Boarding School Allowance in line of fire

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Drop_Short, Jan 15, 2007.

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  1. From Today's Herald:

    I may be wearing my tinfoil helmet, but does this not smack of Gordon or some proletariat minion in the Treasury attacking the "soft underbelly" of the defence budget? Typical Labour/media spin doctoring by having a dig at the officers using it when it is open to all.

    Linked to the cr@p salary that we receive, could this be another item for BAFF to campaign on?
  2. Problem is that the allowance has been abused for years and now they're catching up. Standby for lots of squealing from the home postings only brigade. Don't imagine BAFF will want to campaign in support of widespread fraud, do you?
  3. Just watch if they do cut it most of the middle ranking officers in the Army either leave or go married unaccompanied (we will need bigger messes). I managed to clock up 12 schools as a Pads Brat and my eldest boy will have had 3 schools in 3 years by the time I move to the Traz in Aug 07. To put in ETON as a commonly attended boarding school is boll*ks. There are an awful lot of SNCOs and WOs who send their children to boarding school and rightly so. I was one of them for 2 years. If I was to remain in the Army until my children had reached Secondary age I would either put them in boarding school or else risk the destruction of their education. The constant errosion of our terms and service are the main reason for the parlour state of retention in the Army.

  4. Slashing Boarding Schools Allowance / CEA, or whatever it is called today, will really help to addess the military covenant! Might just see an increase in the outflow from the Forces; and no its not just officers who send their children to boarding school.
  5. What about those individuals who are posted half-way through their childrens' GCSEs or A-levels? Is there no justification in allowing them continuity of education?

    This is really one-sided article which makes it sound like officers send their kids exclusively to top public schools while soldiers' children are left to languish in state schools.

    Doesn't mention officers' children at local schools or children of other ranks at boarding school. Doesn't mention that most kids go to boarding school around the age of 11, by which time their dad has probably been in the forces for 13 or 14 years. Is it any wonder that only he only mentions SNCOs?

    Argh! I hate journalists.
  6. f@cking penny pinchers. Soldiers (of all ranks) deserve to have continuity of education for their kids. Even if spending the majority of your time in the UK, most people move location every 2 years.

    If you were to do this whilst one child was between the age of 5 - 16, that would mean 6 schools - hardly a recipe for a good education.

    I have no problem if people want to put their children through that, and people are also free to be married unaccompanied so that their family can 'go firm' and acheive stability. But the fact is that if you are living in quarters and want stability for your kid's education then the MOD, which is telling you to move on for the good of your career, should give you a helping hand with the school fees.

    And by the way, even if it is a perk, we get enough sh!t in our job to deserve a few perks! Education allowances are a far better way of spending money than on staff officers' chairs as well.
  7. Shows how little you know about getting a decent education for your children.
  8. Although I don't have children of school age, I can see the benefits of BSA and it should not solely be for those posted overseas. There are plenty of circumstances where it would be appropriate if based in the UK. It's especially important for continuity of education. For many who are posted at relatively short notice, every 2 years, and with little control over where they live, the options for geting a child into a decent state school - thanks to the Govt we know which ones aren't - are poor. Very often the only places left are at lower end of the performance table that parents with more stable existences have been able to avoid. Superimpose the stress on the child of moving house and school every couple of years and you have a recipe for failure, especially with long operational deployments thrown in for good measure. Service children suffer yet another disadvantage because the parent choooses to do his/her bit for the UK.

    Unfortunately, BSA is seen as an officers' thing, mostly because the take-up elsewhere is poor. Perhaps the non-commissioned ranks experience fewer postings. Whatever, this makes it an easy target for 'social engineering'.

    I would venture that BSA is a retention factor (golden hadcuffs?) for many and that lots will go if it is lost (albeit that is not quite what is being suggested in the article, but you can see how it will be incrementally nibbled-away at). There are plenty of well-paid jobs out there for ex-military types.

    This could be seen as yet another assault on the Service way of life by those who have little understanding of what is involved. The more that Terms and Conditions of service are interfered with to make the Forces more like a civilian organisation, the more the people in it will expect to be treated like civilians.

    'Posted, what me, with my kids in a good school? I don't think so, sir'
  9. [
    Various points:

    Who and what is Crawford? Is he one of these ex-mil types who has become so bewitched by the Civil Service fascination with so-called efficiencies (as long as their own jobs and allowances are not affected) that he has now lost sight of what he is employed for? If so I'll remind him - "To provide the best possible support to our soldiers" - and that costs whatever it costs.

    The allowance is neither a perk nor a privilege. It is a condition of service. This is not a problem to those within the military and it is certainly not up to Crawford to determine what is and what is not a perk. Perhaps he should confine his area of expertise to the tank park.

    If it's not about quality of education then what the hell is it about? Quality education is a balance between the right school and continuity within that environment. Regardless of whether somebody is serving overseas, or in the UK ,you cannot provide continuity unless you remain in the same area for extremely long periods.

  10. CEA has ben a target for some time, however to ignoranyly slant the argument as an Offrs vs ORs issu is cock!

    A great many NCOs, SNCOs and WOs use the scheme in one form ot another indeed I know of at least one school that only takes OR Children. It reallyis petty of Journos to slag the forces when the truth is mch more complicated. For instance forgetting just for amoment the purpose of Continuity Education, can you imagine the panic that SCE would have (and the costs to HMG) if all CEA children, whose parents were abroad decided they needed a UK based education in their parents posting area.

    What is needed is amore rigorous application of the regulations to prevent any accusations of abuse, irrespective of the ranks or status of the individuals involved.

    Finally if CEA is to be reviewed it should be reviewed across all government departments including the civil service, foreign office and diplomatic service!!
  11. I used to work on the pay side and agree this is a tricky one because a) the allowance is totaly justifiable in my eyes to provide continuity of education for all ranks, but b) has been grossly abused by thousands in the past.
    From a personal point of view (I never used BSA, but wished I had now)my children moved around alot wigthin the UK and that is just as bad as going overseas. It's not until you move during important exams that you find how many different examing boards there are for the same topic, and trying to find a school that matches ALL of your childs topics and sylabuses is almost impossible.
  12. 1) I can assure you that the fees at Eton are well excess of £20,000 pa (no I'm not an old etonian).

    2) I like the way the journalist mentions the 10% but then gives an example of a expensive school suggesting the the allowance is £18k pa.

    I would also say to those that argue that if the parent doesn't move abroad it shouldn't be given that I had 5 different schools before I got to 10. It the constant changes in schools that is the problem not the moving away.
  13. erm....i think that this is a re-hash of an old news item...IIRC even the same figures and sound bites are being quoted here....i'm sure a check of the annuls of arrse recent history will reveal all?
  14. The press just loves this story. In our materially obsessed society it has everything; toffs, privilege, discrimination and the public purse. Luckily most such articles are brought down in their own 25 because CEA is, as we all know, an all-ranks allowance.

    Unfortunately, I fear that it is this aspect that is bringing the elephant into the room, so to speak. With the joint Govt proposals to raise entry age to 33 and OR service to 55, many more ORs will be staying to claim, rightly so. Moreover, many more will join with families already able to claim and it may even be a major incentive to some: sink school to boarding school at one go - again, why not? I think this may have started to dawn in No11 and ways out are already being floated.

    I suspect HMG has little room for manoeuvre with existing BS places, but stand by for a smart change in the terms of service...
  15. We had a great thread on here concerning this vile initiative last fall. Bump, bump bumpety bump...make sure that you draw journo attention to the good value, the fact this is an all ranks allowance and oh, why not mention Ruth Kelly this time around!!