Education Allowances (CEA) (SENA)

On this page:

Change in policy to allow claimants to withdraw from CEA without financial penalty in specific circumstances
Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) Rates
CEAS: who are they?
Boarding School – First Steps and Considerations
What is SENA and who can claim it?
Who can assess my child’s SEN?
How do I apply for SENA?


Change in Policy to allow claimants to withdraw from CEA without financial penalty in specific circumstances

The MOD has announced that CEA policy will be permanently changed to allow withdrawal from CEA without financial penalty. This is excellent news for families who have found themselves in the stressful situation that arises when boarding proves unsuitable for their child. This change is with immediate effect.

The announcement is endorsed by AFF, which has been working continually to resolve anomalies in the CEA system.

CEA claimants who have submitted casework and are awaiting a decision and all other claimants from December 2012 can start this process. Families should contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) in the first instance to discuss the long-term implications of this decision. This is for permanent withdrawal from CEA for a particular child. There is a process in place for those families who wish to claim CEA for another child.

It is the family’s responsibility to ensure that enough notice is given to their child’s school so that they do not incur further costs. These costs will the responsibility of the family. CEA claimants who wish to move their child to an alternative school to resolve a specific issue and continue to claim the allowance, should still refer to JSP 752, Chapter 9, Section 1, Annex C. 

It is important to note that there is the possibility of families having to pay back CEA if any irregularities in previous CEA claims are identified.

AFF will continue to highlight the benefits of CEA for the many children for whom boarding school remains the best option.

Contact our Education and Childcare Specialist for further information - Lucy Scott at or 07527 492869.

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Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) Rates


CEA (Board) - Junior: 5,081
CEA (Board) - Senior: 6,669
CEA (Day) - Junior: 2,993
CEA (Day) - Senior: 4,007

More information is available on JPA. 

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CEAS: who are they?

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is an integral part of The Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP), which is the focal point within the Ministry of Defence for all matters relating to Service children and young people.

Our children are precious to us and when something goes awry, it can be extremely stressful. If it’s to do with our children’s education, it can be daunting knowing where to turn for help. Sometimes what’s needed is authoritative advice that you can rely on to represent you and your child. The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is an MOD funded service which provides help and advice to all Service families in all aspects of education. Lucy Scott, AFF Education Specialist, tells us what CEAS can do to help… 

CEAS’s work 
The experienced CEAS team offer a range of support from help with admissions, appeals and tribunals to advice and information on different types of school, including in overseas locations. They can assist with information on the diverse education systems in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, and can advise families who are looking at boarding schools and the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). They also have all the up-to-date information on the latest MOD regulations and JSPs. Whether you are trying to secure a school place for your child, or wanting advice on how to appeal, CEAS is a good place to start.

It is empowering to have the right information to hand when you are dealing with a problem concerning your child and it’s also reassuring to find that there is something you can do to try to resolve an issue. At CEAS, they have a range of leaflets and advice available to you if you are worried that your child is being bullied at school.

Special Educational Needs
CEAS also help with Special Educational Needs. It’s particularly important to register with them if this applies to you. They can make sure that you are getting the best service locally for your child. You don’t have to be claiming CEA to register your child however, CEAS does deal with the Special Educational Needs Allowance (SENA) which is linked to CEA. They can also help with pre-school children with additional needs or help you put a case together if you have to attend a tribunal.

I spoke to one Army spouse who sums up her experience using CEAS’s services. ‘Initially I thought CEAS was only there to support families who were struggling to find a school place when they move house. When we appealed to get our daughter into the local grammar school, CEAS offered lots of advice and support by phone and email.’

Contacting CEAS
When calling CEAS, you will get through to an advisor who may be able to help you straight away or refer you on to a member of the team. It is possible to leave a message but be aware, the lines can get very busy! Alternatively if you email, remember to include the date of birth of your child/children that you are enquiring about. Contact them at: Children's Education Advisory Service, Trenchard Lines, Upavon, Pewsey, Wiltshire, SN9 6BE. Call 01980 618244, fax 01980 618245 or email They are open from 8.30am–3.30pm UK time, Monday to Friday.

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Boarding School – First Steps and Considerations

  1. Contact CEAS (01980 618244). They hold the Accredited Schools Database (ASD), a list of schools for which Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA, formerly Boarding School Allowance) is admissable. If you want to receive the allowance, the school you choose must be on this list.
  2. CEAS will provide you with an application form to apply for an Eligibility Certificate. The new CEA Governance Team will be taking on the responsibility of issuing certificates. Please apply to CEAS in the first instance.
  3. When choosing a school, bear in mind its location. How far is it from family? How far is it from train stations/airports? While children at boarding school are entitled to three return trips per school year (School Children’s Visits), travel between school and airport is only refunded at the rate of the rebated rail fare for that journey (i.e. a travel warrant), so parents who prefer their children to make the journey by taxi will not be refunded the full fare. When half term visits are taken into account as well, this can become expensive.
  4. Affordability – even with CEA, extra costs must be taken into account. These can include travel (see point 3), uniform, extra-curricular activities, school trips. Parents must also contribute a minimum of 10% of a school’s termly fees as a condition of receiving CEA.
  5. Will your child/children complete a stage of education while at boarding school? If not, or you choose to withdraw them before a stage of education is completed, you may become liable to repaying the CEA already received. If you know that you or your spouse will be leaving the Army before a stage of education is completed, you need to consider whether you can continue to pay the fees yourself, as entitlement to CEA ceases the term after a Service parent has left the Army.

A stage of education is defined as follows:

Primary, junior or preparatory school (8-11/13);
Secondary or senior school (11/13-16);
A-level or academic equivalent (16-18/19). 

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What is SENA and who can claim it?

SENA is the Special Educational Needs Addition Allowance. This can be claimed by Service families if a child, who is already in receipt of CEA, is then found to have Special Educational Needs (SEN). It can only be claimed to cover the cost of additional lessons to support your child’s SEN, it cannot be used for equipment.

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Who can assess my child’s SEN?

Your child can be assessed by a Chartered Educational Psychologist, however they must be from the recognised Dyslexia Action organisation to support your claim for SENA. Although the Educational Psychologist is employed by Dyslexia Action they will be qualified to determine, and assess, all forms of SEN, and therefore recommend the corresponding level of support required.

Details of Dyslexia Action and their nearest office are available at If the distance to your nearest office is not acceptable and you feel that this may affect the assessment, then you could approach Dyslexia Action and ask if the assessment could be carried out at the school, unfortunately the travel arrangements would be at your own cost.

N.B. Dyslexia Action offer an initial assessment in order to determine if a full assessment is required, this is worth undertaking as you can only re-coup the cost of the full assessment if your child is found to have SEN.

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How do I apply for SENA?

You can contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) to ask for a form.

You need to include the report from the Dyselxia Action Educational Psychologist with your application, and a letter from the school outlining the support that they will provide based on the report including the corresponding costs.

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