Guest blog by Lauren Smith-Birch, University of Winchester Access and Outreach Coordinator
On 27th March 2019, the University of Winchester held the first Service Child Forum for students who had grown up with a parent in the Armed Forces and are now studying in further or higher education.
A group of students from the University of Winchester and Bath Spa University came together to share their experiences of growing up with a parent or carer in the Armed Forces. Following a lunch and an employability workshop facilitated by the University’s Career Service focusing on how students can make the most of their experiences, the group moved to discussions of their experiences as Service children. The group discussed matters such as the impact on education, what shaped their decision to progress into higher education and what more educational institutions could be doing to support Service children. A range of motivations for progressing into higher education were explored. Throughout the conversations, a key theme was the breadth and variety of experiences that Service children can have.
The inspiration for bringing HE and FE students together and the concept of the Forum came from one of our own students and current SCiP Alliance board member, Matt Bacon. With a growing activity in supporting Service children in primary and secondary schools across institutions in the HE sector, Matt highlighted the opportunity for universities to also listen to students in further education and those who have progressed into higher education.
The team behind the event are currently evaluating the event and considering next steps, hoping to build on this successful experience to organise further events with higher and further education students in the South and further afield in the future.