04 SES 04 C, Transition
Ensuring the social and emotional wellbeing of children is a significant area in educational policy, with significant focus on the importance of the early years supporting positive development. Inclusive practice increases the probability of positive educational experiences for children, however this is difficult for children of Army families, who like other transient children, experience a number of moves during the course of their education. Army families generally experience moves every 2 to 3 years, often with short notice. Moving puts extreme pressure on families as they move to new locations and seek new school places for their children. This pressure is compounded for those with children with special needs (SN)
Irregular school transitions (turbulence) may be considered a major educational issue in Britain (Dobson and Pooley, 2004; Machin, Telhaj and Wilson, 2006) as well as other countries (GOA, 1994; Lauder et al, 1994). However, the turbulence of children from Military families appears to be an under researched area, particularly in the UK. Other comparable research in the USA has focused more on the effects of deployment on Military families (Park, 2011; Rodriguez & Margolin 2011; Lowe et al, 2012) and the support provided within Military units (Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), USA). Initiatives such as those provided by the MCEC are a response to the growing body of research which shows the challenges that this group face including the increased risk of mental illness (Mansfield, et al, 2011), increased levels of behavioural problems (Chandra, Lara-Cinisomo et. al, 2010) and higher levels of stress (Wong and Garras, 2010). Though studies in the USA have provided some evidence suggesting turbulence contributes negatively on social and emotional wellbeing of children and families, little research illustrates the effectiveness of strategies on educational outcomes used to support this group
In 2006 the UK Defence Committee, appointed by the House of Commons, conducted an inquiry into the education of children of Military personnel. In acknowledging the stress experienced by children moving schools, they stated children ‘...should receive at least the same quality of schooling and educational opportunity as any child being educated in the UK’ (House of Commons Defence Committee 2006, p.36).
This study was commissioned by Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS) (a UK agency of the MoD) and focused on conclusions drawn from the Defence Inquiry examining the experiences of Service Families with children having SN and difficulties they experienced when moving to new locations/ schools securing continuity of educational provision. The aims and objectives of this study were to:
- Explore the experiences of families when moving to new locations gaining housing, school places
- Evaluate the effectiveness of transfer of information between schools
- Examine current systems and strategies to improve transfer of information.
Understanding these questions helped to (a) gain a better understanding on the impact of military transition on children in a broad sense (social, emotional, and educational penalties), and (b) develop school, family, and community based interventions that target the fundamentally important psychosocial challenges these children face.
DCSF: (2008). The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans. London: HMSO. DCSF. (2009). DCSF: Special Educational Needs in England: January 2009. DFE. (2010). The Educational Performance of Children of Service Personnel. DFE. (2011). Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability - a consultation London: Crown Copyright. DfES. (2007). Aiming high for Disabled Children. Norwich: Crown Copyright. DfES. (2001). Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Annesley, Nottinghamshire: DfES Publications. Equality and Human Rights Commission Triennial Review (2010) How Fair is Britain? Equality, Human Rights and Good Relations in 2010. Gove, M. (13 December 2010). Written ministerial statement by the Secretary of State for Education on schools financial settlement - Pupil Premium: Department for Education. House of Commons Defence Committee (2006). Educating Service Children. 11th Report. 2005-06. London: The Stationery Office. Ministry of Defence (2008) The Nation’s Commitment: Cross Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans. Service Personnel Command Paper 7424. NFER. (2009) Service Children’s Education: Survey of Parental Views (Final Report) sourced 10/05/2011 from http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceFor/ServiceCommunity/Education/sce/ Ofsted Inspection Report, Service Children's Education Headquarters, June 2004, para 15 Ofsted Report (2011) Children in Service families: The quality and impact of partnership provision for children in Service families Reference 100227 Secretary of State for Defence and Minister of State for the Armed Forces (2008) The Nation’s Commitment: Cross Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans. Norwich: Crown Copyright.
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