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Wednesday, 17 November, 1999, 16:35 GMT
Armed forces children need school help
Pupils who are regularly moved between schools can struggle to adjust

Children from families in the services can suffer from a disrupted school life - and schools say they need extra funds to help them.

An organisation is to be founded to address the particular problems faced by services children and to represent the schools which teach them.

The National Association of State Schools for Service Children is to stage its inaugural meeting in London on Thursday.

In particular, the organisation will seek a more coherent national response to the problems caused by pupils moving between schools - and the funding necessary to provide extra support.

There are concerns that when pupils regularly move school the momentum of learning is disrupted and the process of readjustment can slow their development.

While some local authorities provide extra funds, allowing for additional support staff, this varies across the country. Services children also do not attract the grants available for schools who teach pupils from traveller families.

The meeting is to be chaired by Val Clark, a headteacher of St Michael's School in Colchester, Essex, which has 95% of its pupils from service families.

Ms Clark says schools with services children should have access to funds for extra staff - in the same way that criteria such as free school meals are used as indicators for whether schools need extra support.

The association will also seek a standardised way of measuring the level of 'turbulence' caused by the flow of incoming and outgoing services pupils - so that the impact of such changes can be quantified and compared.

There will also be calls for target-setting and benchmarking which acknowledge the particular problems facing services children and which will allow schools to be compared with others with similar difficulties.


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