All items from ForcesWatch

18/10/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This article was first published in the Morning Star.

The Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, recently announced that 25 out of 150 proposed new school cadet units would soon be opening. Despite the presentation of this development as new policy, the Cadet Expansion Programme promoting cadet forces in state schools, was first announced in 2012. While the Government heralds the cadets as a silver bullet in terms of improving pupil attainment and development, the sight of ranks of pupils as young as 12 in military gear and handling weapons will ring alarm bells for many. That this is happening within education raises additional concerns.

21/09/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Back in March we asked Holyrood to ensure ‘guidance is provided to schools', ‘information is collected to provide public monitoring’ and ‘parents/guardians are consulted’ when it comes to visits by the military. Last week we gave evidence to the Public Petitions Committee.

13/09/2016 press release

A petition calling for increased transparency and scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools in Scotland comes before Holyrood this Thursday 15 September.

13/07/2016 press release

ForcesWatch is raising ‘serious concerns’ about aspects of the Farnborough International Air Show designed to engage children and young people in careers and ‘exciting’ activities. The‘air show’ is taking place this coming weekend. Associated events this week include a major arms fair, civil aerospace exhibition and hosting of military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

23/06/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This letter from ForcesWatch staff member Douglas Beattie was first published in the Camden New Journal on 23 June 2016 in response to Camden Council's support of Armed Forces Day.

02/06/2016 press release

With the new inquest verdict into the death of Cheryl James at Deepcut, ForcesWatch is calling on Ministers to implement important recommendations for young recruits made in 2005.

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."

  • 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.


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