Forces Children Scotland welcomes the Armed Forces Act gaining Royal Ascent in Parliament on Thursday 16 December 2021, which sees the Armed Forces Covenant enshrined in law for the first time within the United Kingdom.
The new legislation put in place will ensure Armed Forces personnel, reservists and veterans and their families are better supported when it comes to accessing key public services such as healthcare, education, and housing.
Forces Children Scotland welcomes the provisions within the act, including the provision of £2 Million worth of grants, from the MOD’s Education Support Fund to seventy-five schools across the UK in support of service children and their families.
In response, the charity has issued a call for government to do more to ensure the voices of children and young people from Armed Forces families are heard in helping them overcome unique challenges to education and learning.
The voice of children and young people from Armed Forces families serve as the charity’s most valuable asset, who co-produce projects and services to help beneficiaries overcome unique challenges to mental health, education and learning.
Forces Children Scotland published its first ever manifesto ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections earlier this year, which was co-produced with children and young people from serving, reservist and veteran families across Scotland.
The publication made it clear they feel they are a seldom heard, invisible group within society. It’s not that they are ignored, more that their unique challenges are simply not on the radar of those making important decisions about their future.
Within the manifesto, Children and young people from forces families called upon the Scottish Government to do more to ensure teachers are trained to understand the lives they lead and how their unique experiences can impact learning.
Last month, the charity worked with beneficiaries to co-deliver a conference for teachers and wider professional sectors to help them better understand how their unique lived experience can impact mental health, education and learning.
The charity feels much more can be achieved to ensure the voice of children and young people from Armed Forces families is represented to engage with decision makers at a local, regional and national level.
Laura Falconer, Chief Executive Officer for Forces Children Scotland said:
“We hope this legislation is a positive step along the way to the voice and needs of children and young people from serving, reservist and veteran families being recognised and supported across society.”