6 Mar 2015: Children in State Schools to complete “readiness for war” education projects
A government-issued teaching resource which includes a task asking pupils to devise a plan for going to war, is presenting a “sanitised” and “positive” view of life in the armed forces, claims a prominent educationalist and citizenship expert.
In a report joint-issued by campaign groups “ForcesWatch” and Quakers in Britain about the ‘British Armed Forces Learning Resource’ A former director of curriculum resources at the Citizenship Foundation accused the government of trying to boost recruitment through a “biased” piece of literature.
He said: “Its aims, judging from the text, appear to be to present a positive, sometimes sanitised, view of the armed forces, to boost recruitment, and advocate for more combined cadet forces in schools. I believe this is completely unacceptable, and that the document should be withdrawn and redeveloped in such a way that students can be enabled to learn about the role of the military in our society and in national and international affairs in a way which is educationally-sound, balanced, and which respects the rights to freedom of belief of students and their families.”
A government spokesman said that The learning resource had been commissioned by the office of the prime minister with the support of the Department for Education (DfE) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) and its aims were entirely consistent with the government’s strategy to promote a ‘military ethos in schools’.”
The resource pack includes a foreword by the prime minister, five chapters of information about the armed forces, and a series of suggested activities. One suggested activity stated: “Devise a plan for how to go to war. Include how you will get there, what equipment and people you will need.”
5 May 2016: The number of cadet units in state schools is to increase five-fold by 2020, George Osborne announced in the Summer Budget.
The Chancellor pledged to create cadet forces in 500 state schools. Most would be in “less affluent areas”. According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), as of April 1 last year there were about 131,000 cadets in the UK, divided between the Combined Cadet Force (42,950), a scheme run through schools, and the Army Cadet Force (41,000).
A Treasury spokesperson said that the money required, £50million would not be diverted from schools but would instead come from fines levied on banks. “In the last government, £450 million was given to support military causes and emergency services. This builds on that repertoire. “This has been billed as a priority for the government and the initiative was launched by the prime minister in 2012, when he said he would increase the number of cadet units. This will make sure there is the same quality of cadet experience across all schools.”
Last year, David Cameron announced a £1 million bursary scheme for state school cadet units, funded with fines from banks caught up in the Libor rate-fixing scandal. On top of this bursary, Mr Cameron pledged £11 million in 2012 to set up a further 100 cadet units in state schools by 2015 under the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP).
The Combined Cadet Force says on its website: “The CEP is part of the Government’s aim of promoting military ethos in schools; to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country. “This means pupils developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience, which will help them achieve excellence and shape their future.”
Details for the scheme are still minimal. The Summer Budget document states: “CEP £50 million – to increase the number of cadet units in state schools to 500 by 2020.”
The MoD recently faced criticism after Schools Week revealed last month that it had requested access to sensitive data in the National Pupil Database so it could “target its messaging” around military careers.
A spokesperson for “ForcesWatch”, a campaign group scrutinising army recruitment policies, said: “This is a huge amount of money to fund yet more military activities in schools at the expense of universal provision which is accessible to all students.”
4 Oct 2016: Armed Forces cadet units are to be set up in 150 schools
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced the first of the new units would be established in Birmingham’s Rockwood Academy to boost efforts to instil ‘British values.’
On his visit to the school, he said: “This used to be a ‘Trojan Horse’ school. “It has been turned around completely and instead of promoting religious segregation, today, as a new academy, it is instilling British values with a school cadet unit that will parade this afternoon, serving the Queen and country.”
He added the Armed Forces were driving opportunity for young people across the country. He said: Look at how the Armed Forces provide the most apprenticeships. Helping people develop skills that benefit our military – setting set them up for better careers in civilian life.I am setting a target to deliver 50,000 apprenticeships over this Parliament.”
Mr Fallon rehearsed attacks on the Labour Party over Trident and wider defence policy – insisting ‘waving the white flag’ would not keep the country safe. He said instead, the Conservative Government was investing in a new generation of equipment and tackling threats from ISIS, Russia and North Korea.
But the shadow defence secretary, dismissed the speech. He said: “Michael Fallon’s speech was a smokescreen, designed to deflect from the Tories legacy of failure on defence. The reality is their devastating cuts since 2010 have weakened and demoralised our Armed Forces, leaving them poorly-equipped, over-stretched, under-paid and too often living in squalid conditions.The Tory obsession with cost-cutting means they are not even using British steel to build our ships and vehicles. ‘They have systematically undermined our industrial communities, ripping up Labour’s Defence Industrial Strategy and spending billions overseas, instead of investing in British jobs and British steel. For Labour, our Armed Forces personnel and veterans will always come first. We will tackle the decline of wages and pensions, the decay of on-base housing and the shocking lack of support for veterans.”
8 Feb 2017: Fallons Nose out of joint as Scottish government rules out Army Cadet Force units in Scottish state schools
Army cadet units will not be permitted to operate in state schools north of the Border, the Scottish Government has confirmed. Ministers said there was no change to the long-standing policy in Scotland that units could not be based at council-run schools.
The intervention came after UK defence minister Sir Michael Fallon suggested he wanted more units to be allowed in Scotland during a discussion about a pilot project at Maxwelltown High School, in Dumfries (Mundell’s seat of power).
A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “There is no proposal being progressed to introduce a UK Government scheme to establish cadet units in Scottish schools. “The pilot at Maxwelltown High School is significantly different to the UK Government scheme, which we have made clear is not suitable for introduction in Scotland’s schools because it does not contribute to the curriculum. Instead of separate cadet units, our approach is focused on how voluntary youth organisation the Army Cadet Force can contribute to the Scottish curriculum as part of our national youth work strategy.”
Note: Forces recruitment is at an all time low and shows no sign of recovery. The introduction of cadet units in state run schools is advance planning by Fallon who will be hoping the measures will produce an increase in recruits. Hence the reference to 50,000 apprenticeships”