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BehindBlueEyes
9th Nov 2018, 23:56
I know this example is about about potential fraud, but should the public purse be funding private education anyway?
Makes sense when military personnel are posted overseas and wish to avoid disruption to their children’s education but whilst in the U.K., is it really necessary, especially when every other public service is having to make cuts in the name of economy? Most of my forces friends take advantage of the system as they consider it an entitlement of the job and, despite there being good state schools in the vicinity, chose to board their offspring at distant schools at a cost to the rest of us.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-46117014

Bob Viking
10th Nov 2018, 06:24
Would this not just be another example of the ‘politics of envy’? It’s easy to look at it from the outside and claim it’s not fair that military personnel get this good deal. The military, as a career, is open to everyone though. Remember military people pay tax too. In fact in the Colonel’s case (I do not excuse his crime should he be found guilty) he would have paid more tax than 95% of the population.

The Colonel in the news story may well have played the system but he is hopefully an exception (if guilty). There are very few jobs that require families to up sticks and move on a regular basis. CEA exists for a very good reason.

A few years back the system was changed such that if you were to stay in one location for a long period you would lose your entitlement. It has already been cut back in this regard. Further cuts would definitely affect retention.

So my view is that instead of people gnashing their teeth about somebody else getting a good deal they should look at the reasons why that person gets the deal. Living life being angry at everyone else is not very fulfilling.

If you really have a desire to get angry about waste in public services there are many areas that could be examined before schooling for military employees.

Just my thoughts of course. You don’t have to agree.

BV

Krystal n chips
10th Nov 2018, 08:07
Would this not just be another example of the ‘politics of envy’? It’s easy to look at it from the outside and claim it’s not fair that military personnel get this good deal. The military, as a career, is open to everyone though. Remember military people pay tax too. In fact in the Colonel’s case (I do not excuse his crime should he be found guilty) he would have paid more tax than 95% of the population.

The Colonel in the news story may well have played the system but he is hopefully an exception (if guilty). There are very few jobs that require families to up sticks and move on a regular basis. CEA exists for a very good reason.

A few years back the system was changed such that if you were to stay in one location for a long period you would lose your entitlement. It has already been cut back in this regard. Further cuts would definitely affect retention.

So my view is that instead of people gnashing their teeth about somebody else getting a good deal they should look at the reasons why that person gets the deal. Living life being angry at everyone else is not very fulfilling.

If you really have a desire to get angry about waste in public services there are many areas that could be examined before schooling for military employees.

Just my thoughts of course. You don’t have to agree.

BV



On the contrary, this case, as alleged and reported, has nothing to do with "playing the system ".....it's seemingly far more to do with an abuse of rank and privilege allied to pure selfish greed.

"Playing the system " is a well honed service tradition , and, at some point anybody who has served will have done so.....but, there's a significant difference between taking a few small advantages from the "system " and exploiting it to the extent the Colonel allegedly has.

Civilians are can be equally adept at this practice in their work environments by the way, so it's far from exclusive to the military.

Pontius Navigator
10th Nov 2018, 08:35
One daughter benefited from the allowance. She was teased (bullied?) That she was getting free schooling. Then the others were embarrassed when they found out they were too through their parents ' jobs.

Bob Viking
10th Nov 2018, 15:46
My children don’t board (though they do attend a private school). However, I would not criticise anyone who does send their children to boarding school.

Quality of education is everything.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a pilot but, before that, I spent four years training as a primary school teacher. I then did some supply teaching before joining the RAF. Having taught in many different (state) schools I then make the comparison with my kids current school. There is no comparison.

I know there are some great state schools but it is very much dependent on where you live.

I dont intend to send my kids to boarding school but in the interests of their education I would consider it if needs must. I love them dearly and wish I could spend every night coming home to them but their education matters more. It honestly does them no harm.

I would argue that if you had the money, everyone would choose private schooling.

Obviously this will polarise opinion but c’est la vie.

BV

BehindBlueEyes
10th Nov 2018, 16:48
An interesting debate - hopefully, no one is too offended that I started it, because it was a genuine enquiry having read the news article. I apologise, rereading my original post, I can quite understand why it came across as sounding a bit like “politics of envy.”

Personally, I have no issue with private education. People make choices and financial sacrifices to make the choice - including my own parents for me. I guess Colonel Lee’s case has highlighted the potential, by some, of abuse of the perk. As said before, I have many military acquaintances who seem to be very keen to get their children into the system, even though, in my area, there are several outstanding state schools.

tescoapp
10th Nov 2018, 17:40
he isn't the first to have a fiddle like this. The ones I knew from years ago were not staff officers either.

And plenty of mates in the forces when looking to buy houses have had maps with circles round their possible basing points. I suspect this chap didn't think he was going to be a staff officer and end up in HQ.

I wouldn't want my kids to go through what mil brats do. One of the lads at Uni suddenly broke into what ever they speak in Hong Kong turned out he his dad had been stationed there twice. He could also speak Nepalese because his dad was with the Gurkhas, also spoke German due to BAOR. He was sent off to boarding school at age 14 point because basically he was moving schools every 2-4 years. Must admit though he was very good at making sure people could get their deposits back from accommodation, the things he could hide with a tube of toothpaste. Would he put his kids through it.... not a chance. He wished they had sent him off to boarding school aged 8.

beamer
10th Nov 2018, 20:45
This has been going on for decades. I knew a chap who sent his child to boarding school despite the fact he spent the whole time living in the same house in the UK equidistant between two airfields from which he served with a thirty minute commute at worst to the furthest away. The school was less than ten miles away from home - not quite what the system was designed for I believe !

As others have said, possibly not that important but in these days of limited funds ?

BehindBlueEyes
10th Nov 2018, 21:30
Googled my enquiry and found this:

https://inews.co.uk/news/education/eton-harrow-army-officers-children-taxpayer (https://inews.co.uk/news/education/eton-harrow-army-officers-children-taxpayer/)

“This data, disclosed under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, show that 5,216 pupils benefited from the scheme last year, of whom roughly 60 per cent have parents who hold senior officer rank some on salaries over £100,000 a year.

”The payments of up to £21,000 a school year are supposed to allow serving soldiers, sailors and airmen to ensure that their children do not have their education disrupted by having to move around the world. But most of the payments under the MoD’s Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) fund went to claimants who were stationed in the UK. Because all claimants must pay at least 10 per cent of the fees most ordinary soldiers are unable to afford to use the scheme to send their children to the top public schools which charge up to £40,000 a year. This means that almost exclusively it is the senior officer corps whose children go to Eton, Harrow and Prince Charles’s alma mater, Goudonstoun.”

NRU74
10th Nov 2018, 22:09
I’m surprised the Mods haven’t locked this thread, given that a Trial is currently in progress.
The defendant has pleaded NG and is entitled to put forward his defence without any inputs from social media which may possibly influence those sitting in judgment.

flash8
10th Nov 2018, 22:19
Somebody must of had it in for the good Colonel, he must have made quite a few enemies for all these allegations to come out, would have thought under normal circumstances any alleged issues would be dealt with way before criminal charges.

BehindBlueEyes
10th Nov 2018, 22:23
I’m surprised the Mods haven’t locked this thread, given that a Trial is currently in progress.
The defendant has pleaded NG and is entitled to put forward his defence without any inputs from social media which may possibly influence those sitting in judgment.




My understanding is Colonel Lee is being tried by court martial and a board of five of his fellow officers, so presumably procedures and formalities will not be the same as trial by public jury.

NRU74
10th Nov 2018, 22:47
My understanding is Colonel Lee is being tried by court martial and a board of five of his fellow officers, so presumably procedures and formalities will not be the same as trial by public jury.

But the same (binding) dictum of Lord Hewart in the (leading) Sussex Justices case applies which said that ‘ Not only must Justice be done, it must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’

They may not be influenced, but must make their decision on the eviidence heard (or still to be heard) without any inputs from external sources.

BehindBlueEyes
10th Nov 2018, 23:14
But the same (binding) dictum of Lord Hewart in the (leading) Sussex Justices case applies which said that ‘ Not only must Justice be done, it must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’

They may not be influenced, but must make their decision on the eviidence heard (or still to be heard) without any inputs from external sources.

Interesting point made by Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP:

“All juries are directed in robust terms about the need not to conduct their own research into the case. These robust instructions reflect the gravity of a juror’s task. Indeed, it is hard to think of a more serious or important civil duty that virtually any member of the public may be called upon to conduct.

It has always been necessary to direct jurors not to discuss the case with anyone, not to visit the scene of the crime, not to research the witnesses or defendant details. And now such directions extend to not researching the case on the internet.

To ignore those directions, intentionally, amounts to a contempt of court.”

parabellum
11th Nov 2018, 01:06
Judging by the evidence so far produced to show the colonel was not living at Odiham, this wasn't just a casual operation, the colonel and his family would have been under surveillance by the SIB. What initiated that one wonders? Did a fellow officer, a civil servant who had access to the details, or an Odiham neighbour tip off the local Provost Marshall? Before it ever became official how come no one had a quiet word in the colonels ear. Not condoning fraud, if it is proven as such, just curious to know how it was kept under wraps long enough to get to a GCM, my experience of the military is the old boys network usually comes into play long before any official action is taken. I am only guessing now, possibly a disapproving fellow officer or a civil servant who knew the route, or a neighbour, went straight to the top, thus keeping it off the desks of anyone who might have warned said colonel in time for him to change his arrangements. So what are the odds, a fellow officer, a civil servant or an Odiham neighbour?

BVRAAM
11th Nov 2018, 02:50
But should the public purse be funding private education anyway?

Yes, it should, and as a tax payer I have absolutely no problem with it.

Other uniformed services don't move their personnel around to different locations every 2-3 years, neither do they send Mum or Dad (or in some cases, both parents) away for several months of the year on various detachments and deployments.
If the military can't make life work for Service families, then experienced personnel will be more inclined to leave the Service when they have children. This is far more expensive in the long term than sending military children to private schools.

tescoapp
11th Nov 2018, 07:01
there is other setups,

The Queen Victoria School in Dunblane opened in 1908 for Scottish serving family's and those stationed there. Fee's are under 500 quid a term for the family's the rest is covered by the MOD. Although its the only one I am familiar with due mates that went there because of dad I am sure there are others.

https://www.qvs.school/

Pontius Navigator
11th Nov 2018, 08:40
despite the fact he spent the whole time living in the same house in the UK equidistant between two airfields . . .not quite what the system was designed for I believe !

That was after the fact. At the outset his poster would have given no promise that he would remain in the same location. Even in a 'static' location, say on a type with a single base, an HQ tour might intervene. Bases close and wings move.

The limiting factor is that the family home follows the flag. It might be argued that professional aircrew in a role with a single base might never move. True, they might not, but then they might.

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Pontius Navigator
11th Nov 2018, 08:44
This means that almost exclusively it is the senior officer corps whose children go to Eton, Harrow and Prince Charles’s alma mater, Goudonstoun.”

Not strictly true. I know of a flt lt and va non aircrew sqn ldr both of whom had children at Gordunston.

Pontius Navigator
11th Nov 2018, 08:51
This means that almost exclusively it is the senior officer corps whose children go to Eton, Harrow and Prince Charles’s alma mater, Goudonstoun.”

Not strictly true. I know of a flt lt and va non aircrew sqn ldr both of whom had children at Gordonstoun.

Certainly many cannot afford Winchester etc but there are scholarships and bursaries.

At my last school there were airmen's children.

tescoapp
11th Nov 2018, 08:55
The change of Kinloss to Army has screwed a few up in the RE. Bought houses up there thinking there is no way I can be based up there. Kids go to Gordunston Mrs has a place to stay to visit them and stay when hubby is deployed. Or they rent it out.

I suspect the col never expected to get to where is was or be based in HQ. Does anyone know what regiment/corps he was in before going Staff?

Pontius Navigator
11th Nov 2018, 08:57
There is a Royal Military School in Dover, and Welbeck College. My brother in law, a retired PC, sent his son to Welbeck, thence Newcastle and Dartmouth.

flash8
11th Nov 2018, 22:16
Judging by the evidence so far produced to show the colonel was not living at Odiham, this wasn't just a casual operation, the colonel and his family would have been under surveillance by the SIB. What initiated that one wonders? Did a fellow officer, a civil servant who had access to the details, or an Odiham neighbour tip off the local Provost Marshall? Before it ever became official how come no one had a quiet word in the colonels ear. Not condoning fraud, if it is proven as such, just curious to know how it was kept under wraps long enough to get to a GCM, my experience of the military is the old boys network usually comes into play long before any official action is taken. I am only guessing now, possibly a disapproving fellow officer or a civil servant who knew the route, or a neighbour, went straight to the top, thus keeping it off the desks of anyone who might have warned said colonel in time for him to change his arrangements. So what are the odds, a fellow officer, a civil servant or an Odiham neighbour?

See my previous post:

Somebody must of had it in for the good Colonel, he must have made quite a few enemies for all these allegations to come out, would have thought under normal circumstances any alleged issues would be dealt with way before criminal charges.

I concur completely!

Ancient Observer
11th Nov 2018, 22:19
The private skools make lots of loot through the military "arrangements", but even more from the church and the charities.
It is all a con.

Pay for it, or put the children in to local skools.

charliegolf
12th Nov 2018, 10:35
Somebody must of had it in for the good Colonel, he must have made quite a few enemies for all these allegations to come out, would have thought under normal circumstances any alleged issues would be dealt with way before criminal charges.

Two points of order, M'lud...

The colonel isn't that 'good', or he'd have been a bit smarter at the fraud (if he did commit fraud), and
If he did commit fraud, he's a bad colonel.

If guilty, he's also an idiot. Week one at Swinderby it was explained very clearly. Fastest way to Colchester: steal from the public purse. Sandhurst probably felt they had no need to explain that to the creme de la creme.

CG

parabellum
12th Nov 2018, 10:46
Least likely outcome. Severe Reprimand, loss of seniority, repay money back.

BehindBlueEyes
12th Nov 2018, 16:20
Least likely outcome. Severe Reprimand, loss of seniority, repay money back.

£98,306.80 is a heck of a lot to repay.

i assume a few fellow officers may well be revising their applications too.

State schools receive a payment called Pupil Premium for every forces child - irrespective of rank. These funds are specifically to support education and welfare of these pupils. Having worked in the sector, OFSTED inspectors will expect every school to account for the funding and will always ask for evidence that it has been spent appropriately and only on military families. We certainly had to ensure that the students had additional classroom support and provide evidence of this plus giving them extra emotional/pastorall support - whether the parents were on active duty or not. This is part of the Armed Services Covenant.

G-CPTN
12th Nov 2018, 16:33
'Phone records. (https://www.andoveradvertiser.co.uk/news/17214005.colonel-and-wifes-phone-data-analysed-in-school-fees-fraud-trial/)

teeteringhead
12th Nov 2018, 17:06
It is not just for school fees, but it ensures Continuity of Education for the child (There's a clue in the name...)

Only used it during one tour, when senior daughter and son-and-heir were at critical educational phases (she her 6th form, he the two years running up to GCSE.)

They were at a (good) State School which - unusually but not uniquely in the Public sector - had a Boarding House. Obvious solution: board them both for two years and keep them at the same school. The allowance did what it said on the tin, and helped pay the cost of Boarding. Seems fair to me........

Pontius Navigator
12th Nov 2018, 17:11
From that link, lots of holes. I know someone found not guilty of a similar offence - too many holes.

I suspect it may be difficult to prove his wife was not resident at unit. At many boarding schools pupils go home at the weekend. They could legitimately go to the family home.

There will be many other reasons why the wife was not in RAS at specific dates.
​​​​​

BehindBlueEyes
12th Nov 2018, 17:34
It is not just for school fees, but it ensures Continuity of Education for the child (There's a clue in the name...)

Only used it during one tour, when senior daughter and son-and-heir were at critical educational phases (she her 6th form, he the two years running up to GCSE.)

They were at a (good) State School which - unusually but not uniquely in the Public sector - had a Boarding House. Obvious solution: board them both for two years and keep them at the same school. The allowance did what it said on the tin, and helped pay the cost of Boarding. Seems fair to me........

TH, that’s exactly how and what the facility should be used for. It makes perfect sense at a crucial time to minimise educational disruption.

I actually live near and mix in social circles where there are officers who have not been posted or relocated for 15 years but have still managed to educate their families at a hugely discounted cost for the whole of the children’s school career. One could argue that maybe it was just luck and they didn’t know when they might be posted, but isn’t that the point? The Continuity of Education Allowance should only be used when notice of deployment is given. My officer acquaintances seem to know 6+ months in advance that it is likely, but most of them send their kids to boarding school as soon as they can - usually at 8 years old, even when there is nothing on the horizon.

Pontius Navigator
12th Nov 2018, 22:00
BBE, work it out:

Each stage of education from 8 takes about 3 years. A ground branch officer will often get a posting every 2 years. An aircrew tour may be slightly longer but posting will still occur during a phase of education. However not all aircrew will be posted and may thus be static for 15 years, but that is only possible through hindsight.

I mentioned a flt lt with children at Gordunstoun. He had been on Buccaneers at Lossiemouth and potentially posted. He was indeed posted to Lincolnshire when the Buccaneers were disbanded. Two years later he was posted again . None of that was known when the children were first sent to school but it was possible.

Captivep
12th Nov 2018, 22:07
Leaving aside, for a moment, the alleged fraudulent aspects of this case, it is extraordinary that servicepeople can get these sort of education costs paid. I grew up as a forces brat and went to primary and secondary schools (King's School, BFPO 47) provided by the BFES and was well used to changing schools every couple of years. Continuity of education was not required for me to go on to university...

A post up thread mentions a figure of almost £100,000! I trust that these extraordinary payments are taxable?

Pontius Navigator
13th Nov 2018, 08:10
Captivep, they are net of tax. They would gross up your pay with BSA/CEA for tax which was then transferring back to the Treasury.

Your point of changing schools being no bar to a university education is perfectly valid for you. In the case of others they may need the stability. Or the disruption might be at critical times: a term before exams; a change of education system -Scottish English;
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farsouth
13th Nov 2018, 22:19
Acquitted -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-wiltshire-46199060

k3k3
14th Nov 2018, 00:16
Although neighbours said they had seldom seen him or his wife and appear to have been the source of the tip-off that commenced the investigation, when the police raided their home they found the family dog in the house and his wife arrived home from work during the search.

If the dog is there and the wife came home from work while they were there, why did the RMP SIB not just go home?

cavortingcheetah
14th Nov 2018, 00:57
Most members of the armed forces that I have ever met, anywhere, have a sense to entitlement to perks at the expense of the tax payer that I find outrageous. Nonetheless, in the matter of free and surplus schooling, I rather incline to the view that Britain needs all the educated children it can get and that private schools provide a better educational ethos than state ones. Private schools also tend to foster networking in the workplace. I am pleased to say that I do not have the green eyed syndrome that views every act of nepotism, or even cronyism, as a dreadful slight to society.
If some children are lucky enough to obtain funding through a first class education, at tax payers expense, at schools such as Winchester or Eton then almost inevitably as they progress through life they will contribute something to the country, even if its only a vast sum of tax because they've all eschewed the military for the city.

Pontius Navigator
14th Nov 2018, 08:35
If the dog is there . . . ?
Where was the Colonel? I thought all black labs kept their officers in a short leashe.