Rallying to the Flag

A family of three - baby girl, mum and dad - sit on the doorstep of their new home

The impact of military life on the children of Armed Forces families has been highlighted in the final report of a ground-breaking research project.

Rallying to the Flag: A Consolidated Picture of Armed Forces Children’s Education in Scotland in 2021: Laying Foundations & Promoting Development report provides an overview of the challenges faced by children and young people when a family member is in the Armed Forces.

Research revealed that families of Armed Forces personnel – Service, Veterans and Reservists – face a number of unique challenges, such as frequent family separations due to training, deployments, relocations and switching educational systems.

A dad and daughter walk home through their housing estate

The research was a collaboration between the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) and the Centre of Military Research, Education and Public Engagement (ENU) with Edinburgh Napier University.

Carolyn MacLeod MBE, ADES National Education Officer (NEO) for children and young people of Armed Forces families in Scotland, was one of the report authors.

Carolyn, who also runs Forces Children’s Education, said: “Across Scotland’s 32 local authorities there are more than 12,500 children and young people with an Armed Forces background. These children can face significant challenges, so it is imperative that we are aware of the impact on their mental health and wellbeing as well as their education.

“Our final report recommends a range of measures to help families overcome these obstacles, that includes providing consistent access to mental health services, improving communication between schools and Armed Forces families, and offering tailored support to children during periods of transition.”

The report also highlights the importance of community-based support, such as youth clubs and sports teams, to provide children and young people with a sense of belonging and a social connection.

A spokesperson for ENU said: “In 2021, the Centre for Military Research, Education and Public Engagement collaborated with ADES to research challenges that the children of Armed Forces personnel can face as a result of their parents’ work.

Rallying to the Flag goes a long way in establishing a better knowledge base from which educationalists and policy makers can consider how to better support this group of children and young people in future.”

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