A report for the UK Children’s Commissioner on growing up as an Armed Forces child suggests that a number of changes could support Service children, including: the MOD raising awareness of policies among parents and school staff to minimise school disruption; more action needed when moving support for children between local authorities; the need to place siblings in the same school where appropriate; Service children’s voices should be heard when making deployment decisions; to avoid deployment of both parents when both are serving personnel; to provide a strategy for emotional support, particularly for teenagers and the on-going need for better data collection and identification of Service children.
The commitment made by the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces often requires great personal sacrifice and has an impact on families as much as those serving. While issues facing service families have been the subject of much research, legislation and guidance over recent years, there has been less attention paid to understanding the lives of children who are growing up in an Armed Forces family. This report seeks to rectify this. It is the latest in my ‘Children’s Voices’ series – the first-hand accounts we publish to shine a light on the experiences of children whose stories too often go untold. It explores how primary and secondary school children with parents in the Armed Forces feel about moving school or country, how their lives at home and school change with deployment and whether or not they feel they receive the support they need to cope with these transitions. We spoke to children up and down the country whose parents are currently serving in the Army, Navy or RAF to explore the impact of active service life on their childhoods. We also talked to teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces to help us to build a clearer picture of where there are gaps in provision for children, and why these gaps exist.
Children's Commissioner, 2018. Kin and country: growing up as an Armed Forces child. Available at: <https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/KIN-AND-COUNTRY-Growing-up-as-an-Armed-Forces-child.pdf>.