A theatre production, which has been commissioned by Scotland’s armed forces children’s charity, which tackles loss and separation as experienced through the eyes of a young boy with a parent on deployment, is performing a six week tour of Scottish schools…

‘This is My Life’, has been commissioned by the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), and is touring Scottish primary schools for a second year running thanks to funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

Nearly 60 schools have signed up to see this year’s tour which will take in Greater Glasgow, Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Fife, Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Angus, with around 10,000 primary 4 – 7 pupils expected to attend the free 55 minute performance.

‘This is My Life’, produced by Glasgow based Hopscotch Theatre Company, follows the story of Kevin who misses his dad and also has to face the challenges of taking on extra responsibilities at home, whilst adjusting to life at a new school. The story is about how Kevin learns to cope with fear, loss and bullying in order to find hope, self-confidence, trust and friendship.

RCET’s Education Manager, Moira Leslie explains: “Living with the day-to-day reality of deployment can prove particularly challenging for some children as they struggle to come to terms with their emotions and the additional responsibilities at home. Many children cope very well, but in others we see relationships at school being affected, behavioural issues and sometimes evidence of disrupted learning. ‘This is My Life’, aims to bring these issues to the fore so that we can foster better understanding, encourage children to talk about how they feel, and show them that they are not alone.”

Moira Leslie says it’s not only children of armed forces families who will stand to benefit from seeing a performance. “For children growing up with a serving parent in the forces these issues can be exacerbated by frequent moving, which makes the situation for armed forces children rather unique. That said, many of the same emotions – anger, loss, pride and fear – will also be familiar to children who have a parent who works offshore or has a job that takes them away for long periods, therefore we believe many pupils will be able to relate to Kevin’s story and benefit from the production.”

To assist teachers, the RCET has also produced a DVD of the 2015 production. This includes a teaching section on the issues highlighted within the production and a resource pack with suggestions for follow up class activities to allow staff and pupils to explore these issues in greater depth.

As well as providing educational resources, training for professionals and organisations, and support for children and young people from armed forces families, the RCET also provides grants to children of serving, veteran and reservist families who are experiencing financial difficulties or living with ill health and disability.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served and their families are treated fairly. The RCET was awarded £19,460 from the Community Integration Fund, which seeks to achieve closer integration and understanding between civilian and military communities