Military Service Children and Families

The University of Winchester is committed to supporting our armed forces community and to upholding the Armed Forces Covenant. We lead a number of initiatives to support military personnel and their families and have been awarded the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Bronze Award.

We are proud to be at the forefront of work recognising and supporting Service children. Over the coming year, we aim to continue working with the Ministry of Defence and a range of other partners to support the educational progression of children from military families, sharing our research and resources across the sector, including leading the Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance.

Below is a snapshot of the initiatives and research that the University is currently undertaking to support our Armed Forces community:

Action and outreach

We deliver a range of activity to support members of the Armed Forces community. Service children are named as a target group within our Access and Participation Plan and are included within out wider access and outreach work, in addition to the specific activities listed below:

Creative Forces

We host annual events for young people from service family backgrounds on campus during the Summer term of the school year. These events see service children from local primary and secondary schools work with ambassadors to find out about what life at university might be like and share their experiences with peers from similar backgrounds.

At past events, pupils have developed ‘Top Tips’ for supporting service children and shared these with their teachers. Hampshire County Council have also been involved in delivering CPD sessions for attending staff.

Festival of Friends

In partnership with Hampshire County Council, we have recently trialled a new model of collaborative activity for supporting service children across the region. The Festival of Friends project was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund and drew upon the expertise of staff across schools, the local authority and the University to focus on supporting the integration of service children into school communities.

Hampshire County Council led the establishment of a District Service Pupils Network, formed of ten school-based district co-ordinators across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. An awards scheme for school projects that supported service pupil integration was launched and promoted through this network which culminated in a celebration and awards event at the University.

As part of the project, the University has developed a toolkit for delivering a similar model of activity to the Festival of Friends. View the Festival of Friends Toolkit.

For any further information regarding the University’s outreach for service children, please contact for more details.

Creative Forces Ambassadors

Our Creative Forces Ambassadors support our many of activities with the Armed Forces community. This paid employment opportunity is specifically for students from military service backgrounds (either personally or through family). Our Ambassadors support events such as our annual Creative Forces for Service children and there are opportunities for Ambassadors to attend national conferences and key stakeholder events where they can share their experiences and opinions within wider discussions.

Armed Forces Day Celebrations

Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to celebrate and demonstrate support for the Armed Forces community. We held our first annual Armed Forces Day celebration on campus in 2018 to raise awareness of the military community and the work that the University undertakes to support those associated with the Armed Forces. In addition to raising awareness, staff undertook fundraising activities to support national and local military charities. 

Collaborative working

The Service Children’s Progression Alliance

The University hosts the SCiP Alliance, a UK wide partnership funded by the MoD Directorate Children and Young People. The Alliance works to improve educational outcomes for children from military families so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers. The SCiP Alliance draws expertise from further and higher education institutions, the Service Children in State Schools (SCiSS) network, military family federations, charities and local authorities and operates a UK wide network of regional hubs. These regional hubs support professionals by linking them with events, resources, policy makers and the latest research.
For more information and to download resources visit the SCiP Alliance website.

Hampshire Civilian Military Partnership Education Sub-Group

We work closely with partners Hampshire County Council and is part of the Hampshire Civilian Military Partnership Education Sub-Group, chaired by HCC. This Sub-Group draws together a range of partners and key stakeholders to develop practice and policy to support Service children.

Heritage for Heroes

The University has worked with Help for Heroes to establish an initiative to welcome wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and veterans to study undergraduate courses in archaeology. 


The University was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 2016 to undertake research into Service children’s progression to HE. This research sought to improve understanding of the factors that help or hinder Service children’s educational progression, so that future work is well targeted and achieves better outcomes by:

  • Exploring the views and experiences of Service children and undergraduates from service families to identify and evaluate the relative significance of factors impacting (both positively and negatively) on their educational progression and attainment;
  • Reviewing existing research and evidence to build a more detailed picture of the progression of service children into and through further and higher education in order to highlight priorities for action; and
  • Identifying opportunities to support the development of professional practice and public policy in support of Service children’s education.

The research suggested that children from military service families are under-represented in the higher education population. It is in the realm of up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family. Read the full research paper.

The findings have precipitated some important impacts on policy and practice in the HE sector, not least the identification of Service children as a priority group for access by the Office for Students. As a consequence, some 37 HE providers have committed to specific action regarding Service children in their 2019-20 access and participation plans. The University continues to conduct research into the educational experiences of Service children as part of the Service Children’s Progression Alliance.

The University has also developed a variety of resources for schools and HE providers working with Service children. The development of these resources was funded by the Ministry of Defence Directorate Children and Young People. Information, worksheets, templates and practical advice on improving educational progression for children from military service families can be downloaded below for use with service children in schools or in University outreach.

Meet the team

Widening Participation

Head of Participation and Success (Deputy Director Student Support and Success), Chair of the SCiP Alliance board

Corianne Gjertsen, Transition Coordinator & Student Advisor

Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance

PhD students

Sophie Ellis

The influence of military culture and educational background on the post-sixteen educational decisions and experiences of students from military backgrounds in higher education