My daughter became a military child not through her own choice.
I am not a military child but I decided to join the British Army as a teenager, my husband was a military child and also decided to join the British Army as a teenager. Our decisions to follow a career in the military has meant our daughter has experienced various situations I can only empathise with because I have never been in her situation.
Most notably moving lots, different countries, different counties, this has resulted in transition through many schools. Lets go back to the beginning…..
Our daughter started school when she was four, where we lived at that time it was an infant school, she was in that school until she was seven years old but then we had to move her and this time to a junior school which she then remained in until she was nine years old, so early years she experienced stability.
Then it started getting complex through no fault of anyone really but the age she was and the postings we got it became a bit of a patchwork of schools and systems and curriculum’s;
Year 5 – Junior school. Posted and moved location.
Year 6 – Primary school
Year 7 – Secondary school
Year 8 – Middle school. Posted and moved location.
Year 9 – Upper school
So in five years every September she has had to move schools, new uniforms, new teachers, new ways and often new locations. This has bought lots of uncertainty and nerves and inconsistency. I will also say at this point I think it has made her grow in confidence and personal strength, I know at nearly 13 years old she is now not scared of walking into a classroom knowing not a soul and holding her head up high, saying hello and digging in to make it familiar.
Some of the school changes have been better than others some more supported than others and only one of those schools understood and catered for her needs as a military child who experiences transition and also repeated separation from her dad, I thank that school because they rock and they are doing a great job. The others…..haven’t made it a positive experience for us as a family.
It isn’t always the schools fault, they just don’t always know the challenges military children face (separation, deployment, moving repeatedly, friendship losses, change, lack of roots…the list is endless) and if they don’t know the challenges and the implications of those how can they adequately support them?
As a family we have and still are experiencing the first hand affects of moving frequently with a school age child, we know we are definatly not alone in this either so many of you will have had similar experiences and there is not adequate support from anywhere for these scenarios. To help schools, to help families who can then help their children so it isn’t a negative experience and ultimately so it doesn’t affect their education.
I’m so proud of Little Troopers and what we have already achieved and it is forever important to me to follow projects and initiatives that I am passionate about, that I have lived and breathed, where I truly believe we can make an impact to thousands of Little Troopers and their families.
There is a government fund that exists called the Service Pupil Premium, an annual sum of £300 per service child paid to schools for pastoral/non educational support due to the fact they face slightly different daily challenges and situations to other children. This fund isn’t completely understood by schools or families and we want to change that and educate schools on how they can best support service children and we of course want to celebrate the schools already using the fund as intended and supporting those children in need.
Follow our journey as the project unfolds in 2016 and keep sharing your feedback with us, we will be putting together a service parent focus group (as part of our Little Trooper Network volunteer scheme that exists) to compliment this project and we’d love you to be involved. Read more here
As always the Little Troopers community is a strong one and together we can make a difference to all the Little Troopers out there.