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Exclusive: Service children in Wales at a ‘disadvantage’

In England, children of service personnel receive £300 in additional support. Credit: PA

Exclusive: Service children in Wales at a ‘disadvantage’

By Megan Boot

The Royal British Legion, has told ITV News, that service children here are at a disadvantage because they do not get the same support as in England.

In England, children of service personnel receive the Service Pupil Premium of £300 to help with additional support, but that is not available here:

We believe that service children, no matter where they are should all be receiving the same levels of support – it should not be a postcode lottery depending on where you live.

– Peter Evans, Royal British Legion in Wales

The Welsh Government say it's important every child has the same opportunity.

Our national mission is to make sure every child has the opportunity to succeed no matter what their background.

We have written to the Secretary of State for Defence to ensure that service children and young people can continue to receive the help and support in school that they need.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson
Stacey, Jack, Marek and Mollie Mleczeks

At the moment, schools in Wales can access the Ministry of Defence Education Support Fund. Stacey Mleczek’s husband is in the navy, and their family have benefitted from this support:

For the children it's definitely needed, because I don't know how I'm supposed to cope with a child that's suffering from being separated from their Dad. I have no idea. One minute they're fine, then they're crying for their Dad – it’s just really hard to know how to cope with a child.

– Stacey Mleczek
Stacey Mleczek’s husband is in the navy, and their family have benefitted from this support.

The teachers at her children’s school in Aberystwyth used the fund to provide a new after-school club to provide care for service children and their fellow pupils, as well as get seven-year old Marek an iPad, so that he could show his Dad his homework, whilst he’s away.

But, according to the Royal British Legion, that fund, which has provided more than £1.7million to schools and projects in Wales, could be set to stop next year. The Ministry of Defence has told ITV News that discussions on the funding's future are 'ongoing' and 'no final decisions have been taken'.