“As a military family, we didn’t know where to start in finding the right school. Which Boarding School took the time to find out about our daughter and were thus able to help us choose a school that we believe will fit her interests and temperament extremely well.” Victoria
Choosing the right boarding school for your child or children is difficult at the best of times. No two boarding schools are alike and we know it can often be a difficult and stressful process sorting through all the websites and brochures to find a school that suits your child’s personality and interests. We also understand the added pressures that many armed forces families experience due to the balance of providing a stable, secure and constant home within a highly mobile environment.
We have worked with many armed forces families over the past two decades and with that in mind, we have put together a checklist that will help you search, apply and secure an independent boarding school place for your child. For a forces’ family in particular, there is so much additional paperwork to consider so we’ve attempted to simplify it here for you.
Step 1 – what sort of schooling do I want for my child?
Think about whether you want your child at a local school near to your home/base, a state boarding school or an independent boarding school in the UK. This is such a personal decision and one only parents can decide. There are certainly advantages for all the options but think carefully about your current and future circumstances and be honest and open with your family about your concerns, hopes, wishes and what can be managed. Much will rest on whether you qualify for the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) which is an award that contributes quite significantly to boarding school fees.
There are a significant number of schools which offer attractive discounts for parents who qualify for the CEA. Contact us to find out.
Step 2 – Do we qualify for the CEA?
You can apply for the CEA from the academic year of your child’s 8th birthday to help with boarding school fees.
Regulations state that if personnel wish to claim this allowance, the family must:
-Remain living together
-Be likely to move in the next four years
-Agree that, having chosen a school, your child will stay there until the end of their education stage. This makes the choice of school that much more important.
If you are unsure, speak with someone at CEAS (see details at the bottom of this page) for more information and an initial assessment.
STEP 3 – To apply for the allowance:
-Contact CEAS for information (see contact number below) and a serial number
-Complete the forms on Joint Personnel Administration (JPA)
-If eligible, you will be issued with a certificate by Pay and Allowances Casework and Complaints Cell (DBS PACCC)
-CEA is claimed via JPA in a published ‘window’ three times a year ready for the next term
-Once you start to claim, you will need to keep the receipts from the school to show that you have paid them
-The CEA rate is calculated every summer and the new rate is published in August. The current rates (from 01 August 2019) are: Juniors: £5,969, Seniors: £7,828,
Step 4 – Speak to us to help you find the right boarding school for your child.
We offer Service personnel a free, fast track consultancy because we understand that your circumstances can change very quickly.
-Help you put together a list of requirements for a boarding school.
-Identify boarding schools that accept the CEA (not all of them do, but most do).
-Advise on schools which offer discounts to Forces’ families.
-Present a short list of schools that meet your exact requirements.
-Speak with registrars, bursars and admissions staff on your behalf.
-Arrange visits, entrance exams and interviews.
-Advise and support you with guardianships (if required) and visas (if necessary).
This advice is completely free, impartial and confidential.
Please fill in our Enquiry Form so we can help you.
Contact lists for Service personnel:
Which Boarding School. Will help you to find the right boarding school for your child. Our service is completely confidential, impartial and free. It’s a simple process and within a matter of days, we will give you a recommended shortlist of schools that meet your requirements. Contact William on 01702 588225 or look at our website: www.which-boarding-school.com
The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is part of the MoD’s Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP). They are a team of educational professionals and dedicated advisers who provide support to families from all three armed services. To contact the CEAS and find out more about applying for the Continuation of Education Allowance (CEA), contact them on 01980 618244 / 94344 8244 or email them at DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.gov.uk
The Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools is a good place to find a list of the boarding schools that provide assistance to families who are serving in the armed forces. They also produce a comprehensive guide on all the schools.