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New post will aid military families hit by spending cuts

A national post is being created to support military families affected by the upheaval caused by cuts in defence spending.

A national post is being created to support military families affected by the upheaval caused by cuts in defence spending.

The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland has been awarded pound;70,000 by the Ministry of Defence to cover the salary and associated costs of the post, whose base has yet to be determined.

The postholder will play an "essential" role in minimising the impact on thousands of families in Scotland as large numbers of personnel leave their homes and others arrive, said Fife area education officer John McLaughlin.

Mr McLaughlin's area covers RAF Leuchars, which is to close, leaving RAF Lossiemouth, in Moray, as Scotland's only air-force base.

"We have a major piece of work to do to support families moving to Lossiemouth," said Mr McLaughlin.

While the inward and outward flow of military families is not new, the current scale of change is of a different order, with the MoD seeking to cuts tens of thousands of jobs by 2015.

For that reason it is providing, over four years, a pound;3 million support fund to communities across the UK.

Mr McLaughlin said that Fife had been told it would receive pound;142,000 in the most recent round of awards, although full details have yet to be announced.

Two awards, of pound;46,000 and pound;161,000, went to Forres Academy and its associated primary schools in the first round.

Nearby RAF Kinloss in Moray has been reduced to a skeletal operation; but that will change in the summer as, in its place, more than 900 Army personnel arrive from the 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support), near Cambridge.

A Forres Academy depute head, Evan Cameron, has been seconded to a support role in his authority. Meanwhile, a new one-year post of services liaison officer, ideally with experience of Scottish and English curricula and a services background, is being created by Moray Council.

Forres Academy headteacher Laurence Findlay said the school would take a fresh look at how it works with forces children, who in 2010 made up 214 of the school's 1,068 pupils.

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