This Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) COVID-19 page provides important advice and updates for service parents.
British Defence Staff United States (BDSUS) / DCYP Educational information awareness update as at July 2021
The COVID-19 situation continues to improve in the US, including significant progress on vaccinations. As a result, US public schools are set to return to full-time in person learning from the beginning of the 2021/2022 academic year. As such children accompanying MOD personnel posted to the US will in nearly all cases be expected to enter US state education, in accordance with MOD policy JSP342. The BDSUS Alternative Education and Private Tutoring Schemes have closed to new entrants.
It is therefore vital parents accepting roles in the US fully understand the implications for their child’s education and focus their research on the local school options provided through the public schools’ system. The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) continues to be available to support parents’ research with information, advice and guidance, alongside support provided through the Global Education Team within Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding.
Further advice for both service personnel and UKBC can be sought from CEAS at DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.gov.uk (CEAS helpline: 01980 618244 or 94344 8244) Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) for summer term 2020.
DCYP update regarding the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS)
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) team are now predominantly working from home. Staffing capacity will naturally fluctuate for the foreseeable future, which will inevitably affect response rates, so your patience is greatly appreciated.
There is no one to staff the phones so you are asked to email the CEAS group mailbox: DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.gov.uk.
More information can be found on the CEAS pages.
Advice for recipients of Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)
The following guidance is in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). These arrangements are effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.
Under the current circumstances it has become necessary to consider introducing some flexibility into the current CEA regulations to reassure recipients that any deviation from CEA eligibility criteria caused directly by COVID-19 will not adversely affect their CEA eligibility.
Similarly, if a CEA recipient becomes liable for any additional school fees as a result of the outbreak, they will be able to make a case for reimbursement to the Pay & Allowances, Casework and Complaints Cell (PACCC). Any additional school fees for boarding will be considered separately from routine CEA claims.
1). The circumstances that may require a deviation from current rules include (but are not be limited to) the following:
1). a. The child is prevented from travelling to join their parents by governmental travel directive or the imposition of an isolation period; they are unable to join a designated guardian for valid reasons (for example. the guardian is self-isolating) and continue to be accommodated at their school. In this case, where the child remains at the school out with the normal academic term times, the CEA claimant will be entitled to reclaim any additional fees providing they are proportional to the routine boarding element of the school fees and only once authorised by the Chain of Command.
1). b. A spouse or civil partner is prevented from re-joining the service parent at their duty station by governmental travel directive or the imposition of an isolation period. The guidance on Accompanied Status (JSP752, Chapter 2, Section 1, Annex A) dictates that when a service person’s spouse/civil partner is absent from the Residence at Work Address for a period of 90 day or more during a 12-month period, their ongoing eligibility for CEA will be reviewed. In conducting the assessment, exceptional circumstances relating to COVID-19 are to be taken into account.
1). c. Where it is unsafe for a child to remain in the boarding environment at their school but they are able to convert to day-pupil status for the period covered by these arrangements. In this case, if the child is able to live with their parents or a designated guardian and travel to the school daily, the claimant may convert to CEA(Day) from the beginning of the next academic term. This can apply even if their child has not completed 3 consecutives academic terms at the same school. Should the school be required to close altogether then the child should stay with their parents or designated guardian. In these circumstances CEA eligibility will not be adversely affected. If the school/boarding facility should re-open mid-term after CEA(Day) is in issue, any additional boarding fees may also be reimbursed.
1). d. The child travels to an overseas area but is prevented from returning to their school because of a government travel directive, school closure or the imposition of an isolation period. Where the child is required to remain at the overseas duty station, the parent will continue to receive the additional Local Overseas Allowance until the child is able to return to their school and CEA eligibility will be unaffected.
1). e. Where a claimant is about to complete their service and a delay in examinations causes an extension to the Academic year. In these circumstances any additional school fees should be the subject of PACCC casework.
1). f. Where the impact of COVID-19 on critical stages of education (GCSEs, A-Levels, B-TECs and Scottish Nationals and Highers or equivalents) and schools recommend an extra year of CEA. In these circumstances, the reimbursement of any additional school fees should be the subject of PACCC casework with advice from CEAS.
1). g. Where a school closes following governmental direction; the length of closure is yet to be determined and the school fees are required to be paid before the start of the next academic term. In these circumstances CEA claimants should submit their claims and pay the school fees. Should claimants receive a refund from the school at later date the CEA element should be declared to PACCC.
Any other circumstances that arise should be considered on a case by case basis, through casework submitted to the PACCC taking into account the exceptional circumstances brought about by COVID-19. Any reimbursements from the school to the claimant that arise must declared.
2). It will be necessary for parents to keep up to date with the situation as it develops in the UK, as well as in host nation/overseas assignment areas for those assigned overseas and make decisions based on the facts and guidance published by the UK Government via www.gov.uk as well as any host nation guidance and arrangements.
3). Any additional cost to CEA as a result of COVID-19 are to be captured so the information is available if required at a later date.
MOD Assessment of Supportability Overseas (MASO) Overseas Educational Clearances and COVID-19
Here at DCYP, we are fully aware of the uncertainty and disruption families are facing during these unprecedented times. Schools in the UK have closed and only operating to support vulnerable and critical workers’ children. All MOD schools overseas have closed with the majority of staff delivering remote learning and many international schools overseas have also followed suit. Re-opening dates of MOD schools are being reviewed in line with host nation and local command direction. CEAS are continuing to work remotely with reduced staff numbers.
We are continuing to support our military and civilian families as best we can, however please be aware that processing educational clearances for overseas postings will be taking longer than usual. The flow of information gathering via the Educational Overseas Supportability (EOS) Form, may prove more difficult with the UK school closures. However, where possible CEAS will continue to process educational clearances for postings to non-MOD School areas and MOD schools will continue for children registering to their schools, as best they can.
Any children with additional needs, who may require further decisions on supportability to be made, will also take longer than the usual.
We are conscious that as serving personnel and as parents, there is a great deal of strain and pressure that you are having to deal with on a daily basis. We will continue to support as best we can during this COVID-19 outbreak.
We thank you for your understanding and most of all we thank you for how you are supporting our communities during this difficult time.