Best practice: Identifying Forces families

Highland Council: the importance of identifying and engaging with pupils and parents from Armed Forces families is key to supporting schools in our area

School: Various across the Highlands
Location: Highlands
Council: Highlands Council

The importance of identifying pupils from Armed Forces families

Identified Need

To ensure targeted support can be given at the right time in the right way.

Inputs & Outcomes

Pupils from St. Geraldine Primary playing a board game
Photo: Malcolm Cochrane Photography

Target: Highland Council School and Early Year settings and Early Year Partner centres.


  1. Enrolment Forms ask more detailed questions to gain more comprehensive data (Serving, Veteran or Reservist, which service they belong(ed) to.
  2. Hyperlink to leaflet included on Enrolment Form, “Why do we want to know?”
  3. Headteacher/Manager Guidance updated to create understanding of why it is important to encourage identification.
  4. Specific Highland Council Armed Forces data tab on SEEMiS to flag identified pupils.
  5. Discretionary paragraph in School Handbook to welcome Armed Forces families and encourage identification.
  6. Increased awareness raising with Highland Council Service Providers to encourage identification when working with families.
  7. Increased direct awareness-raising with Armed Forces Families to create understanding of why it is important and helpful.
  8. MLG (Education) Newsletters continually highlighting and encouraging.
  9. Input to partners Newsletters to highlight and encourage.
  10. Highlight and encourage identification through Highland Council Armed Forces website.
  11. Highlight the Armed Forces Covenant through points 8-10 and that this supports CYP who are currently receiving a service through specialist providers who are moving into Highland should not be disadvantaged through waiting times due to the nature of Armed Forces mobility.


  1. Increase in enquiries from families seeking advice/guidance moving into Highland.
  2. Increase in awareness across Highland Council services.
  3. Increase in MLG partners referring queries/concerns re Armed Forces families.


Quotes about effectiveness, appreciation and usefulness equal evidence.

“I have been reading the MLG newsletter, which is full of really interesting and helpful information and I just wondered is it possible to sign up to receive it on a regular basis? I sent on to a parent ( husband in the army and children attend primary school in the Highlands) she hadn’t seen it before.”

A local headteacher

Next steps…

What you will do next, to develop and sustain support for Forces families.

1. Staged consultation with Highland Council Specialist Service Providers (Allied Health Professionals, Ed Psych Team, Primary Mental Health Team) to identify strengths and gaps in systems and processes that encourage identification and support children and young people (CYP) from Armed Forces Families (raising training and awareness).

2. Potentially replicate this consultation with other key care and learning groups across Highland Council (Area Education Managers, Quality Improvement Team).

For more information on Highland Council’s support for Armed Forces families, visit their website.

More information

For more information on Bases and patches covered by Highland Council, take a look at our Bases page. For more information and tools to help you support Forces children and young people in your school, visit our Educators section.