National Transitions Officer update #7

Education leaders across the sectors respond to the Covid pandemic by continuing to provide quality learning experiences while adapting to evolving guidance and regulations. Schools deliver progressive and continuous learning experiences that are responsive to learners and their needs. Staff interact with children and young people learning from home, at the same time engaging with those attending schools (the vulnerable learners, and children of key workers). The National Response depends upon schools maintaining their vital role in society by providing continuity of support for all children and their families. As the response to the pandemic continues to change, so too school engagement requires modification and adaption.

Teaching and learning in this current environment requires a range of techniques, resources and delivery models be employed, constantly being developed, and enhanced through collaboration, creativity, and ingenuity. These are offered by educators working to significantly increase their own skills and knowledge. Teaching remotely (or using a blended model approach) is not just moving what is normally provided in a school setting to a virtual platform or identifying resources children can use at home. Great strides were made during the last lockdown, and professional and collegial work continues within schools, across local authorities, in partnership and with Education Scotland.

Resources are also enhanced by knowledge shared across Scotland, the UK and internationally.

The shared goal is to maintain a provision in continuity of learning throughout various stages of lockdown that can be as close to the daily face-to-face experience, while recognising that it is not possible (nor desirable) to replicate a classroom model at home. It is acknowledged that parents are doing as much as they can to support the learning and experiences of their child, within the home environment and in partnership with teachers, often while juggling their own work responsibilities.

Armed Forces families may experience additional challenges related to mobility, transition, isolation, deployment and separation, and the lack of opportunity to develop relationships with teachers/educators/peers necessary to fully engage in a child’s learning journey.

I hope you and your family continue to stay healthy and safe.

The following items are those that I want to bring to your attention in this update.

Carolyn MacLeod, MBE
National Transitions Officer, ADES


  1. Statement about activities of serving personnel and possible impacts on family members.
  2. Lt Colonel Hugo Clark – comments
  3. Scottish Government – Scottish Armed Forces Education Support Group (SAFESG)
  4. MOD Education Support Fund – Scotland
  5. Scottish Qualifications Authority – update for parents & carers
  6. National Overview of Practice in Remote Learning
  7. Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) – Living in Our Shoes report
  8. Armed Forces Covenant Legislation – update
  9. Education Scotland Report – January 2021
  10. Resources


Carolyn MacLeod MBE is the National Transitions Officer for Children and Young People of Armed Forces families in Scottish Schools, Association of Directors of Education Scotland 

Email Carolyn
or call 07931 565961 

Information from Tri-Services in Scotland

The following has been provided by military contacts, in the Royal Navy, Army and RAF, in response to my request for a statement about the ‘general’ activity and some challenges faced by families – particularly in relation to Covid-19.

The Royal Navy in Scotland

Despite the global Coronavirus Pandemic, the UK Armed Forces have continued to deliver their contribution to the security of the UK. In particular, the Royal Navy has maintained its global footprint supporting various National taskings including Maritime Security, Counter Narcotics and Humanitarian Support Operations. Find out more.

From a more local Scottish perspective the Royal Navy continues to support the National Strategic Deterrent as well as protection of UK Waters and Maritime Security operations in the Gulf from HMNB CLYDE. Overlain on this COVID-19 has produced additional demands and requirements for all service personnel to provide assistance as required with the COVID response anywhere within the UK.

Given all of this, what impact has this had on the families and spouses of our Naval personnel?

The RN has introduced enhanced COVID-19 safety measures to ensure that the Ship’s companies are protected as best as possible from the virus in order to maintain operations. This has seen some of our service personnel quarantining for periods prior to their units deploying, increasing the period of family separation. Across the Royal Navy other personnel who should be enjoying post deployment periods of stability with their families have been called upon or are on standby to support National and Local responses to COVID-19. All of this has added an extra layer to the normal levels of instability and periods of separation experienced by the families.

Lt Cdr Garth Atkinson, Royal Navy Faslane

The Army in Scotland

Currently there are units from Scotland on operational tour in Afghanistan, providing protection to the NATO instructors and students who are training to be officers in the Afghan National Army, as part of NATO’s training and mentoring mission. They have had to quarantine for an extra 4 days before deploying, in an RAF base in England to ensure they were COVID free and will have to do the same on their return to the UK, before they are allowed home This has added a bit of time to their 6-month tour. They deployed in October and will be back in April. Another of our units has spent the last year training for and taking over the role of NATOs Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). This has seen them be on the highest readiness to deploy anywhere in the world that NATO might require them. This was a six-month commitment, which meant that they had to undergo high level training, to ensure that their infantry and deployability skills were of the absolute highest order. They undertook a major confirmatory exercise before taking the role and, after COVID, continued to train locally to their base location, in COVID safe bubbles.

All units Regular and Reserve were part of the British military COVID support force in Scotland and were part of the staffing of the COVID Mobile Testing units, providing testing to those with symptoms, all over Scotland from April until September.

Possible impact on the families and spouses of our Army personnel?

Family members of armed forces personnel can feel vulnerable at this time. Much of the great work described above mean service personnel are away from home for extended periods of time, which can cause this vulnerability to be particularly acute. This can be exacerbated for family where the service person is deployed which is causing feelings of isolation. In these cases, it is important to provide reassurance to the families and especially the children of serving personnel. Our Welfare Officers are remaining engaged with families virtually. Some families are missing the social interaction and we are looking to re-open the community centres when restrictions allow.

Major Roddy Laing, Army Headquarters Scotland

The Royal Air Force in Scotland

RAF Lossiemouth remains a busy air base providing 24/7 operational activity securing the seas and skies around the UK together with deploying aircraft and personnel across the world to support the fight against insurgents in the Middle East to providing Air Defence for NATO allies in the Balkan

region. RAF Lossiemouth never sleeps and there are always duty personnel ready to respond to threats as they occur. In addition, RAF Lossiemouth personnel have deployed across the UK supporting the fight against Covid-19 providing whole town and community testing as well as assisting with logistics and medical support.

Possible impact on the families and spouses of our RAF personnel?

The pace and scale of operational taskings and readiness has an inevitable impact upon RAF Lossiemouth based families and there is a comprehensive support package made available to all whom have a family member deployed. From Zoom coffee mornings for parents, vouchers for family activity days out, 24/7 SSAFA helpline, access to family and child friendly counselling and befriending services and a raft of resources and activities to help children understand why their parents has deployed and to help pass the time, there is no shortage of support. Any school worried that a RAF deployed family is not receiving the support they need should signpost to the RAF Lossiemouth HIVE in the first instance (01343 817050).

Sarah Riley-Evans, CDO, RAF Lossiemouth