University of Winchester project to engage schools in support of service children celebrates success

The success of a project to increase support for children from military service families was celebrated with a prize-giving at the University of Winchester on 17 April.

The Festival of Friends invited pupils and staff in Hampshire primary and secondary schools to come up with mini-projects to improve the integration of service children and their families into school communities or increase awareness of life in the services among teachers and classmates. Funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, the Festival of Friends was organised by the University in partnership with Hampshire County Council.

Colette Fletcher, Assistant Vice-Chancellor responsible for Widening Participation, said:

The University is passionate about supporting the armed forces community and we are keen to recognise the skills and attributes that service children develop through their experiences of service family life. We are delighted to be working with Hampshire County Council on the Festival of Friends project, which looks to help schools across the County find new ways of working together to support service children.

The University launched a competition for schools to develop initiatives to better support service children. The competition was run through 10 district coordinators of the  Hampshire Education Coordinator Network for Service Children, set up for the project by the County Council’s Inspection and Advisory Service (HIASS).

The competition saw the creation of several worthwhile initiatives, including a drop-in service, a family picnic and an after school club.

Winners were Test Valley School, Stockbridge; The Wavell School, Farnborough; Crofton Hammond Infant School, Fareham; Ranvilles Junior School, Fareham; Marchwood Junior School, Southampton; Alverstoke Church of England Junior School, Gosport; and Wellington Primary School, Aldershot. Prizes were awarded to the winners at the Festival of Friends celebration event, which welcomed small school groups of service and non-service children, their parents, teachers and careers advisors

The competition was judged by a panel of experts on the education of service children and comprised Katherine Lawrence, Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance and Widening Participation Coordinator at the University of Winchester; Bruce Holboun, Royal British Legion; John Stephens, Service Children In State Schools (SCISS) chair and Headteacher of Goosewell Academy, Plymouth; and Andy Heyes and Andy Yeoman from HIAS.

At the celebration event, the school groups enjoyed a campus tour and activities led by University students from both a service and civilian background. The schools then showcased their projects at stands in The Stripe alongside leaders of community initiatives and local and national service charities such as the Army Family Federation and the Navy Family Federation.

Awareness Raising Award (Secondary) – 1st place £450
Test Valley School: Growing awareness of Service life within Test Valley School

Welcoming Military Families Award (Secondary) – 1st place £450
The Wavell School: The Wavell military drop in

Awareness Raising Award (Primary) – 1st place £450
Crofton Hammond Infant School: Knitted deployment dolls

Awareness Raising Award (Primary) – 2nd place £300
Ranvilles Junior School: The Adventures of Nelson the Sailor Bear book project

Welcoming Military Families Award (Primary) – 1st place £450
Marchwood Junior School: MJS Troopers Diversity Exhibition

Welcoming Military Families Award (Primary) – 2nd place £300
Alverstoke Church of England Junior School: Service Families Summer Picnic

Commended – £200
Wellington Primary School: Wellington Troupers After School Club

Photo: Photograph shows from left to right: Andrew Joy, Councillor at Hampshire County Council; Kath Lawrence, SCiP Alliance Manager and Widening Participation Coordinator at the University of Winchester; Philip Dent, Visiting Research and Development Fellow at the University of Winchester; Lauren Smith-Birch, Widening Participation Coordinator at the University of Winchester; Sarah-Louise Collins, Director of Widening Participation at the University of Winchester; Brigadier Shirley MBE; Matt Bacon, Student Ambassador at the University of Winchester; Andy Heyes, HIAS.


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