Military personnel in the UK are often incredibly mobile, frequently being deployed overseas at international bases, meaning that in many cases, they must relocate together with their families.
Naturally, this process can be very disruptive to children, especially with regards to their education and social development.
That is why the MOD offers the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) to help subsidise the cost of boarding school, enabling families to move together while limiting disruption to a family’s life as much as possible.
But, how do you know which military boarding school to choose? Let’s discuss some of the most crucial factors in the decision-making process:
Is it a CEA Approved Boarding School?
The most crucial thing to observe is whether the boarding school in question is CEA approved, as that is the only way you can be sure that your child’s education will be funded with the allowance you receive.
The best way to make sure a school is CEA funded is to ask the boarding school your interested in and cross reference with the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).
Location, Location, Location
Although the school’s location shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, it’s certainly worth consideration. If the school is close to relatives and to your hometown, it’s likely going to be more familiar to your children and if they have other relatives close by, it will make it easier for them to help if required.
In addition, if your deployment abroad abruptly ends and you need to move back to the UK, are you likely going to want to move back to the same region? For example, if you want to move back to the North of England, it’s going to make more sense if your children are attending a boarding school in the same area.
This is the reason I chose Moorland Military Boarding School, as they were close by to family, had a great reputation and surrounded by the beautiful Ribble Valley countryside.
Look at Numerous Schools
Look at many schools and take your time touring their websites, reading reviews and testimonials from ex-pupils and parents. There may also be reviews from governing bodies such as Ofsted and the Independent Schools Governing Body, so make sure to have a read of these too.
During this process you should look at around 10-15 schools before you start refining your list.
Narrowing Your List
This is perhaps the most time-consuming part of the process as it involves sitting down with your child and going through all the candidate schools together. You should end up with a list of around 5, you can do this by asking questions such as:
- What are the class sizes?
- Do you want a religious school?
- How good are the facilities?
- Does the school offer special interest topics e.g. sports?
Visit the Shortlisted Schools
Visiting the schools takes some time, but nothing offers the same first-hand experience as paying the school a visit, speaking to the staff and looking around at the grounds and facilities.
This is a great opportunity to assess whether the school is a good opportunity and fit for your child.
Apply and Pay for It
Once you’ve made your decision, the next thing to do is apply and pay the fees. Most schools offer an online application form that can be downloaded from their website. Make sure to download the forms before September, so that you can have them complete and ready to be submitted.
If you are entitled to CEA, you will be awarded an eligibility certificate by your Pay and Allowances Casework and Complaints Cell (DBS PACCC). You will need this to hand as the school will likely request a copy, so that your funds will be available and paid before the term starts.
If you have any questions or concerns, it’s always worth reaching out to the school directly and if required contact the MOD Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).
Author: This Article was sent in by Mr. Griffin, British Army, Corps of Royal Engineers.