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Armed Forces: Schools

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria apply to applications from (a) service personnel and (b) civilian personnel for places in Service Children’s Education schools. (138792)

The admission criteria for SCE schools is contained within Joint Service Publication (JSP) 342 - Education of Service Children.

Chapters 3 and 6 contain details relevant to admission and can be found at:

www.sceschools.com/publications

The document is currently being updated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms are in place for discussions between his Department and (a) the Department for Education and Skills, (b) devolved administrations and (c) local authorities on the educational needs of service children; what progress has been made on the implementation of a cross-UK forum to discuss these issues; and if he will make a statement. (138793)

There is regular contact between the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Education and Skills, the devolved administrations and local authorities regarding the educational needs of service children. Both Departments have a nominated lead for these matters and policy discussions—such as MOD input for the new schools admissions code—take place as required. The MOD Children's Education Advisory Service is the Department's main conduit in dealing with devolved administrations and local authorities for specific casework.

The inaugural meeting of the Service Children's Education Forum was held on 17 April this year and was attended by representatives from DFES, the devolved administrations, the MOD Children's Education Advisory Service and Service Children's Education (for service schools overseas). The forum's main purpose is to raise and resolve educational issues that affect service children, particularly where movement in or between the different countries of the UK or between the UK and overseas is a significant contributing factor. The forum will meet in the spring and autumn of each year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Education and Skills on improving the transfer of the statements of service children with special educational needs and high mobility. (138795)

Discussions are continuing with the Department for Education and Skills—and with devolved education authorities—to identify ways of addressing difficulties that arise when service children with special educational needs move between local authority areas, between the devolved education authorities of the UK or between the UK and overseas. This issue was raised most recently in the service children's education forum on 17 April this year.

The MOD Children's Education Advisory Service provides direct support to service families that have registered a child with special educational needs, which they are advised and strongly encouraged to do. This includes acting with and on behalf of parents in establishing how needs will be met in a new location and advising and accompanying them in dealings with local authorities, education authorities and the SEN and Disabilities Tribunal.