Children with parents serving at RAF Marham will be receiving extra support to boost their learning thanks to £35,000 in funding.
Norfolk County Council, Cherry Tree Academy Trust and RAF Marham bid for the cash to help support children of service families, who regularly change schools.
Last year, the Ministry of Defence gave schools with service children the opportunity to apply for a share of the Service Children’s Education Support Fund.
The £35,500 grant (the full amount requested) will be used to provide a package of support to families and children, to improve attainment and behaviour, and to mitigate the effects of an extensive new mobility programme at RAF Marham.
The funding will go towards the implementation of a Team Development Mentor and Intervention Manager based at the Cherry Tree Academy.
Ninety-five per cent of children at the academies are from service families and the nature of their parents’ work means that they move regularly and are often separated from one of their parents, which can impact on their learning.
Michaela Webb, executive principal at Cherry Tree Academy Trust, said: “Children in military families move schools frequently. This then takes them time to adapt to what is being taught and to build new relationships with other children and staff, so vital to school life.
“The impact of frequent changes to class sizes due to the high turnover of pupils, often at very short notice, can also affect attainment which we then have to work doubly hard to mitigate.
“The funding for the Team Implementation Mentor will go a long way to helping us achieve this aim.”
James Joyce, chairman of the children’s services committee at County Hall, said: “Military parents make huge sacrifices for their country, which can impact on the stability of their family. So it is only right that we collectively look at ways to support their children in any way possible to minimise the impact of their work.
“That is why we were keen to work with and support the Cherry Tree Trust to make this bid to the MOD. We all owe it to these children to ensure that they have a good education while they are in the county and these extra resources will help to support their learning and development.”
This is the second time an application has been successful for additional funding for service children whose parents serve at RAF Marham.
Flight Lt Gary Walker, officer in charge of community support, said: “The funding secured through the MOD Education Support Fund is a significant contribution towards the educational needs of the children of RAF Marham and the surrounding area.
“Without this much needed and appreciated support, the Academy would be less able to provide for the unique needs to service children, who experience far greater disruption to both their family and educational lives, through parental absences and frequent home moves.
“The grant will enable the Academy to help mitigate the affect this can have on the level of attainment to the benefit of both the children and their families and therefore ultimately the Service for which we are all extremely grateful.”
Norfolk County Council has pledged its commitment to the armed forces in the county by developing the Norfolk Armed Forces Community Covenant, a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community and its Armed Forces community.
All district, borough and city councils in Norfolk, along with representatives from the Armed Forces, charities and other public bodies have signed the covenant.
Tony Tomkinson, Norfolk’s Armed Forces Commissioner, said: “As Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner, I am delighted the MOD has agreed to fund a package of support to the children and families of RAF Marham attending the Cherry Tree Academy.
“I have no doubt that the funding from the MOD will help with academic achievements and behavioural achievements for the children. These children have special requirements due to their parents’ occupations and the forum is pleased to see this recognised by the MOD.”
Toby Coke, County Councillor for Marham added: “All children deserve the best education and support as possible and that includes the children of families linked to RAF Marham.
“Schools in Marham face unique challenges and this funding will once again help them to overcome these challenges and provide extra resources to continue the fantastic work they do for pupils and their parents.”