April is Month of the Military Child, an annual event to celebrate children and young people from Armed Forces and Veteran families across the globe.

Children from the Armed Forces communities can experience a life very different and unique to that of their civilian peers, often facing specific challenges and obstacles, especially in relation to education.

Research suggests that there are around 12,500 children and young people with an Armed Forces background in Scottish education right now and they are present in all 32 council areas.

Month of the Military Child is a welcome opportunity to highlight the unique identity and experience of these children and young people and help ensure they feel heard, are seen, and their lives better understood. 

The month is co-ordinated by Forces Children Scotland and anyone looking for more information or support can contact the charity via https://forceschildrenscotland.org.uk.

On a related issue, I was pleased to see that Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion have launched a new plastic-free poppy. It has the same iconic design, but is now made 100% from paper, so it can easily be recycled.

This is a great innovation which demonstrates their commitment to being more sustainable. I welcome the change and look forward to wearing mine with pride when they become available in October.

Finally, this week saw exams get underway for tens of thousands of pupils across East Lothian and the rest of Scotland who will sit National 5, Higher and Advanced Highers.

I want to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all of the young people sitting their exams. This year’s exams are taking place against a backdrop of years of Covid disruption and an overhaul of Scotland’s qualification system.

We will find out more about these plans when the Hayward report is published next month, but whatever reform is proposed must bring clear benefits for our young people and teachers.