Kingston University to host seminar to inform future teachers about the needs of Forces children

A seminar focusing on the needs of Forces children and how they are supported at school is being hosted by Kingston University and Reading Force.

The event will see the University’s teacher training students hear from policy makers and education and military professionals about issues facing Forces children, how they can be supported as they transition between schools, how to reach and engage Forces parents, and how to connect Forces children with their peers in school.

The seminar, organised by Kingston University publishing expert and founder and director of Reading Force Dr Alison Baverstock, will give guidance to trainee teachers. There are an estimated 130,000 children from Forces families in schools across the United Kingdom.

Current teacher training courses cover how to recognise a child at risk or spot those with learning difficulties but the University and Reading Force are teaming up to seek the same focus for Forces children, with them regularly having to move locations and change schools and experience a parent being away from home, sometimes for long periods.

Dr Baverstock, an Army wife of 30 years, said:

“We are really pleased Kingston University is providing this important opportunity to trial a contribution that we would like to see embedded nationally within teacher education programmes. Understanding the pressures of life in a Forces family will not only promote a broader understanding of their particular situation and needs within the education system, but also encourage empathy among staff, pupils and the wider community.”

Reading Force gives books and special scrapbooks to Forces families and encourages them to share books and chat about them, whether at home together or separated by deployment or training, in which case they can read over Skype or Facetime. Taking part in Reading Force has proved to give families continuity, and helps to keep them close and communicating well.

The free event takes place from 1pm to 4pm on Friday 22 March in the Lawley Lecture Theatre at the University’s Kingston Hill Campus. Places can be booked online.


For more information, contact Hattie Gordon at or 07566 200 299

Notes to editors:

  • Reading Force is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered Charity No. 1159890. Member of Cobseo.
  • The initiative is free of charge and it’s available to all British military families, Army, Navy and Marines, and RAF, including Reservists and veterans.
  • Reading Force is a finalist in Family Values category of the prestigious Soldiering On Awards 2019.
  • Reading Force is funded by a variety of different organisations and supporters, both specifically defence and those with a wider empathy for the particular situation of Forces families. These include The Royal British Legion, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The RAF Benevolent Fund and Annington. Our most recent supporter is Malvern Optical Ltd, who have kindly committed to supporting our core work for the next three years.
  • More information about Reading Forces can be found on


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