At Exton & Greetham CE Primary School, around 20% of our pupils have a parent serving, or who has served, in one of the Armed Forces.
Children who have a parent serving in one of the Armed Forces can face additional challenges that other children may not experience. They may have already had frequent home and school moves, each time being the new child in the class again. This means that they have to make new friends and develop relationships with the teachers at school. Depending on the individual child's resilience and their confidence, it can have a significant impact upon their emotional wellbeing and thus impact on their progress and attainment.
Some children may have a parent who is away from home for long periods of time serving with the Armed Forces. Not only may the children experience understandable feelings of loss in relation to the absent parent, there may be additional emotional stress caused by fear and anxiety if the absent parent is in a dangerous environment. In these situations, we work with families to ensure that we support each individual in the way that suits them best, whether this is providing time to talk, support through our ELSA (emotional literacy support assistant) or another bespoke support package for the child.
We also support children whose parents are leaving the Armed Forces after many years of service. This is often a time of transition for the whole family, and we work to support the children as the whole family adjusts to a new way of life.
Transition into Exton & Greetham CE Primary School
We work alongside parents as children join the school to ensure that they children quickly feel part of the school community. Our website is kept as up-to-date as possible, enabling parents of children due to join the school to talk to the children about the class they are to join, and to look at photographs of activities. Parents are provided with a 'New Parents Handbook' which provides lots of information about how the school runs.
Before the children arrive at the school we endeavour to ensure that pegs, lockers and drawers are labelled. The children's pictures are added to our entrance display which shows all of the children who are in the school community. On their first day, children are given a 'buddy', who shows them around and makes sure they know where everything is. During the first few days we focus on ensuring that the children are settled socially and emotionally - a happy child is one who is ready to learn, and so this is our initial focus. Academic information is shared from the previous school to ensure that any educational support needed is quickly in place. Teachers then ensure that they work closely with the new child to get to know their strengths and areas for development.
Transition out of Exton & Greetham CE Primary School
We truly believe that our school is a family, and we are always sorry to say goodbye to children. As children prepare to move on, we spend time making sure that the children are ready for going to their new school, focussing once more on their social and emotional wellbeing. We liaise with the children's new school, passing on not only academic 'data', but also other information that the children and families want us to share. This might include any worries the child may have. We make sure the children know that even when they have moved on, they are not forgotten, and they remain part of our school family and part of our entrance display board. We always love to hear how people are getting on at their new school!
If you have any questions about our support for children whose parents are in the Armed Forces, do contact the school office.