an overseas posting. Information is important and so is

understanding what it’s going to be like living there.

“Often, living in a community overseas requires coming together with others to organise social activities, to help each other and provide opportunities and activities for children.”


As families move around, they might not be able to access the same youth services. This is especially true in several overseas locations where there are no permanent AWS staff. In such locations volunteers sometimes step up to help deliver youth activities.

Overseas Senior Community Development Worker, Charlie Cook-Wild, is on hand to support them. Charlie says, “Whilst some communities overseas have Community Development staff, many

44 | | Army&You Spring 2024 YOUR FAMILY
Youth work in Gibraltar Harry and Emily - members of the Youth Parliament British Forces Overseas Becky Wakefield

don’t. In Kenya and Nepal, for example, I travel out to support community groups at least once a year, working with the community volunteers and supporting them in person with training and with organising activities.

“We look at safeguarding, planning activities for children safely, running a youth club and parenting support. I also provide the opportunity for volunteers to stay in touch virtually.”

Sarah, who arrived in Kenya seven months ago, said, “We have all settled happily. Family fun days and activities for the children, Saturday park runs, weekly coffee mornings are all a bonus of what is put on for families out here.”


AWS Community

Volunteers support the 110 families and 126 children currently in the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK), working alongside the welfare team to deliver youth and community services.

There are a range of activities on offer such as Bible club, movie nights, 5k camp runs and day trips.

Support is currently developing workshops to help prepare partners, parents and young people with some of the knowledge and skills they need to bring people together before arriving in their new location. Look out for AWS pre-posting workshops coming later in 2024.

All locations overseas look to deliver holiday provision for children and young people - SHAPE in Mons has a volunteerrun DJing club and the camp survival skills sessions in Germany are very popular. A


One parent said, “Since our arrival in BATUS we experienced a great sense of community. This was evident in the BATUS Ski Day which was inclusive to both beginners and pros. Skiers went over the mountain displaying their skills on steep icy slopes and big bumps. Lessons, food and drinks were freely available to everyone and equipment accessible to all. Throughout the day, the family-friendly atmosphere created a positive and fantastic experience.

“There are also planned movie times for the latest box office release. A varied programme of events is also organised during the holidays, which includes workshops, bowling, sports events and pool activities.

“During the winter months the ice rink is widely used for organised public skating. There is also the opportunity to learn to skate better and play ice hockey for a team or group within the league.”


“My time in Kenya has had lots of happy memories with the welfare team. They have thrown lots of fun parties so I can play with my friends. My favourite trip so far is Chaka ranch, I got to go on a quad bike with my friends. Thank you to the best welfare team in the world for always bringing smiles and joy.”

“The Halloween party and the scary maze were amazing.”

“The Christmas party was really good, the gifts from Santa were great and his grotto was beautiful.”


“The welfare team goes above and beyond for every event. It’s hard sometimes to book times elsewhere so that you don’t miss out. The team makes everyone welcome, whether it be coffee mornings or a seasonal party. They have definitely made the transition from the UK to Kenya much easier. I don’t think I would have liked it here so much if the welfare weren’t so good.”

“Wednesday morning coffee mornings are like an anchor in the week for me to connect with families and purchase tasty treats from local vendors.”

“The welfare facility is a welcoming community hub.”

“We are so lucky to have such a fab welfare team.”

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 45 YOUR FAMILY
Having fun in Kenya Youth work around a campfire
46 | | Army&You Spring 2024 A HOME FROM HOME /open-mornings Find out more and book an open da y. # FIND YO UR EX CEPT IONAL AN INDEPENDENT DAY & BO ARDING SC HOOL FO R AG ES 0 - 18 VIRTUAL OPEN DAY Saturday 20th April Saturday 27th April IN PERSON OPEN DAY JOIN US AT OUR NEXT OPEN EVENTS

Wraparound childcare FAQs

Since the launch of the scheme, we’ve had many families approach us with questions about their eligibility. We have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and have answered them here:

My partner is in the Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS), will we be eligible? WAC is available to service personnel, both regular and FTRS in the UK, and to service personnel who are currently overseas while their family remain living in the UK.

I live away during the week but travel home as much as the army will allow –will I be eligible?

This would be classed as being ‘separated for service reasons’, so if all other eligibility criteria are met, your family would qualify. The most common reason for living apart is when the family home is not near the serving person’s current posting, so they need to live away during the week and travel home for the weekends or when on leave.

My children are currently living full-time with my parents in Scotland, they both work and need to use childcare, can I claim WAC on their behalf?

Children who live away from the serving person, potentially living with another parent or relative, are not eligible as the children would need to live with the serving person for the majority of the time.

AFF receives many enquiries relating to wraparound childcare scheme (WAC), which was set up by the MOD to help with the cost of childcare for working military families. It is a capped rate that can be claimed to help pay for up to 20 hours of before and after- school care for children aged between four and 11.

I am the serving person and my spouse and I have decided to separate, they plan to continue working. Will our children continue to be eligible for WAC? Our children will be living with their other parent once everything is finalised but I will still help pay for the care they need. If a relationship has ended and the service person lives at an alternative address from their children, they will no longer be eligible for WAC. To remain eligible the children must live with the service person for at least 50 per cent of the time.

My partner is taking a break from working to do a university course. The course involves unpaid work placements, will we be able to claim the WAC while they are studying?

No, in order to be eligible for WAC payments you must both be in paid employment and remain eligible for a tax-free childcare account. Therefore, for the duration of the period of study, you wouldn’t be eligible to claim WAC.

We are not eligible for WAC but find the cost of childcare prohibitively expensive and we cannot rely on the service person to help with all the care we need. What other avenues of support are there for us?

If you are not eligible for WAC, then it’s a good idea to look at childcarechoices. which details options that may be available to help with the cost of childcare. The offer changes depending where you are living in the UK, so it’s worth checking it each time you move or as your children grow as some offers are dependent on the age of the child.

Where can I find more info?

Go to Alternatively, send your queries to or search for WAC on Discover My Benefits. A

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 47

Grants to grow

Last year, under the Early Years Programme, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust provided 18 grants to childcare providers across the UK. The funds were allocated to projects which aim to improve early years education and childcare settings to ensure they meet the needs of young children from armed forces families.

The grants aimed to address outdoor learning environment improvements, accessibility or training of early years providers which operate on defence estate land or within five miles of a military base.


In February 2023, White Rabbit Preschool in Catterick received £23,700 through the Early Years Programme for its project ‘Achieving Really Magical Military Years’.

The objective of the project was to create an imaginative outdoor area where children from military families could thrive in nature. The idea behind this was to empower children by giving them the ability to make choices, as well as pursue independence and develop imagination in an inclusive environment.

Nursery Manager Cathy Roberts said: “Children will learn to respect the environment with tools and equipment that offer them the chance to independently make choices and select resources, learning to take responsibility by returning them when they are finished. The ability to self-select may be crucial

in the early days as service children transition into a new nursery, as they may not have the confidence to ask to get things out. The garden is a safe and secure environment that naturally lends itself to opportunities for making new friends and developing social skills whilst being supported by adults, allowing children the opportunity to explore and process their feelings in a situation they can control.

“The space is ideal for group activities, providing opportunities to practise empathy and develop understanding of others as they work collaboratively on tasks such as moving heavy tyres. They will plan a safe route to avoid obstacles, determine roles and achieve their end goal together.”


Caterpillas Under 5s in Tidworth received funding in February 2023 for its project ‘Operation Muddy Boots’.

The aim of the project was to redesign and improve the outside environment to support military children’s mental,

emotional and physical development. The outdoor area was designed as a welcoming and inclusive space to make meaningful connections with others, therefore reducing isolation.

Melanie Robertson, Caterpillas Manager, said: “We had sent in our project plans and we were awarded £51,200 which we were incredibly grateful for… we could not be happier with the end result.

“The funding helped us to create an outside classroom which could be used in all weathers; a safe, fun engaging environment for all of the children.

“Without the grant we would still be trying to collate funds to be able to carry out the project and the children would not have the learning opportunities outside that they have now that the work has been completed.”

Melanie adds: “The difference the funding has made has been so positive for the children, having such a safe outdoor space, we have seen a reduction in accidents since installing artificial grass. Plus, the new outdoor climbing equipment has resulted in children being able to learn and develop new skills.” A

48 | | Army&You Spring 2024
For informationmoreabout the Early Programme,Yearsvisit covenantfund.

Children’s chance to shine MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD

Working to support service children and young people as they progress through their army lives is an important part of what AFF does. As well as giving advice and helping families navigate the childcare and education systems, we work alongside other organisations that support young people.

Education & Childcare Specialist

Anna Hutchinson met Katie Salari, CEO of Never Such Innocence (NSI), as the charity embarks on its 10th anniversary year of supporting service youth, to find out more about what it does.

Tell us about NSI and what you do

NSI launched in 2014 to allow children to play their part in the centenary of the First World War. We visited schools across the UK, giving young people the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by the services from 1914-1918. Students participated in poetry, art and songwriting workshops and shared their work at special events. In 2019, we launched our Voices of Armed Forces Children Programme, giving army children unique opportunities to share what it means to have a parent in the army.

Why is the work of NSI so important and what impact has it had?

With our work, we’ve always let the kids shine and let their voices be heard, to let each of them share what is important to them and be recognised for the important role they play in the military family.

From my perspective, the thing that stands out most is watching the kids go on a journey. To go into a workshop, with uncertainty if they even want to write a poem or song, to create something really fantastic and then share it in front of a big group. They beam from ear to ear with pride and that makes me

really happy. I’ve seen some young people gain extraordinary amounts of confidence by taking part and absolutely flourish.

What are some of the projects that NSI has been involved in recently?

One of the most exciting things has been the launch of our Voices of Armed Forces Children Choir. What started as just a single song has skyrocketed to a tri-service choir which has performed at events across the UK, sang at Parliament as part of the flag-raising ceremony for Armed Forces Day and of course performed on Britain’s Got Talent

Congratulations to NSI for turning 10 this year, how are you planning to mark this milestone anniversary?

To launch our 10th anniversary, we held a special event at Edinburgh Castle in February. In April, we are holding a special Month of the Military Child event at Tidworth Garrison, and you’ll see the release of a full album from the choir!

NSI founder Lady Lucy French OBE added: “Working with the army and so many brilliant army children and their families over the last decade has been a great privilege. Having been to bases all over the country, meeting the men and women who do so much to keep our nation safe has taught me, and indeed NSI, so much. Hearing what army children have to say about service life is both humbling and inspiring. I look forward to hearing from more army children and their families as we look to our second decade.” A

April is Month of the Military Child so we asked Katie for some suggestions as to how to mark the celebration and she listed three activities which could be done at home, at an after-school group, as part of base events or as a school assembly.

1. Wear Purple on April 26 – a very simple way to show support is by wearing the colour purple, which has been chosen to represent military children.

2. Sing Dandelions – a song, written by our Voices of Armed Forces Children Choir. A backing track, lyrics and sheet music for the song are available for groups, schools or even just a family sing-along at home and can be requested from

3. Enter the NSI competition. For young people aged 6-18 who enjoy poetry or art, NSI invites them to enter a piece into its competition, open from April 1 to May 3. This year’s theme is ‘Life as a Dandelion’ and asks young people to share something about their life as an army child. What makes them special and unique? Maybe they would like to share a memory or a fun experience they’ve had with their serving parent? If they could tell the world one thing about what it means to be an army child, what would it be?

All participants will receive a personalised certificate and winners will be invited for a special day in London and have their work displayed in the Main Building of the Ministry of Defence. More information can be found at

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 49
Artwork created by army children for previous competitions run by NSI to celebrate Month of the Military Child. Left: age 5-8 - Dandelion by Aria. Above: age 9-11 - Field of dandelions by Lara.

King’s InterHigh is the UK’s leading online school, bringing your children a consistent, world-class private education no matter where you are in the world.

What you get with King’s InterHigh:

Complete British Curriculum for ages 7-19, taught by expert teachers

Support for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Enrol now for quality education, wherever your service takes you.

Interactive live lessons plus lesson recordings so students never miss a thing

First school to o er IGCSE examinations online

O ering IGCSEs, A Levels and the world’s rst IB Diploma online

A er school virtual clubs, family meetups and school trips

The school that goes wherever you’re posted

The school that goes wherever you go

When academic excellence goes online

Life as a military family comes with duties that can take you across the world. However, performing your duties does not have to mean disrupting your child’s education.

With King’s InterHigh, your child will receive an online education that comes with 50 years of academic excellence.

Whether Primary, Secondary or Sixth form education, all lessons will be conducted by fully UK and Internationally qualified and experienced teachers.

Making lessons come alive with technology

Online lessons do not have to be a dull experience. With a sophisticated cloud-based learning platform, your child will be able to interact with their classmates through chats, polls, quizzes, and virtual simulations. Beyond that, King’s InterHigh uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to make each lesson an immersive experience.

King’s InterHigh is also the first school to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) online. Thanks to the extensive research, testing and curation

done by King’s InterHigh, your child will be able to complete the programme using virtual reality, to really bring subjects to life.

Designed for flexibility   The demands of a military family can mean that your child needs an education that is just as ‘on the move’ as you are.

Here are the ways that King’s InterHigh’s online lessons have been set up to cater to these changing needs and locations.

1. Choose your time zone With a focus on the British Curriculum, our live and interactive lessons are taught across three time zones (GMT/BST, GMT+4, GMT+7).

2. Never miss a lesson

With each lesson being recorded and accessible 24/7, your child can learn at their own pace and timing.

3. Personalised for every unique need  All lessons are designed to support students of all learning abilities — including young people with special educational needs and disabilities

(SEND). Our teachers are trained in SEND so they will know when a child needs more support and how best to cater to their needs both during lessons and with the online dashboards.

4. It’s in the results  As part of the Inspired Education Group, over 91% of students get into their first-choice university. This is made even more inspiring with almost 60% of A-level students achieving A and A* grades. Additionally, 1 in 3 graduates attend Russell Group or Ivy League universities.

Always learning, always with the family

Growing up in a military family means your child faces unique challenges unlike other children. However, frequent relocations don’t have to mean frequent educational disruptions and changes. With King’s InterHigh’s online learning model, your child will always have academic continuity and, just as important, they can keep the friendships they have formed.

These friendships will also grow with their opportunities for real-life interactions. As part of the world’s leading education group, your child’s growth will be complemented with virtual events and clubs, in-person school trips and opportunities to go to summer camps at over 110 premium Inspired international schools across five continents.    You can find out more about King’s InterHigh at

Hear from our King’s InterHigh students:

“The flexible and online nature of InterHigh meant that Ben was able to cover the course content suitable for his age group from home, but most importantly, he was still able to surf.” This approach not only supported Ben’s athletic endeavours but also provided crucial support for his sister Lilly, who has dyslexia, allowing her to thrive academically. For Iona, maintaining family cohesion amidst their adventurous lifestyle was paramount. She encourages parents facing similar challenges to consider alternative learning options like King’s InterHigh for a happier and more fulfilling educational experience that keeps the family connected. Iona Larg, King’s InterHigh Parent

“We moved our child to King’s InterHigh after a horrendous experience in mainstream provision where his autistic, sensory and mental health needs were not met. Since joining King’s InterHigh, our child’s school-based anxieties and barriers to learning have greatly reduced and he is engaging really well with lessons and his love of learning is returning. It’s both a pleasure to see and a huge relief to us as parents.”

Louise H. King’s InterHigh Parent

“After many years of fighting for a suitable education for our daughter we were finally in a position to be able to try Kings InterHigh school and my only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. She is so much happier here and she is finally enjoying and engaging in her lessons. Our daughter has SEN and this is without a doubt the best thing for her.” Shelley L. King’s InterHigh Parent

SPONSORED FEATURE Army&You Spring 2024 | | 51

Developing digital natives

FARLEIGH uses a broad range of technology which is well resourced both in and out of the classroom. All teaching spaces have interactive whiteboards; staff have their own laptops, and there is a wide range of complementary resources including programmable robots, VR headsets and more. Coding starts in Year 1 and digital leaders in each year group support pupils (and teachers alike!), with responsibilities growing as they pass through the school.

As our pupils grow up as digital natives, Farleigh seeks to enrich

their learning with thoughtfully selected use of tech in school life, but equally important is stepping back from this. We want our children to develop as well-rounded individuals and just be children, so we have a strict no mobiles or wearable tech policy in the school, and the seniors enjoy (yes, really) their ‘no tech’ evenings when the board games come out, or ‘capture the flag’ rages around the extensive grounds.

iPads at Farleigh for enhanced learning

We constantly develop the use

of iPads for pupils to enhance learning across the curriculum. There are sets available for classes to use from Kindergarten to Year 5, which are regularly upgraded. Years 6 to 8 pupils receive their own iPad which they keep until they leave the school; these are leased, ensuring all pupils receive the same device.

The iPads are used for word processing, but also a broad range of educational apps and websites are utilised (either free or subscribed), many of which are subject-specific. Mangahigh is pressed in to service for maths, Digimap for geography, Linguascope or Duolingo for French & Spanish, Accelerated Reader inspires wider and more extensive reading, Sphero for coding the robots in computing and on goes the list. Our pupils become very proficient iPad operators, including the use of audio and video, becoming confident in developing imaginative and creative content.

Prep is set for Years 6 to 8 by their teachers using Satchel One, so pupils can easily see what homework has been set, when it is due, and even submit their prep via the app, if the teacher wishes. iPads are also used by children for their timetable, extra-curricular activities and communication with home by the boarders.

Showcasing work and learning

Pupils create e-portfolios to showcase their work and learning in different subjects, using Microsoft Sway, and each year there is a much-prized e-portfolio competition in Years 5 to 7, voted on by staff.

Appropriate use

In Year 6, pupils have to earn their iPad CARE licence through responsible use and demonstrating a good understanding of the iPad agreement and guidelines, along with when not to use it! This licence gives them permission to take the iPad home or to their boarding house. All pupils (and their parents) sign an agreement to use the iPad responsibly and understand it is to support their learning. Farleigh has powerful firewall and filtering systems in place to safeguard pupils and flag up any inappropriate searches. We also seek to ensure that our pupils, supported by parents, have the foundations in e-safety to protect them as they mature.

Farleigh seeks to make best use of the available tech across and beyond the curriculum to complement learning and develop transferable skills; our implementation constantly evolves to match this developing area.

52 | | Army&You Spring 2024 SPONSORED FEATURE

Stonyhurst secures Bronze Award

STONYHURST has received a bronze award for its ongoing commitment to families who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown. It received the honour from Gary Oakford, the Ministry of Defence’s regional employer engagement director (Lancashire and Cumbria) at a presentation at the school.

The award comes after Stonyhurst officially signed the Armed Forces Covenant – an official agreement that serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families are treated with fairness and respect in their communities, economy and society – in June last year.

Stonyhurst has been commended for upholding the principles of the Covenant, continuing to instil the key pledges in daily life while also supporting Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance activities.

Stonyhurst has a rich military and cadet tradition that goes back to the 1800s with its dedicated Combined Cadet Force (CCF) programme formally on parade in 1900, with the 125th anniversary of the CCF now appearing on the horizon. Every year group is represented within the Corps, starting in Lower Grammar (Year 9), with the platoons named after Stonyhurst’s seven Victoria Cross winners. It meets weekly and pupils

are encouraged and immersed in the key service personnel skills of integrity, loyalty, leadership and discipline. Pupils plan operations and camp in the local area, whilst also staying on a military base and even go on exercises overseen by serving military personnel.

The school has a proud history of welcoming Forces families and recognises that forces life can disrupt the continuity of education for children and that a stable and consistent educational environment provides more opportunities to succeed. It has one of the most generous fee support packages of any school,

with families in receipt of the Continuous Education Allowance (CEA) paying no more than 10 per cent of fees.

Stonyhurst’s Headmaster John Browne said: “We are delighted to have won this bronze commendation. This is testament to our commitment to our Armed Forces families and recognises Stonyhurst as ‘an armed forcesfriendly employer’. We will continue to work towards the silver level in developing our recruitment and workplace policies as part of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.”

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 53

Double act deliver next-gen education

‘Technology has changed the way everyone teaches and learns’

MILLFIELD and Millfield Prep School have a Director of Educational Technology and Head of Computing and ICT who work together to support students and staff to make use of EdTech and digital advancements. They host one-to-one sessions with students and staff and host inset training whilst researching new developments in the industry.

All staff and students have iPads and use the extensive Microsoft suite, including Teams and OneNote daily, as well as other tools such as Flipgrid, Socrative and Quizlet.

As one of the largest coeducational day and boarding schools in Europe with over 1,330 students, the school supports a number of students through its on-site Learning Support Centre

and EdTech plays a huge part in aiding their learning. Microsoft’s Immersive Reader reads texts to students at a pace of their choice. Programmes also allow you to add coloured overlays to help with reading and understanding. Classes are a wonderful amalgamation of digital learning, handwriting and group discussion, with learning being adapted to the student. iPads are not a substitute for pen and paper, exams are still handwritten so handwriting exercises occur in every lesson and that work is photographed and uploaded to OneNote. iPads are an easily transportable folder instead!

Dr Adam Gutteridge, Assistant Head (Academic), said: “Technology allows me to teach in four different ways at one time. For example, in my Philosophy class,

I have my teaching of a theory, alongside a OneNote including a textbook explanation, YouTube video and podcast link. Students can use any or all of them to suit their learning style, they’re all in one place. Information is readily available for students and it’s quick for teachers to set up.”

Millfield’s Director of Educational Technology, Stuart Maddock, added: “The launch of generative AI tools (e.g. ChatGPT) has given us another avenue to explore, and we’ve been finding ways it can be used to enhance teaching whilst educating students around its safe and ethical use. Young people’s lives are saturated by technology, and we need to ensure they are equipped to positively benefit from it.”

54 | | Army&You Spring 2024 SPONSORED FEATURE

Students who at tend the boarding school provision exceed their predic ted outcomes and consis tently reach, and further, their potential www.gordon

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 55
s. school

RECENTLY I was at Bletchley Park, a place synonymous not only with computing but also military history, writes David Horton, Director of Teaching and Learning & Head of Digital Strategy at Orwell Park School We were in the beautiful new Fellowship Auditorium and Radley Room, the latter named after Gordon Radley, who led the team that built Alan Turing’s famous machines. All this is relevant since I was there to chair the Independent Schools Council’s Digital Conference, where dozens of IT leaders from across our sector came together to hear about the latest developments.

My specialism lies with prep schools. I’ve worked in boarding prep schools as an IT lead since 2003 and represented the Independent Association of Prep Schools in various ways since 2007, so I guess it makes sense that I’ve been invited to write this article about technology and how we’re using and teaching it.

Why ESports and

The conference content was a cross-section of much that is currently relevant to us. Once I’d done my opening turn welcoming everyone and being something of a wannabe warm-up act, we got down to business and the hottest topic in our sector – as in many others – right now: Artificial Intelligence and in particular Generative AI, such as ChatGPT. It’s a massive topic at the moment, whether we are looking at how it can help us to teach better, children to learn more independently, reducing workload, how we manage the ethics and how we can honestly assess pupil progress.

I’m based at the beautiful Orwell Park School in Suffolk and, as a prep school, only our senior pupils are old enough to use ChatGPT, but they have had

numerous lessons about how it can be used along with the potential problems and biases that they may encounter. I talk to them a lot about the Human – AI – Human sandwich, where we need to get the best out of the human either side in order to get the best out of the AI in the middle. As I say to the kids, if you’re bad at something it won’t make you good, but if you’re good at something, it could well make you better.

Another popular topic at the conference, which was highlighted at the Q&A session of our last conference in the shadow of Wembley Stadium, was that of digital assessment. This has been coming for at least 20 years and, with various announcements made last term by the examination boards, it looks like it’s going to be here by 2030. Of course, for

those of us in prep schools this is key, since most of our pupils will be 16 years old by then and sitting formal exams. We had Steve Connolly, the Director of Education at exam board AQA, show us what those exams will look like, along with the work they’re doing to ensure fairness in a world with unequal access to technology. For us as boots on the ground in the classroom, that means we need to have pupils who are entirely confident working electronically and with good typing skills.

Fortunately for us at Orwell Park, we are well down this road since I rolled out iPads for every pupil back in 2016. Every school should be giving pupils regular access to devices and by Year 6 they ought to be working 1:1 on their own devices. Our 1:1 strategy starts in Year 3, and this

proved to be a godsend during the COVID lockdowns as meant we were able to deliver a full school day, every day to every child, remotely using the iPads. Sticking with the Bletchley/WW2 imagery, this was probably my Finest Hour as a digital lead, at least so far… Another topic that got a lot of oxygen – and one I’m really keen to develop at Orwell Park – is that of ESports. We heard from Tom Dore who heads up British ESports and from a school that’s just built its own space for the purpose, and now I’m jealous so I’m going to build one. It’s easy to be slightly dismissive of ESports but it’s important to note how so much of what we consider to be important in a prep school education – such as teamwork, communication skills, wellbeing, world-readiness – are intrinsic to ESports. We nurture and value

56 | | Army&You Spring 2024 SPONSORED FEATURE
David Horton

THE classroom of today is no longer confined to textbooks and blackboards. Technology has become a powerful tool, not just for acquiring knowledge, but for igniting curiosity, fostering creativity, and preparing students for the dynamic world that awaits them.

At Queen’s, technology is seamlessly integrated into the curriculum and day-today life of school, offering students a chance to become active participants in their own learning journey. From Year 5 onwards, students have the

opportunity to bring their own devices, empowering them to choose how and when to utilise technology for learning. This fosters a sense of responsibility and independent learning, preparing them to navigate the ever-evolving technological landscape with confidence.

Beyond core subjects, Queen’s offers a range of exciting techfocused experiences. Students can explore their design talents, delve into the world of coding with hands-on projects, and even participate in cuttingedge initiatives like the AI committee. These stimulating

AI matter... Preparing students for a dynamic world

these attributes on the rugby pitch with a dozen or so parents watching on, so why shouldn’t we value them in a Rocket League arena with potentially thousands of spectators watching online. As an industry gaming is now more valuable than cinema and music combined, and the career potential is huge, not just for those in the game but those supporting with media, marketing and all the supporting roles such as those that you might find surrounding a Premier League football team.

Our conference wrapped up with a panel discussion which was a great opportunity to hear the views of others in the room and the questions they have. AI naturally continues to have its sceptics and concerns which we all share and it’s important to address, while others spoke of the challenges of building and maintaining a strong

technological offering in our schools.

My watchword at the moment is sustainability. Not only environmentally – although this is essential – but also in terms of finance, resource and personnel. For everything I do, I’m looking forward five years to consider what it will look like and who is going to run it. For all my passion for technology, just like in our prep schools I place a high value on the traditional, because it is the traditional that has stood the test of time and is therefore the essence of sustainability. I’d like to think that at Orwell Park – and other boarding prep schools like us – we find the optimum balance between the past and the future and in doing so hand our pupils their best possible present.

activities encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration – all essential skills for success in the 21st century.

By harnessing the power of technology, Queen’s Prep equips students not just with knowledge, but with the ability to think with agility and creativity and work in new and exciting ways. These are the skills that will empower them to become future leaders and innovators in a world increasingly shaped by technology.

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 57 SPONSORED FEATURE
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Technology @ Taunton

WITH the nature and use of technology rapidly evolving across all facets of life, the curriculum at Taunton School continues to remain up to date with the latest innovations. Technology will be a key feature of everything our students do beyond Taunton School and so ensuring they are able to navigate the digital world safely and effectively is a cornerstone of the education we offer. This is why we include a form of computing and ICT in our core curriculum from Year 3 to Year 9, followed by options to continue them through GCSE, A-level and BTEC qualifications. It is also why our students have access to

the necessary technology they need to enhance their learning across the whole curriculum.

In Taunton Prep School, pupils are given access to our two touchscreen computer suites to start building IT skills and develop their knowledge of coding, computer programmes and online safety from a young age. In addition, every classroom is fitted with a large interactive whiteboard and Apple TV and all pupils in Years 3 to 6 are provided with their own iPads. Online safety is something we take very seriously, and we continuously work to ensure all students are taught how to stay safe when using technology and the internet.

At Taunton Senior School, we have four strands of digital strategy in the classroom:

• All Year 9 students study ICT in our excellent computing facilities run by specialist teachers, with the option of further study at GCSE, A-level and BTEC. They also all now engage in a term-long module on the effective and critical use of artificial intelligence for learning as part of our bespoke ‘Schools of Thought’ programme.

• Using Microsoft Office suite for education including OneNote to personalise learning for students.

• Homework is set via Teams, allowing students to organise their learning and receive tailored feedback from their teachers.

• Guidance is given

on online reading, referencing and research with safe and trusted platforms such as Britannica School.

We are launching our new ‘Mastering Artificial Intelligence’ Sixth Form elective in September 2024 which will sit alongside our ‘Pre-Med’ and ‘Careers in Conservation’ optional courses to further complement and enrich our students’ Sixth Form studies while equipping them with the knowledge, skills and experience that are increasingly being demanded by employers.

We have more than 150 co-curricular activities, clubs and societies at Taunton School, many of which involve technology. These help to extend our students’ knowledge of the digital world and further their interests in more focused areas, offering unique pathways for those aspiring to careers in technology.

58 | | Army&You Spring 2024 SPONSORED FEATURE

Expertise based on experience

Are you considering a boarding school for your child? I am Claire Calder and I run my own childcentred educational consultancy to help parents looking for advice on their child’s education from prep school through to university.

At the heart of our service is boarding school advice; knowing how challenging it can be to narrow down the plethora of school choices has shaped my work to support families with their own boarding school decisions. My clients have included UK Forces and FCDO families and international families from all over the world who want a British education for their children.

It’s a real privilege to share my experience and support families

as they make crucial decisions about their children’s education. As a former pupil at a premier boarding school in the Cotswolds and as a mother of two children who have attended boarding school from Year 4, I have very personal experience of the decisions you are currently considering. My husband has 36 years’ experience in the British Army and, as a family, we have had 16 moves and four overseas postings, most recently in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

I first considered boarding school for my two children when Edward, at the age of seven, was faced with moving to his fifth school. He was upset to be losing friends again, had started to fall behind in his educational

attainment, and was always the new boy in any clubs he joined.

Once I started on this boarding school journey, I realised how difficult it was to choose settings that best suited the individual needs of my own children, which has led me to the service I offer today.

At the heart of my guidance is a child-centred approach that recognises the whole family’s needs. I work with my families to understand what is important to them and curate choices tailored to their personal requirements. Please do get in touch for an initial consultation to discuss how I can help.

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 59 SPONSORED FEATURE
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BLOGSpot Challenging but rewarding I choose to bloom!

I’m a military wife, mum to three wonderful service children and undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Surrey. The focus of my PhD is the perinatal mental health lived experiences of non-serving British Army mothers. Perinatal mental health refers to mental health from pregnancy through the first 12 months after childbirth and has a significant and long-lasting impact on maternal, child and familial health.

My personal and professional experiences of perinatal mental health within the military community were the catalyst for me embarking on such an undertaking, and it’s been quite the adventure since I enrolled back in 2019.

I’ve studied through the COVID pandemic, having a third child, and relocating twice with my husband’s job, with the final relocation meaning that I’ve had to transfer to remote working status. In short, it’s been a challenging experience.

The University of Surrey has been understanding and flexible, rolling with the punches that military life has thrown our way, even working with me to cocreate a meaningful commitment to their students from the military community and signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

I have been privileged to have received amazing support from the military community too, with fellow spouses sharing my research recruitment material extensively, such that I was overwhelmed with expressions of interest for study participation.

But I have to say, the support I’ve received from both my university and the military community has been phenomenal, carrying me through to the stage I’m at today, midway through the longitudinal data collection phase.

Whilst the experience has been incredibly challenging, it has also been unbelievably rewarding. Working on my own research project, with fellow military mums who have welcomed me into their lives at such a vulnerable time, has been genuinely humbling.

So, if you love the idea of research or doing a PhD but are worried about military life getting in the way, I’d urge you to just go for it. Military spouses have so much to offer the research and academic world. There will always be inevitable curveballs, but with support and flexibility it is totally achievable. Follow @army.motherhood

Two and a half years ago, when my husband shared with me the news of his new posting to Belgium, I was beside myself with conflicting emotions. On one hand, the prospect of living in Belgium thrilled me and yet, beneath that thrill, a silent frustration just ate me up. How many times in my life do I have to look for a job? Two and a half years later, it is time to pack up and head back to the UK again!

My family and friends often mention how they know I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belgium. I was able to do that because I had made up my mind that I was going to make the most of that posting. I do get anxious and overwhelmed by the zillion things to be done before and after the move, especially finding a job.

Throughout the years, I have found inspiration in the quote “bloom where you are planted” by Saint Francis de Sales. “To bloom where you are planted” is to flourish, thrive, or blossom. It must be intentional and driven by a desire to take advantage of the opportunities you find in the place where you are.

60 | | Army&You Spring 2024 Welcome to Army&You’s Blogspot. Write your thoughts about army life and send them to

How can you bloom wherever you are? To begin with, you need to speak to yourself. This is me; this is where I am right now. It may or may not be permanent, but I choose to live my best life. I may or may not have what I need, but I choose to be positive, resilient and happy.

Secondly, dare to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. Most of my career had been in financial services. When I arrived in Belgium job opportunities for spouses in the military camp were limited.

Then I found a job as an administrator in the medical centre. Talk about diving in at the deep end! The beginning was a bit challenging, but I got in there and performed my role excellently.

One reason why people fail to bloom is that they do not invest fully in their new situation. They have one foot in and the other out. Whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship, success requires a wholehearted 100 per cent commitment.

You may think you’re in a tough spot, perhaps at a challenging workplace, surrounded by difficult people, or feeling unappreciated in your current job. Be your best where you are right now. While anticipating better opportunities, choose to grow in your current situation.

By consciously deciding to bloom in Belgium I can do the same at our next destination. You can do that too. Wherever you are today, choose to bloom!


I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published author, but I didn’t see it as something I could do as a job until we were posted to Argentina, when my husband was Assistant Defence Attaché in Buenos Aires.

Our two children were both at school and I sat down to write my first novel, which was about three army wives and how they coped when their husbands were deployed to Afghanistan. It was called The Dependants and was published in 2014.

The biggest challenge in the beginning was not knowing much about the publishing world. There are certain processes to go through to get an agent and a publisher on board and these are vital to gain access to the wider distributors.

I researched as much as I could from the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and I got an agent in 2016, and my first publishing deal in 2017.

I’m still learning about the industry, which is constantly changing due to the pressures from digital demands and economic trends. The most important thing I’ve learned is that the big names you see in the shops don’t necessarily sell

the most and the digital platform is growing all the time.

The military family has always been a huge support for my writing, and it still is. I have massive support from friends I made during my time as a military spouse, and it is hugely important to me.

I have a series of books featuring a military policewoman as the main character and these are very popular. My most successful series is the DI Kelly Porter crime books set in the Lake District.

I’d say that the military lifestyle has enriched my writing. My husband served for 16 years and in that time we lived in 11 houses, and those experiences are never wasted.

Meeting so many people and travelling so extensively have had an enormous impact on my writing and I’m able to pull on a rich and diverse cast of characters for my books.

If you’re thinking of becoming a published author, don’t give up, just write what’s inside you. Statistically, success in terms of volume of sales being enough to provide a full-time income is rare, but just keep going and if you have a story to tell, it deserves to be out there. A


We have three copies of Rachel’s new thriller, The Rich, to give away. Scan the QR code to be in with a chance of winning.

The closing date is 19 May 2024.

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 61



Children’s Mental Health Week took place in February with the theme of My Voice Matters! and SSAFA’s Community Health Team (CHT), based in Cyprus, took part.

The team joined forces with students on the island to bring the vital message that young people’s voices must be heard to an audience of their peers, and – with an interview with Ceilidh McLeod on BFBS by two students at St John’s School Episkopi – to adults within UK armed forces communities.

The interviewees, Jacob and Kaitlyn, also worked with SSAFA’s CHT in the weeks leading up to Children’s Mental Health Week to develop the youngpeople pages for the SSAFA website. They also created and delivered a presentation to staff and students at


schools in Episkopi and Akrotiri.

As Kaitlyn and Jacob explained: “Mental health is something that doesn’t wear off on its own. It’s not just a phase, so it’s not like a computer game you like and play all the time and then lose that excitement and start playing another or move onto the next one. It’s something that should always have a voice.”

The CHT provides nurses, midwives, health visitors and school nurses to UK armed forces families overseas. See

Mummy’s a Soldier and Daddy’s a Soldier, written by military wife and business owner Talula Grey, aim to support primary school-aged children with a parent in the army.

The books are designed to answer the questions young children have about what happens on operations such as:

● Why does mummy/daddy have to go away?

● Is it dangerous?

● What do they do on operations?

● Is mummy/daddy lonely?

● When is mummy/daddy coming home?

The books, available on Amazon, can also be used as an educational resource for all children about the role of the army and to instil a sense of empathy for children with a parent on deployment.

Scan the QR code to be in with a chance of winning a copy of either book. The closing date is 19 May 2024.


The Service Children’s Community Choir is made up of children from primary and secondary schools across Catterick Garrison and the wider area. Formed in 2021, the main aim of the choir is to support the mental health and well-being of service pupils through music.

Angela Campbell and Beki Bulmer, founders of the choir,

said: “We support children during times when parents are deployed or when they are preparing to move to a new posting. The children gather for weekly rehearsal sessions with our music director Liz Latta. The choir really is a great way to make friends and build confidence!

“Over the last couple of years, we have created lots of magical memories together. In 2022, we worked in close collaboration with Never Such Innocence on a very special project. Thirty-three members of our choir appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, raising the profile of military children everywhere. Their memorable audition in


Military child Freddie Gidalla, 11, sent in this heart-felt poem:

All about me!

My dad is a soldier, his name is Lee

He was once posted overseas to Germany

While he was there two sons were born In a beautiful town called Paderborn

Summers were spent at the outdoor pool

We would often visit after school Weekends we would go off in our campervan

All four of us and our lazy dog called Stan

My dad is a soldier, his name is Lee

He was once posted all the way to Paisley Visiting different places including the Brae Sometimes I thought maybe we could stay

Covid started, my dad worked from home

It’s not something I’ve ever known In the morning we would join in with Joe Wicks Followed by mathematics

My dad is a soldier, his name is Lee He bought a house in Sellindge to settle our family

Freddie is the winner of this edition’s creative competition and wins a £25 Amazon voucher –congratulations!

front of the judges made Amanda Holden cry and raised awareness of this incredible group of young people, who go through so much during their time as military families.

“Reaching the live semi-finals was a real achievement and the children were so proud to stand on the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo and perform. Since then, the children have gone on to perform at the Houses of Parliament and have even sung for the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Catterick Garrison.

“We can’t wait to see how the Service Children’s Community choir continues to grow and develop in the future.”

For more information about the Service Children’s Community Choir and their forthcoming performances, visit

62 | | Army&You Spring 2024
Army&You Spring 2024 | | 63
Scan me to get started! @naafisocial Deadline to apply 31st Ma y APPLICATIONS OPEN 1 ST MAY Army & U 2024
Supporting projects that improve the quality of life fo
UK Armed Forces communities, wherever they are in the world.

WIN Giveaways War hero’s tales

Home inspiration

You have a chance to win a pair of tickets to Grand Designs Live at ExCel London, from 4-12 May 2024.

Witness cutting-edge architecture, innovative interiors and expert insights that redefine living spaces.

We’re giving away three pairs of tickets to the show, offering you a front-row seat to the future of home innovation.

Don’t miss this chance to explore the limitless possibilities of design – enter now for your chance to win! The closing date is 29 April 2024. For more information, see

Tank Man: The Life and Times of Captain Bert Baker tells the early experiences of the tank in action through letters and diaries.

Capt Baker won a Military Cross and bar for two actions that helped establish the tank as a game-changing weapon during the First World War.

His grandson Jonathan Baker, who researched the story, said: “My grandfather had left a detailed record of his war in a notebook. I was able to trace all his movements over the whole four years of the war, and learn about the development of the tanks through the direct experience of one of the first men to fight in one.”

We have two copies of the book, published by The Tank Museum, to give away.

64 | | Army&You Spring 2024
the giveaways tab at

Reduce the stress of separation from a loved one by recording 20 seconds of their heartbeat and feeling it back any time with vibration via a Beat Keeper device.  Keep My Beat was founded with a belief that distance should never break the bonds that unite us. Whether you’re separated by miles, time zones or unforeseen circumstances, Keep My Beat will break the barriers that keep you apart by always feeling the

heartbeat of those closest to you. Collecting and feeling a heartbeat is easy. The starter kit sends you a Beat Collector pulse clip to quickly connect to your phone app and record a heartbeat.

The Keep My Beat team then programmes a unique Beat Keeper to send you. Find out more at

We have two starter kits to be won worth £49.99 each.

Fit and fabulous Keep loved ones close

Girls Love Fit was co-created in 2010 by fitness professional and entrepreneur Alex Taylor and hosts a wide range of fitness classes within Wiltshire.

Delivering fun fitness has earned the brand various business awards and opportunities, from guest presenting to representing big sports companies.

Girls Love Fit has grown from strength to strength, now with a

number of qualified and experienced instructors delivering results-driven programmes both offline and online for adults and children.

Alex and her team are offering A&Y readers the chance to win a six-week online pass, entitling you to one class per week!

For more information check out and follow @girlslovefit on Instagram and Girls.Love.Fit on Facebook.

Army&You Spring 2024 | | 65
HOW TO ENTER: Click the giveaways tab at and follow the links. One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 19 May 2024 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.


Suf fer from constant ringing in your ears? Trouble hearing in a crowded room?

Mr D from Sunderland recently received £56,500 for tinnitus and damage to his hearing, and to ensure he could purchase top of the range hearing aids

CALL the experts in Military Hearing Loss today!


If you have ser ved in the forces since 1987 and have sustained hearing damage as a result of exposure to noise, you may be able to claim for hearing loss and/or tinnitus. There has been a rising number of deafness claims made by Army, Navy and RAF personnel in the last few years, with many allegations of inadequate ear protec tion being made . If your hearing has been affec ted, call our exper ts today for a free consultation.


You could still claim even if you have been rejected for a pension or been refused under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Causes of militar y deafness:


•Aircraf t noise

•Gun and Ar tiller y fire

•Vehicle engine noise

•Mor tars

•Telecoms equipment

We left a gift in our Wills to the ABF...

After your family and friends, will you consider us?

Family comes first, and having a Will in place provides invaluable peace of mind for you and your family

Many ABF supporters feel an enormous sense of pride in leaving a lasting legacy for those who have served their country

We are the Army’s national charity. Since 1944 we have been here to support soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need.

With no government funding, we rely on the gifts we receive from Wills to support more than a third of our work.

Scan here for further information on our free Will making services

Alternatively please call Emma Hamilton, Gifts in Wills Manager, on 020 7901 8909

Army Benevolent Fund is a registered charity in England and Wales (1146420) and Scotland (SC039189) and registered as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales (07974609)
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