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● Royal Marine Col Jim Hutton and Queen’s College’s Ms Carter chat after the recent seminar Boarding Schools in the Front Line

OVER the past nine years Queen’s College, in common with many other UK boarding schools, has needed to adapt to the fact of having Forces pupils with a parent on active service in Iraq or Afghanistan. At the very least it means

long separations, at the worst it can mean dealing with family

Queen’s College adapts to life in the front line


to have its skills and drills in place for a scenario of injured Dad, or even dead Dad. “It’s awful but these things

“As a parent I need the school

happen,” Col Jim Hutton, Royal Marines, told the audience at a recent seminar, Boarding Schools in the Front Line, organised by Queen’s. Fortunately such drastic events are few and far between in any school but the daily realities of life for a child with a parent in the front line can be tough. “We’ve currently got four dads on operational deployment in Afghanistan and I know that even when nothing goes wrong, a phone call from me or a houseparent to a mum on her own is appreciated,” added headmaster Chris Alcock. Sometimes the child – and the school – can get used to regular text or email messages from a

Ceaseless activity at CEAS

parent, then a sudden silence. “You get to a FOB [forward

operating base] and there’s almost nothing there, and what is there doesn’t work.

there’s nothing to think about but the job and you have to know that back home caring, competent people are supporting your family,” said Col Hutton. Senior Queen’s houseparent Andrew Free added his own day- to-day perspective: “Just last week I had an email from a dad in Afghanistan asking me for two things; get the boy to ring his mum and help him get to the rugby club for training. “I try always to behave as a parent would in the same circumstances.

“I’ll go with them to hospital, for instance, after a sports injury because that’s what I’d want for my own son.”

“In an operational theatre

CEAS provides a high-quality service in response to any questions or concerns Service families may have about the education of their children. CEAS is made up of a small team of nine dedicated civil servants and five educational professionals. They are mostly based in Upavon in Wiltshire, with Parent Support Officers working from home in the UK and a Parent Partnership Officer based in Rheindahlen. The Upavon office is open

from 08.30 to 17.00 Monday to Friday (although the helpdesk closes at 15.30 to allow the chance to deal with queries on the day of receipt). CEAS will respond to enquiries from Service families, and will also provide information to other organisations and support services that may be working with a Service family.

They have specific expertise in UK school admissions, boarding school advice, overseas education and special educational needs. In the past year CEAS have taken over 26,500 calls on the helpline and received over 6,000 e-mails requesting information or help. CEAS has sent out over 45,000 pieces of correspondence including 2,770 CEA Eligibility Certificate renewals and 2,567 Boarding School Certificates.

They have written to support 545 families in retaining their quarter for educational reasons and have supported 228 families with School Admission Appeals.

As you can see, the people of CEAS are all very busy, so please bear with them if it takes you a while to get through on the help line.

Children‛s Education Advisory Service


CEAS is here to help you!

Contact us on: 01980 61 8244 or

If your call is put through to the answer machine during the working day, it is because both helplines are busy.

Please leave a clear message including your phone number and CEAS will get back to you as soon as they can. Contact CEAS for any other advice relating to your children’s education: ■

94344 8244) ■

uk/ceas ■

(Mil: 94344 8245). ■ The helpline is staffed 08.30 to 15.30 Monday to Friday. An answer-phone is available at all other times and when the lines are engaged.

tel: 01980 618244 (Mil: fax: 01980 618245 website: www.mod. email: enquiries@

Open Morning

Saturday 16th October 2010 9.30 - 11.00 and 10.30 - 12.00

Providing outstanding education for girls aged 3 -18 Ranked in the top 200 of all UK schools for GCSE results Rated top 20 girls’ boarding school (

‘Outstanding’ pastoral care, teaching and boarding facilities (Source: ISI 2008 and Ofsted 2009)

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