When the charity Little Troopers launched their Primary School resource pack they knew exactly where they should visit to trial the resources. Alexander First School in Windsor has 135 children in total and 64% (86) have a parent serving in the British Army.
Mariam Khokar, Assistant Headteacher, told us “The mobility of service life is our biggest challenge. Serving in the British Army can mean a number of new postings during the child’s school years. Some children in year 2 could have moved between 1 and 5 times since starting school. Moving schools affects the children’s emotions and can create gaps in their education.”
Whilst the outline of the National Curriculum is set schools have flexibility to decide when and how they teach subjects. For example children in one school may learn measurements in mathematics in term one and the child’s old school may teach it in term three. The child joining in term two will miss out on that subject.
Emotionally the children are affected by moving schools and long periods of separation from their parents, such as deployment. For the children in Reception and year one a deployment can feel like the first time mummy or daddy has gone away, because they don’t remember the times apart earlier in their lives.
Alexander First School have embraced the Little Troopers at School project firstly accessing some of the free information sheets on the Little Troopers website which cover various topics such as the Service Pupil Premium, Challenges military children may face and many more.
Alexander First School has implemented a number of initiatives to help their military children:
- A Play Therapist works with children who have high emotional need
- An Educational psychologist helps to identify issues with learning and special educational needs
- School Emotional Literacy Support Assistants support children with transition arriving and leaving the school and with worries and anxieties on a day to day basis
- Every teacher has received attachment training and training on using a nurture approach across the school
- The school holds a one to one meeting for every child joining the school
- The teachers carry out their own baseline assessments
- The school has access to intervention teaching to help address gaps in learning
- They have an after school Heroes club
Mariam adds “The Ministry of Defence Education Support fund helps us to provide the additional pastoral care and intervention alongside the Service Pupil Premium. There is concern over the future of the MOD Education Support fund, without it we will have to relook at our provision. This is one of the reasons we’re super excited about the Little Troopers at School pack. It’s full of activities, lesson plans and lots more. Our teachers are excited to see how these new resources can help further support our children.”
The Little Troopers at School Primary School pack has 30 unique resources created to specifically help schools in supporting, military children. It’s relevant for all of the British Armed Forces. Louise Fetigan founder and operations manager for the charity adds “I’m so delighted to launch this pack. We had so much fun doing a couple of the activities with the children at Alexander First school. They created their own Little Troopers notice board and finger painted dandelions, which is the flower of the military child.
“With more military families choosing to live in their own homes there are military children in thousands of schools across the country. This pack has activities for children aged 4-11yrs and can work in any school.”