our projects

Advocating for change

ForcesWatch's work includes raising the following issues in Parliament, the media and the armed forces:

  • concerns over the recruitment of under 18 year olds
  • terms of service are complicated, confusing and severely restricting, yet unlike any other employment, breaching them can lead to a criminal conviction
  • the system for registering a conscientious objection is opaque and little information about it is available to serving personnel
  • those in the armed forces are excluded from much human rights legislation. They are not allowed to form a union, speak in public or join political organisations

In 2011, we worked with other organisations to use the opportunity presented by the Armed Forces Act, which provides the basis for military law in the UK, to raise these issues relating to human rights in the armed forces. We continue to press for changes in the recruitment age to 18 years old in line with international standards..

Campaigning to raise the minimum age of recruitment to 18 years

The minimum age for enlisting in the UK armed forces is 16.  The UK is the only country in Europe and the only country on the UN Security Council to recruit 16 year olds into its armed forces and is one of fewer than 20 countries in the world which recruit from the age of 16 years.  Those who sign on when 16 or 17 must serve until they are 22.

The recruitment of minors has been criticised by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Parliament’s own Joint Committee on Human Rights and a number of charities. Phasing out recruitment of under-18s would bring the UK into line with international human rights standards. It would provide greater protection for the rights of young people and it would mean that adults could not be held to commitments made as minors. See more on concerns about recruiting under 18s

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: October 2013: as part of the Government response to the Defence Committee's report, The Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Part 4: Education of Service Personnel, the Government have agreed 'that the Armed Forces should undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the recruitment of U18s and work has been set in hand with the Army to look at this.' This is a significant step forward and ForcesWatch will be urging the Government to consider all the costs, not just the financial, particularly those borne by individual recruits, when reviewing the issue.

See more of our campaign work on raising the age of recruitment below 

Campaigning to increase awareness about conscientious objection

Life in the armed forces can have a significant effect on the outlook and attitudes of those who undertake it.  Exposure to warfare can radically alter a person’s values and beliefs. 

The armed forces recognise the right of serving personnel to be discharged if they develop a conscientious objection.  But this right is not set out clearly in legislation, is not mentioned in the terms of service and many, perhaps most, forces personnel are unaware of it.  The system for registering a conscientious objection is opaque and little information about it is easily available. Legislation that fully upholds the right to conscientious objection and makes its procedures accessible and transparent should be passed.

Read our briefing on Conscientious Objection in the UK Armed Forces

See more on conscientious objection here

Campaigning to improve terms and conditions of service within the armed forces

Employment in the armed forces is unique in placing severe restrictions on rights and freedoms that are available to the rest of the UK population.  The armed forces are also the only employers in the UK who legally require their employees to commit themselves for several years, with the risk of a criminal conviction if they try to leave sooner.

This situation is all the more worrying given that the majority of recruits are very young.  There is also evidence that many personnel are unclear about the length of their commitment and their rights to leave and that the information they receive can be misleading.

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: On 19 June 2011, the government announced that it would give teenage soldiers the right to leave the armed forces up until age 18 if they are unhappy. With other organisations, ForcesWatch has been campaigning for under-18s to have the right to leave the forces, and we welcome this development - see more. This is a significant improvement on the current situation which gives under 18s the right to leave only between the 2nd and 6th month of service. Additionally, the legislation allows for a possible reduction in the notice period of 12 months for those aged over 18. These changes came into force in July 2011 - read more here. We will continue to monitor whether recruits are made aware of these new rights.

Read our briefing on Terms of Service in the UK Armed Forces

For more on this issue see here

recent campaigning news & resources

Defence Committee report challenges the MoD (again) to produce a 'robust and thorough' review of under 18 recruitment

6 March 2014: The Defence Select Committee have today released their report of inquiry into the MoD's Future Army 2020 plan. Amid the concerns about the strategy of increasing the proportion of reservists in relation to regular forces, the report calls on the MoD “to respond in detail to the argument that the Army could phase out the recruitment of minors without detriment to the Army 2020 plans”. Read our submission to the inquiry here.

Read more

Raising the age of recruitment: an open letter and a cautious welcome of the MoD review

8 November 2013: ForcesWatch are among 24 signatories of an open letter to Mark Francois MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces which calls for an end to the recruitment of under-18s.. The signatories include the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales, the Unitarian Church and Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and Quaker groups and Child Soldiers International. The letter notes that as the centenary of the outbreak of World War One approaches, the recruitment and deployment age of British soldiers is lower now than it was a century ago. The signatories call on the Ministry to raise the recruitment age to 18 as a “fitting memorial” to the thousands of young soldiers killed in World War One.

ForcesWatch welcomes the statement by the Government that it "agrees that the Armed Forces should undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the recruitment of U18s" but we are concerned that it be as independent and transparent as possible and cover all the issues affecting the welfare of young recruits within the armed forces. Despite commissioning the review, the MoD continue to maintain that "There are currently no plans to revisit the Government's recruitment policy for under-18s".

Read more 

The Last Ambush? Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces

28 October 2013

This report from ForcesWatch, shows that young soldiers recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds are substantially more likely than other troops to return from war experiencing problems with their mental health. It calls for the policy of recruiting from age 16 to be reviewed so that the greatest burden of risk is not left to the youngest, most vulnerable recruits to shoulder.

Download the full report (PDF 1294kb)

Download the Executive Summary (PDF 268kb)

Young age at Army enlistment is associated with greater war zone risks: An analysis of British Army fatalities in Afghanistan

August 2013

This paper, published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, indicates that the risk of fatality in Afghanistan for British Army recruits aged 16 and completed training has been twice as high as it has for those enlisting at 18 or above. This increased risk reflects the disproportionately high number of 16 year olds who join front-line Infantry roles. This is mainly the result of recruitment policies which drive the youngest recruits into the Army’s most dangerous roles.

ForcesWatch submission to Future Army 2020 inquiry

June 2013

ForcesWatch's submission to the Defence Committee's inquiry Future Army 2020, which recomments an evaluation of the case for an independent review of the minimum age of recruitment into the Army with a view to recruiting only adults (aged 18 and above) in the future, looking at five reasons why the time is right for this.

One Step Forward: The case for ending recruitment of minors by the British armed forces

April 2013

This report published by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch outlines the numerous ethical and legal concerns related to rhe recruitment of under-18s, including the disproportionately high level of risk they face and long-term consequences for their employability, as well as detailing how much more it costs than recruiting only adults.

Mind the Gap: Education for minors in the British armed forces

July 2012

The minimum recruitment age for the British armed forces – 16 years – is one of the lowest in the world. The Ministry of Defence has traditionally justified recruiting from this age group by asserting that 16 years reflects the minimum statutory school leaving age.

This report concludes that the impact of recruitment below the age of 18 opens up a number of gaps that have long term significance, not only for the armed forces but also for the young people that they recruit. At a time of considerable downsizing of the army in particular, the large gap between the cost of training minors (who cannot be deployed operationally) and adults (who can) is difficult to sustain. But perhaps the most significant cost is in the detrimental impact that the gaps identified have on the future prospects of minors recruited by our armed forces.

Catch 16-22: Recruitment and retention of minors in the British Armed Forces

March 2011

This report, published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "challenges the status quo currently surrounding the situation of young people in the UK armed forces today. It questions the ethics and legality of the restrictions on young recruits’ rights of discharge, their minimum period of service, and their exposure to the risk of hostilities. The report also makes the case for a considered review and debate on the minimum recruitment age. It highlights the evidence that not only is the experience of recruits in the 16 – 18 age bracket adversely affected by their relative lack of maturity, but that their high drop-out rate results in millions of pounds in wasted expenditure."

Sign the petition to raise the age of recruitment in 2014

November 2013: We call on the UK Government to stop its policy of allowing 15 year olds to apply and 16 and 17 year olds to be recruited into the Armed Forces.
Sign petition   Download paper version

British army: one young recruit's story

related news

06/03/2014 Child Soldiers International press release

The Defence Select Committee has increased the pressure on the MoD to stop enlisting minors, in a report published today.

"We call for the minimum recruitment age to be returned to 18 years. This would be a fitting memorial to those thousands who, whether unlawfully recruited as minors during the First World War or recruited to fight in other conflicts, were exposed to death, injury and trauma that no child should ever experience."

08/11/2013 Wales Online

The Ministry of Defence has come under pressure from the Church in Wales and campaign group Child Soldiers International which is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army

08/11/2013 Child Soldiers International

Recruitment of 16-year-olds down 40% on previous year; former Armed Forces minister says “Time is right” to review recruitment age

01/11/2013 The Guardian

After telling the Guardian it would not be revisiting its recruitment policy the MoD is doing exactly that

28/10/2013 ForcesWatch press release

Young soldiers recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds are substantially more likely than other troops to return from war experiencing problems with their mental health, says a wide-ranging report published today by human rights group ForcesWatch.

28/10/2013 The Guardian

Britain is one of just 19 countries that still recruit 16-year-olds to the armed forces. A new report from ForcesWatch claims that younger recruits are more likely to suffer from PTSD, alcohol problems and suicide than those who join as adults. This video tells the story of David Buck who joined the army at 17 but now feels he was conned by misleading recruitment marketing.

28/10/2013 The Guardian

Former soldiers criticise MoD recruitment practices, with Britain one of only 19 countries to allow 16-year-olds to join up

28/10/2013 BBC Newsbeat article and video

Soldiers who join the Army as teenagers are more likely to suffer from mental health problems after being deployed, a new report suggests.

28/10/2013 Wales Online

Forces Watch report calls for the minimum age of recruitment to be raised to 18 to avoid exposing the youngest soldiers to the most trauma

28/10/2013 British Forces News film report

Young soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, according to a report out today published by lobby group Forces Watch.

The Military in Society

ForcesWatch observe and respond to ways in which the military is being promoted as a normal part of everyday life. We believe that uncritical support for the armed forces stifles concerns about how young people are recruited and limits debate on alternatives to war.

The government are looking to the military to provide solutions to social problems. For example, the Department for Education are promoting 'military skills and ethos' in national education policy as a response to the crisis they perceive in education. The armed forces already make thousands of visits to schools and colleges in the UK. Are military-led activities and a military approach appropriate within education? What about aspects of military ethos which are different to the values of education around issues of critical thinking and obedience, for example? Is the operation of the chain of command, such as within school-based cadet forces, appropriate within an educational setting?

The military are increasingly visible at public events such as the 2012 Olympics. The armed forces were involved in the event in many ways, from security to attendance at ceremonies. Is the presence of armed security and missiles on rooftops the future for public events? How does this determine the acceptable level of arms and armed forces seen in our public spaces?

In recent years, the act of remembrance has taken on a celebratory dimension. Remembrance of those who have suffered in war has been made inseparable from supporting 'our heroes' active in recent and ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of veterans have expressed concern that the poppy is becoming politicised on the one hand and increasingly like show business on the other - see below.

Many other ways in which the military is becoming more visible in everyday life can be traced back to the 2008 Report of Inquiry into the National Recognition of the Armed Forces. This report recommended 40 measures for 'increasing visibility', 'improving contact', 'building understanding' and 'encouraging support' for the armed forces. Measures include more support for homecoming parades; more involvement of the armed forces in schools and the expansion of the cadet forces; and, the establishment of Armed Forces Day.

More recent policy will also have an impact on the involvement of the armed forces in civilian life. The Armed Forces Community Covenants are a kind of contract between local communities and their armed forces "to support the service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community". By late 2012 half of all UK local authorities had signed a covenant and £5 million of central government funding had been given for promotion and grants to local initiatives including those in schools and play activities.  The Future Reserves policy will increase the role of the reserve forces as the size of regular forces are reduced. This will require a greater commitment from society in order to attract a larger number of people to the reserves. The consultation document of 2012 identified that changing relationships with employers, education and reservists themselves would be needed.

As the armed forces become embedded further into civilian life and their needs prioritised, what is the impact of these policies on public life in the UK? Are we creating a society in which it will become very difficult for young people to develop a critical awareness about military issues? Will they have the awareness they need to make an informed decisions about joining up? Will alternatives to war look less feasible? How will this affect them and wider society as a whole?

The Poppy

David Gee, ForcesWatch, 07/11/2013

When I was about seven, my dad took me to the local Remembrance Day memorial. Neatly turned-out elderly men were stood in equally neat rows while The Last Post was played. I wondered why everyone looked so sad. Dad said it was because their friends had been killed in the war; this day was to remember them. I wore a poppy then and I am glad that I did.

 

A photo from the British Legion website showing children wearing 'Future Soldier' t-shirts - the poppy as remembrance or as a recruitment tool?  Contact them if you are concerned by this exploitation of remembrance and young people.

Read more here


 

Poppies and 'Heroes'

5 November 2010

The Guardian

A letter from veterans of a number of conflicts about the the Poppy Appeal and the idea of 'heroism' that it promotes was published in The Guardian and The Independent. One of the signatories, Ben Griffin, is Patron of ForcesWatch.

 

The Poppy Appeal is once again subverting Armistice Day. A day that should be about peace and remembrance is turned into a month-long drum roll of support for current wars. This year's campaign has been launched with showbiz hype. The true horror and futility of war is forgotten and ignored.

The public are being urged to wear a poppy in support of "our Heroes". There is nothing heroic about being blown up in a vehicle. There is nothing heroic about being shot in an ambush and there is nothing heroic about fighting in an unnecessary conflict.

Remembrance should be marked with the sentiment "Never Again".

Ben Griffin (Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq)

Ben Hayden (Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq)

Terry Wood (Northern Ireland, Falklands)

Ken Lukowiak (Northern Ireland, Falklands)

Neil Polley (Falklands)

Steve Pratt (Dhofar, Northern Ireland)

Militarisation in everyday life in the UK
An event held in October 2013 in London which brought together academics, writers, activists and campaigners who are researching, writing, campaigning on, or just concerned about the implications of the militarisation of everyday life in the UK. See more here including background reading and films of 12 presentations from the day.

news items relating to these issues

17/03/2014 Telegraph

Philip Hammond says he is prepared to introduce new powers to exempt armed forces from human rights laws which are hampering military operations

03/03/2014 Open Democracy

The country’s military institutions must not be seen as deserving of special consideration. Once the ethos of public service has been smashed and discredited by neoliberal restructuring, the danger is that it will take more than an army to bring it back.

23/01/2014 Guardian

Repeat of Afghanistan-or-Iraq-style invasion ruled out for war-weary UK, according to senior officials

07/01/2014 Guardian

PhD papers sponsored by military include studies of hacker culture, crowd behaviour and social networking sites

26/11/2013 ForcesWatch comment

Many areas of society in the UK have seen a growing involvement and/or visibility of the military and military approaches in recent years - from schools, to local communities, to ‘militainment’ (military-themed films, TV programmes, video games etc). This process of privileging and prioritising the military is often referred to as ‘militarisation’; Cynthia Enloe, one of the foremost thinkers on the subject, states that “To become militarised is to adopt militaristic values and priorities as one's own, to see military solutions as particularly effective, to see the world as a dangerous place best approached with militaristic attitudes.”

In response to the recent developments in the UK, there has been an increase in critical academic studies, media coverage, and work by campaigning organisations and others on these issues. On 19 October 2013, around 70 academics, activists, campaigners, and writers came together in London at the Militarisation in Everyday Life in the UK conference organised by ForcesWatch.

13/11/2013 RUSI

A recent course organised for influencers was designed to convey the British Army’s response to a changing strategic landscape. Despite redeployment from  Afghanistan and Reserve reorganisation, this exercise emphasised that the British Army is still very much in the war-fighting business.

"We call for the minimum recruitment age to be returned to 18 years. This would be a fitting memorial to those thousands who, whether unlawfully recruited as minors during the First World War or recruited to fight in other conflicts, were exposed to death, injury and trauma that no child should ever experience."

08/11/2013 Wales Online

The Ministry of Defence has come under pressure from the Church in Wales and campaign group Child Soldiers International which is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army

08/11/2013 Child Soldiers International

Recruitment of 16-year-olds down 40% on previous year; former Armed Forces minister says “Time is right” to review recruitment age

07/11/2013 David Gee, ForcesWatch

When I was about seven, my dad took me to the local Remembrance Day memorial. Neatly turned-out elderly men were stood in equally neat rows while The Last Post was played. I wondered why everyone looked so sad. Dad said it was because their friends had been killed in the war; this day was to remember them. I wore a poppy then and I am glad that I did.

 

A photo from the British Legion website showing children wearing 'Future Soldier' t-shirts - the poppy as remembrance or as a recruitment tool?  Contact them if you are concerned by this exploitation of remembrance and young people.

Military Out Of Schools

ForcesWatch’s Military Out Of Schools campaign aims to take the argument that educational institutions are no place for the military into the public arena and to question assumptions that engagement with armed forces at a young age is benign. Additionally, we provide materials to support those challenging military presence in their schools and provide a more balanced view of what life in the armed forces involves for young people. 

Scroll down to read the full introduction to the project below

The UK armed forces visit thousands of schools each year. They offer school presentation teams, youth teams, ‘careers advisors’, lessons plans, away days, one to one mentoring and interviews, pre-recruitment activities and more (see our briefing on Military activity in UK schools). The Department for Education are promoting 'military skills and ethos' schemes as part of national education policy. These schemes include the expansion of cadet forces within state schools, the Troops to Teachers programme, the cadet version of the naitonal citizen service, the development of military academies and free schools, and 'alternative provison' for young people who have been excluded or are at risk of 'failing' - including military to mentors and outside provision such as Commando Joes' and Challenger Troop.

Are military-led activities and a military approach appropriate within education? What about aspects of military ethos which are different to the values of education around issues of critical thinking and obedience, for example? To what extent is this policy driven by ideology - that the military can be a source of solutions to social problems?

Some in schools will be exposed to more extensive contact through the Combined Cadet Force. While many see the cadets offering discipline and excitement, they can draw youngsters struggling with academic subjects to a more exciting arena for personal achievement and belonging without a balanced understanding of the risks and obligations of military life. Is the operation of the chain of command within school-based cadet forces, appropriate within an educational setting?

How can we challenge military activities in schools and colleges? How can a more balanced view of what life in the armed forces involves be given to young people? We question whether schools should be a channel through which a biased view of military life and activities can be fed to children. The forces, as an institution working to a long-term agenda, should not have the opportunity to gain influence with the provision of resources and activities.

While there are claims that school involvement is not about recruiting young people, the Ministry of Defence has itself stated that visits to educational establishments are a “powerful tool for facilitating recruitment”. They have also stated that school visits are important in order to 'influence future opinion-formers' (see our briefing on Military activity in UK schools). ForcesWatch argue that visits to schools are themselves recruitment activities.  In having contact with young people, the military aim to sow seeds in impressionable young minds. In 2007, the head of the Army’s recruitment strategy said, “Our new model is about raising awareness, and that takes a ten-year span. It starts with a seven-year-old boy seeing a parachutist at an air show and thinking, 'That looks great.' From then the army is trying to build interest by drip, drip, drip." The Respublica report recommending the establishement of military academies linked the need to recruit more reservists and the need to find employment for ex-service personnel with the creation of military-led educational establishments. ForcesWatch are concerned that the interests of young people should not be considered in conjunction with the interests of the armed forces.

If we do not provide a challenge to the military's engagement with our children, we are failing them. Young people need access to information and alternative, balanced views in order to make informed decisions about joining up.

Teachers unions in England and Scotland have questioned or called for a ban on army presentation teams in schools and colleges and students have themselves been challenged the presence of the military in their schools. We aim to support these initiatives.

ForcesWatch resources

A ForcesWatch poster showing policy, cultural and other recent developments affecting the extent of military influence in young people's lives.

 

 


 

read more >>

This ForcesWatch briefing outlines the methods and rationale of the military's engagement with young people within the education system and highlights potential developments in this area, including projects under consideration or development by the Armed Forces and the Department of Education.

read more >>

Unpacking 'recruitment' - what does the MoD mean when it says it does not recruit in schools?

read more >>

A ForcesWatch briefing on the Government policy of expanding cadets and promoting 'military skills and ethos' in schools. It looks at:

  • what are the cadet forces
  • how will the cadet forces be expanded
  • why is this happening - who benefits
  • why is this a problem
  • what can we do about it
read more >>

Up and down the country on the 30th June street parties, picnics and military tattoos are taking place for Armed Forces Day. Despite the rhetoric of tradition, the day is relatively new to Britain's military history, with the first occurrence taking place in 2009, replacing Veterans' Day, which ran from 2006-2009.

Some see the institution of another national occasion relating to the Armed Forces (i.e. in addition to Remembrance Day) as indicative of a growing culture of militarisation across the country. After consultation with parents, teachers and students who are concerned with the unquestioning attitude of acceptance towards the military and their activities in the public sphere, ForcesWatch has produced the following lesson plans and activities for those working in schools and other youth organisations to use, free of charge, with their students or group members. This is a direct response to the materials produced by the Armed Forces for teachers.

read more >>

This ForcesWatch briefing is for parents, students and teachers concerned with military activities in their school. It looks at:

  • how and why the armed forces engage with schools and colleges
  • perspecitves on armed forces activities in schools and colleges
  • things to think about before raising concerns with the school
  • points and questions to raise with the school
  • alternatives to military-led activities
  • sources of more information
read more >>

other resources on military in schools

David Gee

in Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It, War Resisters International, 2013

Military recruitment is deeply embedded in the class and economic structures of society. Its methods, thriving on hyper-masculine fantasies of soldiering and, in consumer-capitalist societies in particular, a creeping estrangement from our most humane values, can be understood as a form of human alienation. Even so, despite the continuing success of military recruitment worldwide, it is still perhaps the Achilles heel of militarism. War depends on large numbers of people agreeing to participate in mass killing. If we can work well with young people, their parents, educators and the media, so that equally large numbers pause to reflect on what soldiers are expected to do and why, cracks might open in militarism from the bottom up.

read more >>

Emma Sangster

in Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It, War Resisters International, 2013

The armed forces are increasingly being provided with access to young people within the UK education system – mainly at secondary and further education level but also within universities and even primary schools. In addition to armed forces presentations and other visits to schools and colleges which have been going on for many years, there is a new push to make 'military ethos and skills' a part of school life.

To understand what is driving these practices and policies it is important to look at the wider dynamics between the armed forces and civil society. This article looks briefly at recent initiatives and developments that reflect a new and concerted effort to see the military play a larger role in civil society.

read more >>

This research published in 2010 has found that the army visited 40% of London schools from September 2008 to April 2009 and disproportionately visits schools in the most disadvantaged areas. The researchers conclude that, “the army's recruitment activities in schools risk jeopardising the rights and future welfare of the young people contacted. 

Before You Sign Up has a useful page on Recruiting in schools and colleges. This website also has a lesson plan devised for Citizenship Key Stage 4. The learning outcomes are: an outline understanding of life as a soldier, including the pros and cons; understand and speak about ethical issues involved in recruiting young people from age 16 into the armed forces; ability to deconstruct a TV advertisement; and, bring critical awareness to an important social issue. 

If you want to join the Army make sure you know ALL the facts before you sign up.Don’t find out the hard way!

Information from AT EASE for young people and to be given to young people.

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Militarisation in everyday life in the UK
An event held in October 2013 in London which brought together academics, writers, activists and campaigners who are researching, writing, campaigning on, or just concerned about the implications of the militarisation of everyday life in the UK. See more here including background reading and films of 12 presentations from the day.

relevant videos on YouTube

ForcesWatch have recently held a series of events with discussing the role of the armed forces in mainstream education. Not only do the armed forces visit thousands of schools each year but the military is becoming more integrated into Britain's education system with 'military ethos' presented as a solution to educational problems, See more here

other news on military in schools

25/01/2014 Morning Star

Michael Gove's scheme to train ex-squaddies as teachers was labelled an "expensive flop" yesterday after it was revealed the Tory Education Secretary mustered just 132 recruits.

05/01/2014 The Telegraph

Former soldiers without degrees will be fast-tracked into teaching and more cadet force units will be established as part of a dramatic expansion of a “military-style” ethos in English state schools

19/11/2013 Telegraph

Britain’s cadet force could be expanded to encourage more youngsters to join the Armed Forces, a defence minister has suggested.

28/10/2013 Wales Online

Forces Watch report calls for the minimum age of recruitment to be raised to 18 to avoid exposing the youngest soldiers to the most trauma

20/08/2013 Emily Clark, Newcastle Free Press

Yet another set of outdated, ill-conceived and unpopular plans from the Education Minister, but this time there’s guns.

07/06/2013 BBC online

Former armed forces personnel without degrees will be fast-tracked into teaching in England under a new government programme.

17/01/2013 Independent

Schools should also recruit more ex-armed service personnel, urges Labour

13/12/2012 The Guardian

Letters in response to Dept of Education promoting military ethos in schools

07/12/2012 The Guardian

Extra education cash for charities is part of Michael Gove's ambition to boost military ethos in schoolchildren

12/10/2012 Mail Online

Police, Army and council officials are investigating claims that recruits were whipped and tied up as part of a catalogue of abuse.

01/09/2012 Ceasefire Magazine

Alex Baker

Moves aimed at increasing the Military's presence in the UK education system are based on more than just misguided assumptions about military ethics, argues Alex Baker, in an examination of the renewed calls for military academies.

15/07/2012 Huffington Post

There was a truly awful article in last week's New Statesman by Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy, accusing 'the left' of a curmudgeonly attitude towards the government's plans for military-staffed 'service schools.'

Lammy condemns critics of the scheme for propagating the idea that ' servicemen and women are "brainwashed", "killers", and hell-bent on converting our sons and daughters to violence' - arguments that he describes as ' nonsense - and offensive nonsense at that.'

With that strawman out of the way, he goes on to argue that

The military already play a hugely positive role in our schools. The Combined Cadet Force and Army Cadet Force are fantastic national institutions. These are organisations which offer adventure training, flying, sailing, white water rafting, and navigating Britain's finest landscapes from Cornwall to the Cairngorms, all for free.

Of course all these activities could and should be available in schools. The problem is that neither school budgets nor the curriculum allow much space for them, not to mention the obsessive risk assessment process which makes schools reluctant to take their kids beyond the school grounds, let alone go canoeing in the Cairngorms.