Two local authorities (North Yorkshire and Wiltshire) are making particular efforts to improve the way they deal with the particular needs of service children. For instance; they often arrive at schools at late notice making the planning of provision difficult. They often have a parent absent for long periods (obvious, I know, but the impact of service children is not something that is recorded by Ofsted). There is an impact on children who are required to lose and make friends quickly. There is, unfortunately, the question of bereavement.
However, what is surprising, is that basic information is lacking. Data on the performance of service children is patchy. It is not even clear how many children from military families are being educated in the state sector at any one time. The census run by the Department of Education has a section asking LEAs to list their number - but it is not mandatory and the results are suspect. Wales and Scotland don't bother counting at all.
As one education official said: “They say that one of the most stressful things is moving house, another is moving to a new country or moving to a new job. Service children can go through all of that and the education sector just expects them to cope.”