Headlines: May 23rd, 2011

Ofsted has warned that service children who face regular moves from home and school can suffer high levels of anxiety and stress when their parents deploy to armed conflicts.

Ofsted inspectors found that the stress experienced by service children as they move from school to school was made worse by poor systems for the transfer of children’s records between schools. Traansfers were not co-ordinated and important information was delayed or did not arrive at all.

A key shortcoming was that there is no accurate single database of Service children or effective system to track their movements. There was also generally a lack of continuity of support and provision for children from Service families as they move between schools, heightened in areas where small numbers of Service children were being catered for and where there was less understanding of their needs.

The report, requested by the Ministry of Defence, also found that Service children were potentially susceptible to social and emotional disturbance while a parent or other family member was on active deployment.

Ofsed also recommends that the Department for Education should collate and disseminate the most up-to-date research and good practice relating to Service children and their families to help schools and local authorities better understand and respond to their needs. The Department should also ensure that national policy includes Service children as a distinctive group so that their specific needs remain visible.