Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for the Scottish Government to introduce a new armed forces pupil premium, worth hundreds of pounds, in recognition of the disruption that can be caused to the education of service families and because they may require additional mental health and pastoral support.
There are thought to be around 2,500 children of service personnel living in Scotland. The proposal would see the Scottish Government at least match the £300 per child of service personnel paid to schools in England, thanks to the Liberal Democrats.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:
"Many young people with parents in the armed forces are forced to chop and change between schools as they move around for their parents' work. It can be seriously disruptive to their schoolwork, and school life.
"The worry of having a parent away in a dangerous place for a long time, or worse dying for their country, means they often need extra support.
"It's absolutely wrong that the children of our armed service men and women face barriers in education. The Liberal Democrats want to remedy that through a new Armed Forces Pupil Premium so that those young people can get the extra help they need with their mental health as well as their work.
"Liberal Democrats introduced the Pupil Premium elsewhere in the UK, and the SNP Government eventually agreed to adopt it in Scotland too. Now we need to make sure it works for everyone. That means also introducing the extra help that was made available to armed forces families in England years ago, thanks to the Liberal Democrats. It is part of the Military Covenant and our commitment to treat them fairly.
"We owe the members of our army, navy and RAF a huge debt. An Armed Forces Pupil Premium would help close the attainment gap and ensure their children get the support they need."