Education Allowances (CEA) (SENA)
16 Jul - New IMPROVED CEA Regulations
08 Jul - CEA window open
Change in policy to allow claimants to withdraw from CEA without financial penalty in specific circumstances
Updated 31 Jul - 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?
Our child has already been identified as having SEN, which boarding school should we choose?
The aim of CEA is to assist Service personnel to achieve continuity of education for their children that would otherwise be denied in the maintained sector if their children accompanied them on assignments.
In 2011 the Minister for the Armed Forces announced a package of measures designed to improve the governance of CEA. Included within those measures was a commitment to undertake a full review of CEA to establish that the allowance remained justifiable within the wider context of the Security Review (SDSR).
The review concluded that while no significant changes to the main principles of CEA were required in the near to medium term, the MOD would further improve the governance of the allowance by a clarification of the existing administrative arrangements.
That clarification has now taken place. The JSP has been re-written to be made clearer and simpler. There have been improvements that are detailed below; not least that the regulations are 11 pages shorter! The core principles of the allowance remain unchanged.
The changes will come into effect within JSP 752 from 1 August 2013.
Main Changes to CEA Regulations:
school within a stage of education (09.0123a)
In cases where a parent wishes to move their child to another school because of suspected safeguarding issues (but wishes to continue claiming CEA), the parent may now withdraw the child before seeking the advice of the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS), submitting casework later. This reflects current practice and is now formalised within the regulations.
The claimant accepts that the deliberate abuse of CEA regulations may lead to disciplinary action or criminal proceedings.
Service personnel (New regulation)
Where, on assignment the claimant is not classed as Involuntary Separated (INVOLSEP) and is not going to be accompanied by their immediate family within 3 months, they must submit casework to the CEA Governance Team (CEAGT) seeking authority for on-going entitlement to claim CEA.
Child (New regulation)
Since the beginning of the academic year 2012/13 there has been no entitlement to CEA in respect of initial claims for children entering the ‘A’ Level stage of education (School Years 12 & 13). In order to maintain the continuity of education of children attending state schools who are within two years of taking their GCSE examinations, no initial claims for CEA will ordinarily be considered for any child who has already entered School Year 10.
Eligibility Certificate (CEA EC) (09.0105)
There are two additional circumstances in which a new CEA EC application is required. A new CEA EC application must be submitted when a claimant wishes to withdraw from CEA for one child but retain CEA entitlement for another child or children. The rationale is that the claimant must reaffirm their own - and their other child(ren)’s - on-going eligibility to CEA. Secondly, the CEAGT may, in cases of doubt, request a CEA EC to allow the claimant the opportunity to confirm their on-going eligibility.
Eligibility Certificate not approved (09.0124)
Currently, where a CEA claimant is found to be no longer eligible during the CEA EC application process, they receive one final term of CEA. As a currently unregulated concession, where a child is within 2 years of examinations, CEA has generally been allowed to continue until the completion of that stage of education. This enhancement will now be formalised within the regulations.
Withdrawal from CEA (New regulation)
The ability to voluntarily withdraw from CEA without financial penalty was implemented in December 2012. The amendment formalises that policy change.
Currently, if a CEA claimant takes Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) then elects to take Additional Maternity Leave (AML) they are required to submit casework for on-going entitlement to CEA. Under the revised regulations, the requirement to submit casework is removed. •CEA Eligibility Certificate – Part 1C (Chapter 9, Section 1, Annex A). When signing the CEA EC, the claimant is now authorising the CEAGT to approach their child’s school (if necessary) to confirm the eligibility criteria are being met.
EC guidance (New regulation)
Even though the Assignment Authority has assessed the claimant as “unlikely to move” within 4 years or the claimant’s family home has not moved in excess of 50 miles within the last two assignments, it is for the CO to confirm eligibility taking relevant circumstances into account. The location of the family home is not relevant within the context of the CEA eligibility criteria but it is a circumstance that the COs must use to inform their decision when doubt exists over the claimant’s eligibility.
for changing a school during a stage of education that may be acceptable
As a result of the introduction of Voluntary Withdrawal from CEA (see above), this annex is now restricted to circumstances where the claimant wishes to withdraw their child from a particular school but continue claiming CEA at an alternative eligible school.
School Allowance (North Wales) (DSA(NW)) - Entitlement for a child assessed as
having Special Educational Needs (SEN) (Chapter 9, Section 7) (New regulation)
The DSA(NW) regulations now allow for the payment of SENA “Non Specialist Independent” (NSI) and “Dyslexia Unit” (DU) costs subject to the claimant and their child meeting the relevant eligibility criteria.
Service guidance (Chapter 1, Section 2, Annex A)
Accompanied Service exists when a Service person maintains a home in which their spouse/civil partner and any dependent children normally live; this remains the case. Currently the further guidance on Accompanied Service requires that a Service person’s family is required only to spend “…a clear majority of the assignment…” at the Residence at Work Address (RWA). The intent of the policy is that the Service person is to be accompanied by their spouse/civil partner at their RWA more often than not in any given period for the duration of the assignment. An amendment prepared in tandem with the re-write of CEA policy establishes that where the family spends less than 9 months (continuous or aggregated) in any 12 month period at the RWA the Service person’s accompanied status will be subject to review by the CO. Similarly, if a Service person’s spouse/civil partner is absent from the RWA for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days, their accompanied status will be reviewed.
on INVOLSEP Service (Chapter 1, Section 2, Annex B)
Currently the guidance on INVOLSEP states that where a CEA claimant has another child attending state school for whom they are not claiming CEA and who is within 2 years of public examinations, they may serve INVOLSEP until they are next assigned. An amendment prepared in tandem with the CEA re-write limits the INVOLSEP status to the end of the non-CEA child’s current stage of education.
Disputing a Decision
Any prospective or existing claimant wishing to dispute a decision regarding their initial or on-going CEA eligibility may submit casework to the CEAGT.
CEA regulations reflect the educational system within England and Wales. Where a Service parent claims CEA in respect of an eligible school employing an alternative educational system, advice should be sought from the CEAS.
AFF is delighted that the regulations have been made clearer and simpler. If you have any questions about these changes then please contact Lucy Scott, AFF Education and Childcare Specialist: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more details in the following publications:
- Defence Internal Briefs 2010DIB/95 and 2011DIB/96, and the Defence Instruction and Notice 2013DIN01-145 - available to serving personnel on the Defence Intranet
CEA WINDOW OPEN for Autumn Term 2013 – this information is also available on JPA.
24th June 2013 – CEA Window opens
Main CEA Run:
Manual Cut-off: 1900 Hrs 9th August 2013 (claims must be with JPAC by this date to ensure payment on 23rd August 2013).
Online Cut-off: 1900 Hrs 16th August 2013 for submissions (must also be authorised by Unit Allowance Checker by 1900 Hrs 16th August 2013 for inclusion in this run).
Payment date: 23rd August 2013
Final CEA Run:
Manual Cut-off: 1900 Hrs 16th September 2013 (claims must be with JPAC by this date to ensure payment on 4th October 2013).
Online Cut-off: 1900 27th September 2013 for submissions (must also be authorised by Unit Allowance Checker by 1900 Hrs 27th September 2013 for inclusion in this run).
Payment date: 4th October 2013
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 email@example.com or 07527 492869.
EDUCATION ALLOWANCES FROM 01 AUGUST 2013
CEA (Board) - Junior: £4,921
CEA (Board) - Senior: £6,454
CEA (Day) - Junior: £2,899
CEA (Day) - Senior: £3,878
This information is also available on JPA.Back to top
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…
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.’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. They are open from 8.30am–3.30pm UK time, Monday to Friday.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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.Back to top
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 www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk. 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.Back to top
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.Back to top
If you are already aware that your child has SEN then it is a good idea to let CEAS know when asking for the boarding school pack. They can then send you the appropriate additional information on schools for you to consider. Deciding on the most appropriate school is a difficult choice to make, and to a large degree it is dependent on the severity of the child’s SEN. A list of schools that are approved by CReSTeD, the Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils, can be provided to assist the decision. These schools must meet the criteria set by this organisation and are visited regularly to ensure that they are maintaining these standards. However, there are some schools that choose not to be registered on the CReSTeD list that also provide a high standard of support for children with SEN.
The type of support available at schools on the CReSteD list can vary, again dependent on the level of need. Some schools will have additional, specialised units to help support children. The children then spend specified time at these units during the school day to gain additional support in the areas they require. If the SEN are quite severe there are some schools where the class size is very small, and there is continuous support for the needs of the children in the class, this is understandably at a much greater cost.
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