Armed Forces Education Trust exists to help ease the difficulties that sometimes happen with the education of children of members of the Armed Forces as a result of their parents’ service. The Trust believes the education of children and young people is a vital part of their lives and our society, and that no child should miss out.
An individual grant is a grant awarded to an individual child who needs funds to support his or her education.
In the last five years we have given individual grants of over £1.1 million to support service children and young people
We have given continuity to service children to enable them to complete their GCSEs or A-Levels at their current school when their parent(s) left the Armed Services and Continued Education Allowance stopped
We have paid for specialist support for children with special educational needs where frequent moves has hampered the provision of this support
Katherine’s parents met and married while serving in the Royal Navy. Katherine, their daughter, is nine years’ old and was settled in her school in England when her father unfortunately died in an accident, not long after he left the service.
For both Katherine, who is a very sensitive and shy young girl, and her Mum, who remains on active service in the Royal Navy, there was a need was to provide continuity for Katherine, while balancing home life and her career. As a single parent however, Katherine’s Mum was unable to afford the school that could provide the environment that Katherine needed. She applied for a grant from the Armed Forces Education Trust for a contribution towards school fees and was successful.
Consistency and being able to remain with her friends has been very important for Katherine’s development and she is flourishing. The school is supportive and understands that her Mum is away on active service some of the time, when Katherine stays with family friends. Everyone is working to help her overcome the trauma of losing her father. The Armed Forces Education Trust grant is an important element in that.
“Having the stability at school at an important and difficult time has had a big impact on Katherine. We are grateful for their support and found the process of applying for a grant straightforward and the team were very helpful. Katherine is certainly reaping the benefits.”
– Katherine’s Guardian
Cameron’s father is a Staff Sergeant serving in the Army and until last year the family was living in Germany. Returning to England Cameron’s parents set about finding a good sixth form college for him where his special talents as a footballer and athlete would be recognised and encouraged.
Sparsholt College in Hampshire was believed the be the most appropriate school for Cameron and he was planning on living at home until his father’s posting was changed suddenly. Unfortunately as he had not been in boarding school in the previous two years, an application for a Continuing Education Allowance was not approved. A family friend told Cameron’s Mum about the Armed Forces Education Trust and after a rushed application, they were informed they’d been successful and that a grant had been awarded for part of the school fees.
“Cameron needed to be at a school where his sporting skills would be developed further and where he would have lots of opportunity to reach his full potential. Sparsholt is giving him that and we are immensely pleased with the effort he is putting into his sport and education. Instead of an unsettling move back to the UK, Cameron loves his new school and we couldn’t be happier. When we thought we’d been let down, the Armed Forces Education Trust helped us out and Cameron is definitely reaping the benefit.”
– Laurie, Cameron’s mum
“I am a single parent on active service in the Army. With numerous deployments it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage with my daughter at day school. We decided that it would be best for my daughter to move to the Duke of York’s Military School. When we were turned down for a continuing education allowance for Luisa I wasn’t sure where to turn, and then I heard about the Armed Forces Education Trust and my application for help with school fees was approved.
It’s made a big difference to Luisa being able to be at a school where she can be assured continuity in her studies. For me it’s been a saviour. The grant has taken away a huge burden and has freed me to concentrate on my work without worrying about additional childcare or school fees. There was time when I was sure no one was going to be able to help us, but the Trust stepped in and we are very grateful. Luisa is happy and doing well at school, no parent can ask for more.”
– Luisa’s mum
Frequent moves and not long enough in each school meant that Andrew arrived in his current school with late diagnosed dyslexia and no EHCP yet in place. With a grant from the Trust, the school were able to employ a 1:1 Teacher Assistant to work with Andrew for 15 hours per week until the EHCP was approved. During this time the TA was able to support Andrew with his anxiety and difficulties he experienced with making new friendships. The support meant that Andrew was able to read daily on a 1:1 basis, making excellent progress in a short period of time. It also meant that Andrew was in a position where he felt emotionally able, and, with increased self-esteem, confident to tackle the Year 6 SATs.
“The Trust’s grant meant that our son could get the support he needed while waiting for the EHCP funding. This has given him so much more confidence and he is now excited about his move to secondary school” – Andrew’s father
When Emily’s father was posted overseas with the RAF, she accompanied them so that the family could stay together. However, problems with the schooling led her parents to accept Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) funding from the MOD and send her to boarding school in England. Then with some time still to run until the next posting, the boarding house at the school was closed down. Emily was by now settled in her school and at a key stage in her education. Fortunately her parents were able to get an early posting back to the UK, not far from the school so that Emily could stay as a day pupil but without CEA support the parents were unable to afford the full fees.
“A grant from the Trust has helped us avoid yet another school move by enabling Emily to stay at her school while we have moved home and I can find a job to pay the school fees”. – Emily’s mother
Frequently asked questions
Q1. When can I apply for a grant?
Most grant applications, unless urgent, are reviewed at our quarterly grants meetings. The key dates are as follows:
- Closing date for applications each term: 15 January / 1 April / 15 May / 1 October
- Allocate funding and notify applicants by: End February / Mid May / End June/ End October
In exceptional circumstances, we can make a grant in between grant meetings.
Click here to confirm that you are eligible to apply for an individual grant prior to submitting an application form.
Q2. If I am eligible will I automatically be entitled to receive a grant?
No. We receive a large number of applications from eligible parents and sadly are not able to help them all. The Trustees review all applications at the termly grants meetings to decide on grant allocations.
In addition to means-testing applicants, we take into account a range of criteria including for example: Are you able to describe the impact on the child of their parents’ service? Are either parent still serving? How long did the qualifying person serve in the Forces and how long ago did they leave? Has any injury while serving impacted their ability to work?
Please do note that the final decision on who receives grants is at the absolute discretion of the Trustees.
Q3. Does the Trust offer grants for university?
There must be a link between Service disadvantage and the need for support for university costs for us to consider a grant for this purpose. We would only consider an application for fees for tertiary education where a loan is not available. In such cases, we may consider a grant for years 2 and 3. This allows us to ensure that you are committed to your studies by passing successfully through your first year at university.
In some circumstances, the Trust may support accommodation-related charges where a maintenance grant is not available or insufficient, but this will be on a means-tested basis and, again, must be related to disadvantage due to the parent’s military service.
Q4. How are applicants means tested?
The amount of the grant award is primarily influenced by the extent of need. Each case is assessed on its own merits and awards are made accordingly, subject to the Trust’s ability to fund these within the context of what is viable within its overall budget. It is recognised that judgements about what sacrifices a family should make to pay school fees will be personal. However, the Trust has a duty to ensure that all grants are well focused and so, as well as current earnings, other factors which will be considered in determining the necessary level of grant will include:
- The ability to improve the financial position or earning power of the family. For example, where there are two partners, both would be expected to be employed unless one is prevented from doing so through incapacity, the need to care for children under school age or other dependents, or the requirements of their partner’s work.
- Opportunities to release any capital. Significant capital savings and investments would be expected to be used for the payment of school fees, as would equity values in houses.
- Although there are no set limits for family income Trustees would not usually award a bursary if the family income is over £50,000 per year, or there is a large value of savings/ investments or capital in family property. (Family income includes maintenance payments, partner’s income if relevant, benefits, pensions, rental income from additional properties etc).
- In cases of separation, the contribution made by the absent parent.
- Contribution to household costs by other, wider, family members, any adults unrelated to the child or by outside sources.
- Where fees are being paid to other schools (or universities) the grant will take into account all these outgoings.
- Acknowledging that others might have a different view, the Trustees consider that the following would not be consistent with the receipt of a grant:
- Frequent or expensive holidays.
- New or luxury cars.
- Investment in significant home improvements.
- A second property/land holdings.
If the grant is for a child over the age of 18 we would also ask for details of their income.
Q5. Will a grant be available for longer than one year?
If the parents’ or guardians’ financial circumstances do not change, we will always aim to make our grants available to allow a child to complete the full period at school (or college) up to the next obvious break ie to end of year six or GSCEs. However, please note that the means testing is an annual requirement, so if parents or guardians are able to contribute to fees at a later date, they will be expected to do so.
Q6. Can I get a grant to top up our Continued Education Allowance?
No. Continued Education Allowance (for boarding school) is paid up to a maximum value with parents being expected to pay a minimum of 10% of the fees plus any excess. However, the Trustees may consider an application for other specific education related costs not covered by CEA.
Q7. Can I get a grant when I leave the services or marital breakup leads to CEA ceasing?
Serving parents are generally able to anticipate the effect of their leaving the service on the education of their children and thus make arrangements for the continuation of their education. The Trust does appreciate however that at times this is not possible, particularly when unforeseen circumstances cause an end to a service career, and also when children are in an important / exam year when their parent leaves. In these situations, the Trustees may consider an application for short term support up to the original CEA element.
If you’re not sure about CEA rules you should refer to JSP 752. PACCC casework will be required for anything not adhering to policy.
If you are leaving at end of service JSP 752 states: the final payment will be in respect of the academic term which includes the claimants last day of service ( 14.0120)
If you are being medically discharged or in the case of death of the service parent, JSP 752 states CEA is paid until the end of a stage of education or up to 2 full terms whichever is the longer – can include public examinations(14.0121)
In the case of marital breakup, eligibility to claim CEA and change of PSTAT are all set out in JSP 752 chapter 14. Personnel can claim CEA for step-children if they determine that they are the prime mover and that the children have residency with them. If they split up then if the child is no longer resident with them they cannot continue to claim. There may be dispensation to continue if the child is in GCSE or A-level years subject to casework to the PACCC.
Q8. Can I apply for a grant if CEA is refused?
Yes. Sometimes Parents apply for CEA and for whatever reason it is refused. If this is the case, we would expect you to have made an appeal to CEAS/DCYP before applying for a grant and would ask to see the details of the CEA refusal.
Q9. Can I apply if I am no longer serving?
As long as you have served in one of HM Armed Forces as either a regular or reservist, you can apply. But you will need to demonstrate that the education of the child on whose behalf you are applying has been affected in some way by your service and that education facilities where you now live cannot meet their needs as a result. If the child was born or reached school age after you left the Services, a grant is likely to be made only in the most exceptional circumstances.
Q10. Does the Trust meet extra costs to support the education of children with special needs or learning difficulties?
While of course sympathising with such difficulties, the Trust will only consider grants in such cases where it is clear that the child’s needs cannot be met from existing resources, or that there are particular reasons why health or education provision cannot do so, due to the parent’s situation as a Service person.
Q11. I see that the Trust has a relationship with Cognita. Is this significant in deciding who will receive School grants?
Q12. Can I apply for expenses?
In exceptional circumstances, we will consider additional requests for expenses (up to an agreed limit). However, we are not able to make payments directly to the individual / family in receipt of a grant.
Q13. How will the fees be paid?
We pay fees direct to the school or university/college or other education provider concerned by BACS. We are not able to make payments directly to the individual / family in receipt of a grant.
Applying for a individual grant
The first step is to answer a few short questions about your child’s situation. If your child meets the criteria you will be asked to email us with your contact details so that we can get in touch with you to find out more information and agree the best way forward which may be to invite you to complete an online application. We will confirm we have received your application and it will then be considered by the Trust at one of our termly grants meetings. We will contact you if we need any more information and will keep you up to date with progress.