MoD spent £189m on tuition fees
14 September 2012
The Ministry of Defence spent £189m on private tuition fees for the children of service personnel last year, it has been reported.
A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) found that more than £500m had been spent on fees for armed forces personnel and the children of diplomats across government over the last three years, with the MoD facing the biggest departmental bill.
The MoD's £189m bill for 2011/12 was some £16m higher than the figure in 2008/09, the BIJ reported.
Under the Continuity of Education Allowance system, tuition fees are paid so that children are not adversely affected by a parent's need to move homes for operational purposes.
Parents must pay a minimum of 10 per cent of the child's boarding school fees, but can claim up to £6,074 a term from the MoD. They can also choose the school that is "most appropriate" for their children from an MoD-approved list of around 440 boarding schools.
Last year the MoD withdrew eligibility for CEA from personnel who serve unaccompanied by their families in several locations, including MoD London, and sea-going assignments.
Further changes included an automatic review of personnel's entitlement to CEA payments after two assignments rather than three. The ministry also announced the establishment of a team to "ensure compliance" with CEA regulations.
After some £500,000 of "false claims" had to be written off by the MoD in 2011, the ministry again looked to tighten rules.
An MOD spokesperson said: "Service personnel should not be disadvantaged because of their duty but we are determined that the CEA – currently claimed by 5,680 personnel – should go only to those who really need it. That is why we tightened the criteria for CEA last year. This has resulted in a £10m saving on the total cost of CEA the previous year."
HAVE YOUR SAY
14 September 2012
there are few opportunities for service personnel to give stability to their family and, whilst it can be an absolute wrench to do so, a stable eductaion is one thing. The alternative is to put your child into a new school every two years on every draft or appointment thereby disrupting their learning and wrecking their chances of getting the qualifications that allows them to join in the normal progression of education into the workplace or further learning.
Derek Golding - Scotland