All items from ForcesWatch

25/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Are 16 and 17 year olds developmentally mature enough to make rational decisions about enlisting and once they have joined? The Chair of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania says: 16 years olds "may be more prone to being stressed, to maybe malfunctioning under stress and also not using more rational a decision making approach when they are in that split second."

24/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This week the long-awaited consideration of the UK's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child takes place. There are numerous issues being discussed, including many ways in which the rights of children are compromised or not adequately recognised by UK authorities.

Also under scrutiny is the recruitment of 16 and 17 year olds, who are still legally children, into the UK armed forces, and UK's lack of education provision on peace and human rights. As an open letter to the MoD points out, the youngest recruits are 'actively sought' for frontline roles.

12/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Lauren Bryden & Poppy Kohner explore the implications of Rosie Kay’s production of 5 Soldiers: The Body Is The Frontline, a dance piece exploring the ‘physicality’ of war and its effect on soldiers' bodies.  While captivating and enlightening, does placing the body at the centre of the narrative of war obscure political comment on what these bodies do and, crucially, why they do it? The support of the production by the British Army and their presence at the event raises important questions about the role of the military in public arts spaces.

24/03/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Before the closing date of our petition to the Scottish Parliament on military visits to state schools in Scotland, the ForcesWatch team went on the road to spread the word and raise awareness of the issue.

16/03/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This article, summarising our work, was first published on the White Feather Diaries website"Publishing the diaries of conscientious objectors of WWI. To refuse to kill is a cause worth dying for."

10/02/2016
  • ForcesWatch welcomes the Education Committee’s inquiry. We strongly believe that a key purpose of education in England should be to equip students with the ability to think critically. This will help students make informed decisions about issues and institutions which is both a crucial life skill, and will aid them to contribute to the improvement of our democracy and our society.
  • Currently, the UK military has significant, and growing, influence in the UK education system which raises a number of concerns around critical thinking about the military, armed forces careers, and issues of peace and conflict resolution. These pro-military messages are not balanced by the inclusion of a structured framework for peace education within the curriculum, and the UK government is failing to implement recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as a result.
  • We outline a range of general educational and more detailed concerns and questions that need to be addressed in the wake of the growing influence of the military in education.
  • We make a number of recommendations for ensuring wider public debate and consultation around these developments and increasing the monitoring and oversight of military involvement in schools.
26/02/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Good news – after months of hard work ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland have now formally submitted our petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for an inquiry into armed forces visits to schools. We are urging MSPs to strike a ‘new deal’ on armed forces visits to schools, ensuring greater scrutiny, transparency and guidance over visits.

There’s already been a hugely positive response to the petition, with more than four hundred signatories in the first four days. You too can sign it, whether you live in Scotland or not. You’ll find it here and it’s live until the 20th March.

16/02/2016 press release

ForcesWatch – which scrutinises the military – and Quakers in Scotland, are today formally launching a petition at Holyrood calling for increased transparency and scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools.

27/01/2016

Sources and further information regarding the ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland petition to the Scottish Parliament on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland. 

20/01/2016 press release

ForcesWatch is calling on the Scottish government to resist attempts to introduce Cadet units into the country’s state secondary schools.

05/01/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Take part in the Education Committee's 'purpose and quality of education' in England inquiry! Here's a short guide on how to make a quick submission that emphasises the importance of critical thinking education.

16/12/2015 press release

Ahead of the House of Commons debate on the Armed Forces Bill on Wednesday 16 December, ForcesWatch has published a new report calling for a change in the law ending military recruitment under 18 years of age.

15/12/2015

This report highlights seven recommendations from the Defence Committee’s report Duty of Care: Third Report of Session 2004-05which have not been partially or fully implemented, and around which substantial concerns remain.

ForcesWatch recommends that:

  • The manner in which the armed forces meet their recruitment needs must not jeopardise the best interests of young people, and that the recruitment of under-18s should stop.
  • That the Defence Committee commission thorough, independent review of the policy of recruiting 16 and 17 year olds into the armed forces.
  • That the other Duty of Care report recommendations discussed here are implemented without further delay and that the MoD report to the Defence Committee on their progress in implementing them.
  • That the Defence Committee review the Duty of Care report and request that the MoD account for its implementation or otherwise of all remaining recommendations.
11/11/2015 ForcesWatch comment

We explore remembrance within education in the context of the plethora of military activities, commemorations, celebrations and military values that schools are being encouraged to take on. And, in the light of, the absence of a compulsory and organised curriculum of peace education within UK schools, our new report shows.

10/11/2015

Alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Occasion of the UK's fifth periodic review report

This report highlights that peace education is not being promoted in schools. This is counter to the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to the UK Government that peace education should be part of the curriculum. 

This raises concerns particularly with the increased promotion of the military within schools through the Department for Education's 'military ethos' programme and free military-related learning resources, and as the armed forces continue to conduct a substantial 'youth engagement' programme. 

This report focuses on:

  • The absence of a compulsory and organised curriculum of peace education within UK schools.
  • The increased promotion of the military within the educational system by the Government and by the armed forces.
  • Concerns regarding this activity taking place within education, including the process of recruitment to the armed forces.