Definition of a Service child

The SSCE Cymru definition of a Service child is:

  • A person whose parent, primary carer, or sibling serves in the regular armed forces, or as a reservist, or has done at any point during the first 25 years of that person’s life.

The definition of a Service child varies between different organisations but are always consistently focused on supporting children of Service personnel.

Experiences of Service children

May include:

  • Emotional impact of separation during deployment/training
  • Frequent school and home moves
  • Missing curriculum content/duplicating curriculum content
  • Making friends
  • Adapting to different curriculums
  • Living in different countries
  • Learning Welsh for the first time
  • Missing friends and family
  • Impact on family lifestyle when parent/s transition out of the Armed Forces.


See the SSCE Cymru video on Service children experiences for an overview


Our commitment and support

School ethos and ’Rights of the Child’

The UNCRC recognises that children are in a different situation than adults and will often have varied needs because childhood involves stages of physical and emotional development. Our school recognises that the child of a Service family may at some point in their lives need support in learning and mental health and wellbeing due to their unique circumstances. This could be due to mobility, deployment, education and/or social needs.

At Cefn Saeson we provide support and advice to ensure that Service children are provided with every opportunity to achieve the best possible outcomes and fulfil their potential. We aim for Service children to receive their full entitlement to statutory services and support and suffer no disadvantage due to their parent’s service commitments; this is the underpinning principle of the Armed Forces Covenant. We aim to provide support that is proactive and preventative as well as being responsive to emerging needs.


Identifying Service children

Awareness of the number of Service children at Cefn Saeson enables us to understand their needs and access support/funding if required. On admission to the school we ask the following question as part of our enrolment process, then log the details on the internal school data systems. Annually, we share the total number of Service children enrolled at our school with SSCE Cymru.

“Is the child a member of a Service family? (A child whose parent(s)/Sibling is/are currently serving or have previously served in the Royal Navy/Royal Marines, British Army, Royal Air Force or as a Reservist.)”

Listening to our Service children

It is important that we listen to Service children themselves to learn about their experiences and find out what support they need and what opportunities that would like. At Cefn Saeson we do this through offering all learners an opportunity to be involved in pupil voice programmes. We also run pupil voice groups specifically for Service children, using the SSCE Cymru Tool 11. GUIDANCE: Service children pupil voice.

Engaging with our Armed Forces community

Cefn Saeson recognise the commitments our Armed Forces families and wider community make and we promote those achievements in the school in a positive and respectful manor. Some examples of how we engage with the Armed Forces community and celebrate the achievements of the Armed Forces include:

  • We attend our local authority Armed Forces Forum to ensure we have relevant and up-to-date information and contacts
  • We commemorate relevant events such as Remembrance Day
  • We ensure all our pupils are aware of the experiences and commitments of the Armed Forces community
  • We collaborate with other schools that have Service children to share information, advice and support.

Term-time absence policy for Service children

Cefn Saeson recognises that Service families may not be able to take holidays together at other times during the school year. The headteacher, Mr Cole, does have a discretionary power to authorise leave for a family holiday during term-time where parents seek permission. When submitting a request for term-time absence, a Service family should provide a letter from their unit with confirmation of their need to be absent.

When making a decision about term-time absence, the headteacher will consider:

  • The time of year of the proposed absence
  • The length and purpose of the absence
  • The impact on continuity of learning
  • The circumstances of the family and wishes of parents
  • The overall attendance pattern of the child.

Welsh language policy for Service children

Although the study of Welsh or Welsh Second Language is compulsory to the end of Key Stage 4, there is no requirement on schools to enter a learner for a particular qualification. Cefn Saeson considers the best interests of Service children and will always ensure that learners have access to the whole curriculum.

The decision to dis-apply a pupil from part of the National Curriculum, including Welsh as a second language, will be considered by the head teacher in very rare circumstances, reviewing the need to dis-apply on an individual basis and taking all factors into consideration.

Support offered to Service children and their families

  • We ensure all our staff have an understanding of the experiences of Service children and how this may impact their education
  • We engage with SSCE Cymru and utilise the many resources that are available


Funding success

Our school has been successful in securing the following funding:


Supporting Service Children in Education – Welsh Fund 2023/24.

The success of this funding will enable us to:

  • Provide 1:1 and small group support to children with mental health and wellbeing needs.
  • Ensure dedicated staff are up to date with emotional support training
  • Provide opportunities for children to attend lunchtime clubs, to socialise, talk and learn new skills eg cookery and gardening
  • Developed an outdoor area with space for sitting, reflection and thinking time, planned and designed by the children.
  • To take service children on group outdoor activities such as hill walking, beach visits and organized outdoor pursuits.


School contact

For any queries regarding Service children or the support offered by Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, please contact:

Name: Mrs Kelly Dunn

Job title: Head of Year 11 / Pastoral Department

Phone number: 01639 791300



Name: Mr Phil Morris

Job title: Pastoral Support Officer

Phone number: 01639 791300



The SSCE Cymru mission is to provide the best possible educational support to Service children in Wales.

Resources available on the SSCE Cymru website include: