Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What is it like to have a parent in the forces?

The School Reporters conduct their interviews
Interviews take place at Avon Valley College

By Clarissa and Jess
Avon Valley College

Avon Valley College's news reporters decided to investigate what it was like to be a student at the college when you have a parent away in the armed forces.

We felt that this was an important issue for us to cover because 40% of the students at the college are from a forces background.

The college is set on the edge of Salisbury Plain and is surrounded by many army camps and many of the children of forces families come to our school.

We wanted to know how pupils coped when a close relative went away and how they kept in touch with them. It was equally important to find out how friends, teachers and the college's pastoral team supported those students.

With these questions in mind we interviewed Mrs Jan Billinge (Director of Student Welfare), Mrs Mandy Cross (Year 7 Pastoral Assistant), Mrs Sharon MacDonald-Armitage (Year 11 Tutor) and two Year 11 students Jack and Tom, whose parents had been away in areas of conflict.

We asked the teachers and pastoral assistant how strong the link between the college and the Ministry of Defence was and how the school helped the children.

We also asked the students themselves how they kept in touch when a parent was away.

The conclusions we came to were that the school offers a variety of help to students but often they do not ask for it.


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