We work in partnership with a range of other providers to provide services for children and families. Where we do not deliver services directly, we have worked with our providers to ensure that the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant are upheld.


Getting a place at a school

In Portsmouth admissions’ policies are updated annually if necessary and provide guidance as to the order of prioritisation should a school be over-subscribed. The order is a needs-based approach which includes provision for service children eligible for service pupil premium. You can find more information on the policies.

In Year Applications (currently serving or transitioning families)

If you have children and are moving into the city (either due to a service move, or due to the end of service), you will need to register them with a school. The Schools Admissions Code in England was changed in 2014 to support service families, who can apply and be allocated a place before they move into an area.

Children can be accepted mid-term and in some instances class sizes increased to beyond the normal maximum to accommodate them. This decision will be made based on all the circumstances, including those relating to the family and child and the impact on a school.

In-Year Applications (children of veterans)

There are some instances where the family of a veteran and their child or children need to move into the city to access specialist treatment and/or family support because of injury or health conditions, as a result of service. In these instances, please complete the in-year application following the guidance for serving/transitioning personnel provided above.

If you would like to discuss your specific case, please email admissions@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Service pupil premium

Schools have a responsibility to provide appropriate individualised care and pastoral support for all children.  Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is extra funding for schools in England to support children and young people with parents in the armed forces. In order for your child to be eligible, you need to inform their school of your (or your partner’s) service status before the annual school census, which is the first Thursday in October every year.

You can find out more about SPP eligibility and how schools can use this funding.

Pompey Military Kids

There are currently 943 SPP children registered in Portsmouth schools. The number of children in each school varies. Some schools have a lot of service children, whilst others have less than 10. The council has worked with the Naval Families Federation and Aggies to create Pompy Military Kids (PMK). The PMK network operates across schools bringing service children together to make new friends and support each other. You can find out more about PMK.

Children with special educational needs or disability

Service children might be required to move more frequently than other children and this can be particularly hard if a child has additional needs. We are a member of the Ministry of Defence Local Authority Partnership (MODLAP).

This is a partnership between the MOD and local authorities in England that have committed to work together to improve the experience and outcomes of all service children. Together we have established a set of principles to provide a framework for the effective management of transfers of service children with SEND. The principles build on the SEND code of practice.

In addition, the Portsmouth SEND Local Offer details the information, support and services that we expect to be available in our local area for children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and or a disability (SEND). You can find out more about this offer at Portsmouth Local Offer.

MODLAP agreed principles for the transition of Service children with SEND document.

School transport

We provide transport to mainstream or special schools for children and young people who meet specific criteria e.g., the child has not been able to secure a place at a local school, or because they have special educational needs or a disability which means the child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school. You can find the criteria and application process.

We recognise the unique obligations associated with service combined with family separation can place a significant burden on some service families, and applications for school transport on these grounds can be considered under the ‘exceptional’ circumstances criteria. All applications for school transport continue to be considered on a needs-based approach to make best use of the limited resource available.

If a service child is required to move home within the local area and cannot secure a place at a local school, they may be eligible for transport support.

Term time absence

There are many situations where the unusual and often unpredictable demands of life in the armed forces may prevent service families taking holidays together outside term time. As with all children, the decision on whether to authorise term time holidays for the children of service personnel sits solely with the head teacher at their school.

The educational needs of your child will always be the most critical factor when considering a request for absence. In 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released additional advice for headteachers regarding school term time absence for the children of armed forces personnel. You can see a copy of that guidance on the government website.

To assist head teachers in making their decision commanding officers and their welfare staff can provide verification and endorsement as required. Before you make a request to take your child out of school during term time, talk to your commanding officer to confirm this is something they would support.

Family support

Family information service

The family information service (FIS), shares information, advice and guidance for families with children from pre-birth to 19 and those working with families. You can find out more about this service.

Health visiting

We are a commissioner of health visiting services, and the current provider of these services is Solent NHS. Solent NHS have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and are Bronze Award Holders within the Defence Employers Recognition Scheme.

Solent NHS have updated their systems to capture information about armed forces status of the people they work with. This helps them to provide a tailored service to armed forces families, connecting them with information and other support as required. Solent NHS are also active members of the Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, working to help strengthen delivery.

Family hubs

Family hubs are where our early help and prevention team provide some of their support to families, as well as where our behaviour management surgeries and groups are delivered. These used to be called children’s centres but have been expanded to include help for children and young people up to 19 years. All families, including currently serving and veterans families are welcome in our family hubs.

Home start for forces families

Home-Start helps armed forces families with young children, particularly at times of heightened anxieties. These might include key transition points of rebasing, deployment and transition. Volunteers support families who are facing a range of challenges including isolation, as they move away from their existing support networks of families and friends. In Portsmouth their RNRMC project provides home visiting, a nurture programme and weekly stay and play session for families with children aged up to 12 years old.