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Interactive Thriving Lives Toolkit set to help schools support children and young people in Armed Forces families

A new interactive platform offering schools an online framework to support children from Armed Forces families to thrive has been launched today (Monday 25 April 2022).

The online Thriving Lives Toolkit has been developed by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance), which is hosted by the University of Winchester, in partnership with the Office for Students Uni Connect Programme and The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in schools, the free Thriving Lives Toolkit – originally launched in 2020 – provides schools with a framework of seven principles through which to reflect on their practice in supporting Service children and a three-tier set of CPD resources.

Resources have been developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK and consist of an introductory animation; a detailed resource introducing the evidence base, what schools can do to support their Service children and who can help; and school case studies.

Schools can reflect on their practice, update their progress in supporting their Service children, and gain insight into evidence-based guidance for helping children of armed forces personnel and veterans to improve their educational progression.

A Service child is defined by the SCiP Alliance as ‘a person whose parent or carer 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’. 

Service children can experience disrupted schooling and challenges with access to extra-curricular activities and with the curriculum when transitioning between schools. Service families may move frequently, with little agency and at short notice and many experience frequent separation, anxiety during deployment and the stress of transition out of the military, all which may have complex impacts on children and young people

University of Winchester research found that: ‘it is in the realm of up to four out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family’ (McCullouch and Hall, 2016). 

“Children can and do benefit from life in a military family, but they are under-represented in higher education, may not always achieve as highly as their peers and can experience hidden mental health and well-being challenges,” said Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance.

“The University, through its access and outreach activities and its leadership of the SCiP Alliance’s national work, is seeking to change that and to ensure that Service children’s voices are at the heart of our work.”

The Thriving Lives Toolkit online interactive platform is available at:

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