Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Translate this page

For Braille, large print or audio, please contact us.

Summer's here!

Posted 4/7/2018

Happy July – 3 weeks to go!  I don’t understand why this end of the year is always so manic!  I always think ‘ah July, time to wind down’ and then when July arrives everything is crazy, at home and at work – that’s why we need the summer holidays!  I am suffering from the usual ‘Where has that year gone?’ and in truth it has been a long and busy academic year!

After successfully completing Parents EFA, Primary / Secondary EFA and Train the Trainers courses and receiving our EFA Trainers licenses, Annabel and I, along with our colleagues from Prevention Services, have been presenting Parents EFA courses across North Yorkshire this year.  6 courses have taken place and have been an unmitigated success, surprising even us!  Demand for the courses has been high and those who have completed have reported a significant increase in mental wellbeing, not just anecdotally, participants complete Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing questionnaires pre and post taking part in the course and the results have been statistically significant, a mean result of +10 improvement in mental wellbeing being reported for all the courses offered this year.  If you are aware of any parents who would benefit from attending a Parents Emotional First Aid course then please refer them to us.

Unfortunately demand for the Primary and Secondary EFA courses has not been as high but we are hopeful uptake will be better next term.

The EFA Course inspired Annabel and I to offer Anxiety Workshops to schools and we have been presenting them at schools across North Yorkshire and have had some lovely feedback including this from a parent whose child had attended a workshop:

“So happy S is getting help with her anxiety she attended a workshop with school yesterday and she said it was great learning techniques to overcome her fears xx #emotionalfirstaid

We have three Anxiety Workshops available which are suitable from Year 2 to Year 7+.  If you would like Anxiety Workshops in your school then please contact Annabel or I to discuss dates.

In the Parents EFA course we discuss self-esteem, how it is built and how it can be damaged.  One of the parents attending the course in Colburn said ‘I wish I’d been told this at school’ and from that comment our new Self-esteem Workshops were born!  The Self-esteem Workshop looks at how self-esteem can be built, how we can improve others self-esteem and in turn strengthen our own.  We ran the first workshop with the Year 6 class at Wavell Juniors last week and the feedback from the children and the class teacher was very positive.  The workshop is aimed at children in Years 5, 6 & 7.  If you’re interested in the Self-esteem Workshop for your school then please get in touch.

During the Anxiety Workshops Annabel and I have met children who are struggling with anxiety, we have been able to offer to support these children on a 1:1 basis in their school.  The support we offer follows the principles of Primary EFA and we aim to help children understand their anxieties and hopefully enable them to overcome them.  We have also offered support to families who are struggling with transition to or from North Yorkshire, and to families who have a serving parent deployed or on training/exercise and just need a little extra support to help them through.

In the past couple of years Annabel and I have received increasing requests for support from parents who are struggling with getting their children the SEND support they require, in some cases children have spent large amounts of time out of school because a suitable placement has not been offered.  Annabel and I have worked hard to establish a relationship with the SEND Admissions Team and supported them in gaining some understanding of the difficulties which can arise for military families.  This has led to the establishment of a permanent point of contact for military families – Alison Hall – which will hopefully smooth transitions into North Yorkshire.  As you are aware, the SEND Review for North Yorkshire is ongoing, we’ve been working with Jane Le Sage & her team and Lt. Col. Joe Jordan to ensure that children from military families are remembered in all stages of the process.

In November Annabel organised her fifth Remembrance Service at Ripon Cathedral.  Hearing 600 children singing together in such a beautiful setting always makes me emotional!  The 2017 Service was particularly poignant thanks to the beautiful reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Mr John Jeffries who lost friends and comrades in WWII and who himself was wounded and taken prisoner of war.  The Poppy Wheel art provided by the schools who attended was particularly beautiful.  Annabel is already working hard on the Service for 2018 which this year will take place on Friday 9th November – more details to follow soon!

Annabel has undertaken a lot of work this year talking about the role of Service Pupils’ Champion to various people – if she hadn’t we wouldn’t have received the funding which has secured the role for another year!  Annabel has travelled to SCISS conferences to talk about military life in North Yorkshire and how children are supported here.  We have both been working at strengthening our links with CEAS and the Families Federations to ensure that children and their families are offered the best support available from the people most able to support.  The work that Annabel has done has led to requests for support from other counties in England who are considering establishing their own Service Pupils’ Champions roles and would like to model their roles on the work we do.  We find this very exciting because it means that Service Pupils should receive the support they need no matter where their family is posted.

I love presenting the Anxiety & Self Esteem Workshops – any excuse to spend a couple of hours being silly with children!  However my favourite day of the year has to be our Armed Forces for Children event which this year took place on Thursday 14th June.  Organisation this year was a little more fraught than it has been in the past, we had a lot of units deployed, training, on exercise or on leave which meant that offers of equipment and soldiers were not as forthcoming as they had been in previous years.  In fact at one point it looked like the only thing we would be able to offer the children was the REME Band and some food – my husband is OC of the REME Band and the food is organised by WO1 Jaime Irvine who has a daughter at Wavell Infants – you could say they had a vested interest!  As it happens offers of support did come in and we were happy that we would be able to offer another interesting, fun and a little bit educational day for the children.  Then the weather forecast started to change, the pictures on the BBC Weather App started to show little pretty swirls of wind – nothing too worrying until the Met Office named the little pretty swirls of wind ‘Storm Hector’ and suddenly we had to consider whether the day was going to be viable after all!  I spent the Wednesday afternoon on the phone to various people, assessing the risk and trying to decide if the day would be viable.  At the end of the school day on Wednesday 13th we decided we’d go with it and see what the next day would bring.  Thankfully, despite having to battle to set the tents up and ensure they stayed safely in place, the soldiers stuck it out and the children arrived – and we had a great day!  I have had some lovely ‘Thank you’ letters which I have shared with the people involved and we’ve booked the date for next year!  Photos of the day are available on the gallery page if you’ve got time to have a look!

On Monday this week Annabel and I accompanied some Service Pupils from Bedale High School, Le Cateau Community Primary School and St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School to the Chairman’s Reception to celebrate Armed Forces Week.  The children were delightful and spent the afternoon chatting to dignitaries such as the Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and representatives from the Army, Navy and RAF.  The children also enjoyed a guided tour of the Council Chambers and some tasty finger food.  This is the first year the Chairman has hosted such an event, he was delighted to meet the children and encourage them to eat more cake - not that they needed much encouragement!

So that has been a quick round-up of a year in the life of a Service Pupils’ Champion!  Hope you have a gorgeous summer holiday and we look forward to working with you all next year – don’t forget to put the date for the annual Remembrance Service in your diary – Friday 9th November 2018, Ripon Cathedral.

Happy Holidays!

Nickie

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy May!

Posted 10/5/2018

Happy May!  Let’s hope this weather is here to stay...  It especially needs to be sunny on Thursday 14 June for Armed Forces Day fun at Catterick Garrison.  If your school has signed up for this event you will receive final details from Nickie soon.

April saw military children from 6 primary and 4 secondary schools attend 2 ‘Creative Forces Days’ at York University and York St John University. These were organised by NCOP and the Service Children’s Progression Alliance whose main reason for being is to improve educational outcomes for children from military families so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers. The aim of these days was to provide a taster of Higher Education and   give students an opportunity to get to know service children from their own and other schools.  Activities were supported by current university students from a service background who talked about their own experiences, and transition from school to Higher Education.  We hope that by attending this event pupils gained more knowledge of what university is, were given the chance to talk about their experience of being a service child within their community/school and how they can feel more supported and/or how they want to be treated.  Most importantly we hope that the children were inspired to consider HE and FE in their education journeys.  Here are some of the comments made by some of the children who attended:

I am very inspired and curious about my future at university. Rating 8.5/10

I have had a nice time because I never knew what it would be like in university. Rating 10/10

It was awesome. Today was awesome and I would like to come back here when I’m 18 because I have learnt lots of things today and it was fun. Rating 10/10 

We are hoping that this will be the start of other programmes like this.  For more information contact Nickie or Annabel.

Parents’ Emotional First Aid courses continue this term with courses running in Ripon and Catterick. We are always recruiting for future courses so please refer parents who you feel would benefit.

 

We also continue to offer hour long Anxiety Workshops in schools for Years 2-7.  These are free and open to all children.

Thank you to those who attended the recent SFSG meeting.  Please take time to read the minutes which will be sent this week and especially important information regarding SEND information and developments.

 

Finally…please make sure that 1pm Friday 9 November 2018 is in the diary- Service Pupils’ Remembrance Service Ripon Cathedral.

 

Annabel Hall

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to our Blog!

Posted 16/4/2018

Hope you had a gorgeous Easter break and are rested and ready for the craziness that is summer term!  At the end of last term the SPC Team decided that in order to reach their target audience (you!) and keep up with the times it was time to let the ‘Schools and Settings with Service Families: Update’ go and try a new form of communication.  Our plan is to write a monthly blog which will contain all the information the SSSF:Update contained but in smaller, easier to read bursts!  You can let us know if we’re getting it right!

The start of a new term is a good time to reflect on the term before.  On February 2nd North Yorkshire hosted the North of England SCISS Conference at the Pavilions of Harrogate.  120 delegates attended the event organised by Matt Blyton with the assistance of Annabel Hall and Grahame Shepherd.  The conference was opened by Anne Longfield OBE, National Children’s Commissioner for England who gave an indication of her knowledge of the challenges Service pupils face and her support for the partnerships being developed to support them which was fitting given that the theme of the 2018 conference was ‘Developing effective partnerships to support the education & welfare of children of Armed Forces’. The day was filled with interesting workshops and presentations from a variety of contributors including Lisa Thipthorp of the Royal Air Force Families Federation who gave an inspiring presentation on the impact of deployment on RAF families and Louise Fentigan of Little Troopers talking about the resources Little Troopers can offer schools to help them support Service pupils.  Many delegates were particularly interested in the presentation by Alan Behagg and Charmian Hickman of the Armed Forces Education Trust who offered free money!

 

Entertainment for the day was provided by children from Le Cateau Primary School who performed two traditional Nepalese dances and were fantastic! 

 

Response to the Conference from delegates was positive:

 

61% of delegates said they felt ‘better able to identify and understand some of the challenges facing children and young people from Armed Forces families.’

 

62% of delegates said they ‘had a better understanding of where to go for assistance with supporting Armed Forces children and young people.’

 

Of the many positive comments received, one delegate commented that there was a ‘Really good range of interesting speakers/topics which reinforced key issues for Service pupils/families plus offering very practical ideas of sources of support.’

 

SEND Update

Over the last 18months Annabel and I have spent an increasing amount of time supporting families of Service pupils with SEND.  This has led to us developing a close working relationship with the SEN Team at County Hall which has resulted in the agreement that PARO Alison Hall will act as primary point of contact for military families moving into North Yorkshire who have children with SEND.  This has already proved to be a positive move enabling families to have smoother transitions to schools in North Yorkshire.  At our last meeting with the SEN Team, Nikki Joyce, Head of SEND announced that a year-long trial would begin this April offering exceptional SEND support funding for 3 groups of children/young people: 

  • children going through transition for instance Year 6 to 7;

  • children who have experienced sudden trauma or change;

  • moved in children, particularly Service pupils, to support while long term plans are made

We are hopeful that this exceptional funding will enable schools to support children and young people while long term plans and funding (where required) are put in place.

 

Service Pupils’ Champion Role

In February Annabel and I were delighted to receive conformation that the Armed Forces Education Trust will fund the role of Service Pupils’ Champion for a year which means the role can continue until Summer 2019.

 

Diary Dates 2018:

Creative Forces Day – 19th & 20th April 2018

Armed Forces Day for Children – Thursday 14th June

Remembrance Service at Ripon Cathedral – Friday 9th November

 

You will have already received email information about the Creative Forces Day & the AFD for Children but if you would like further information then please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

So, we’ve reached the end of Blog #1 – how was it for you?!  Don’t worry, it’ll get better the more we do it!

 

Nickie Young

Service Pupils’ Champion

Read the rest of this entry »

Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Do you accept?