Forces & FCDO boarding school discounts


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With rising fees and hidden costs, it can seem, for the average military family, like a pretty daunting financial commitment to undertake. However armed forces families, who feel boarding school is the right option for them, should not be put off by the published termly fees. There are plenty of UK schools who recognise the importance of boarding schools for military families of all ranks. There are multiple schools across the UK who are not only offering discounts but are only asking military families to pay the minimum 10% of their termly fees.

Boarding school fees can also be dramatically lowered for eligible service families by accessing the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA).

Chat with our Forces & FCDO Consultant Stacey Heartford about your termly budget so that we can assess which schools will offer you the best value for your money, along with a stable and uninterrupted education. You can call Stacey on +44 203 633 3101 or email her at stacey@panoba.co.uk. Or complete the short form below.

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Understanding CEA

The CEA rate has been increased

Recently I’ve heard a lot of parents worrying about the current cost of living crisis increasing boarding school fees. It is true that fees have risen for the 2023/24 academic year. The great news is that the CEA allowance has also increased. Alongside the outstanding military discounts, boarding school is still very much an affordable prospect for armed forces families of all services and ranks.

Understanding CEA’s 50 mile rule

One of the most common misconceptions about the CEA allowance is the 50 mile rule. Parents will often ask me what it’s all about and a really common myth that you have to live more than 50 miles away from your child’s school. This is absolutely not the case. There’s nothing in JSP752 about distance from your resident at work address to your child’s boarding school. The 50 mile rule is simply about justifying the need to claim the allowance by proving a service persons mobility. In order to claim the CEA the accompanied service person must prepared to move over 50 miles every 4 years.

CEA – Day Boarding advice

People often ask me if they can claim CEA day allowance at the beginning of their boarding journey. The answer is unfortunately no. In order to be eligible for CEA day your child needs to board for at least 3 consecutive terms.

CEA – Special Educational Needs Allowance (SENA) Advice

If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) you may be eligible to claim CEA SENA. The aim of the allowance is to contribute towards the additional costs associated with a specific support plan for a service child whose additional needs can’t be met within the expected resources a school has. Schools in the UK that work with children with Special Educational Needs will require a copy of a current EHC plan which details the level of care required. This will help the school to assess whether they can properly support the child. SENA is only awarded to a family who’s child meets all the criteria set out in JSP752 Ch14 Section2. Any queries regarding SENA eligibility email the EAT team directly RC-DCS-HQ-EAT@mod.gov.uk.

Other costs to consider

It’s important to note that when setting your budget, that there may be additional costs to consider. Uniform, music lessons, specialist sports, school trips and insurances are charged separately. 1 on 1 tuition and specialist SEN support can also incur an additional charge.

Watch Stacey’s CEA videos

Boarding Tasters available!

Uncertain that boarding school is right for your child? Tasters as well as Open Days are available.

See also in Forces/FCDO section:

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