news, info, resources

Recent news & articles

30/03/2016 Chatham House The army's venerable tradition no longer makes financial sense.
30/03/2016 Independent, various
21/03/2016 Writers of Colour - Media Diversified An excellent blog article on the Writers of Colour (Media Diversified) website, by the young Welsh-Pakistani Yasmin Begum, arguing for the minimum age of UK armed forces recruitment to be raised from 16 to 18. Focuses on the situation in Wales.
10/03/2016 Bella Caledonia Mairi Campbell-Jack of Quakers in Scotland writes about why armed forces activities in schools is an issue that Scotland should be dealing with and the petition to the Scottish Government launched by Quakers and ForcesWatch.
08/03/2016 The National By Michael Gray How, despite our rigged economy, can schools prepare young people for the financial and moral dilemmas they will face in employment? How can we transition from a society too complacent about war towards a country that strives for peace?
16/02/2016 ForcesWatch 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.

latest resources

February 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.
Read more >>
revised 2016

Teach Peace, a new resource from the Peace Education Network, is a set of eight assemblies, follow-up activities, resources, prayers and reflections on peace for primary schools.

From the UN peace day, 21 September, to the International Day for Children as Victims of War, 4 June, the school year is filled with opportunities to use the assemblies and activities in Teach Peace. This resource will help to ensure peace is a key theme in our children’s education and help you to celebrate peace and the peacemakers in your school.

The entire resource is free to download below. Hard copies of Teach Peace are available from the Peace Education Network for £5.

Read more >>
December 2015

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

This report goes on to present additional evidence and arguments about the experience of the youngest recruits including:

  • Lower educational standards within the armed forces.
  • Evidence that the youngest recruits are subject to higher physical and mental health risks, than older recruits, including self-harm and bullying; and have poorer long-term outcomes.
  • Understanding that adolescence is a period of on-going maturation and vulnerability, and how the practices and process by which young people are recruited into the armed forces are likely to have ill effects.

This report then discusses the concept of 'in loco parentis' and 'moral obligation' with regard to the army's duty of care towards young recruits, noting that the Defence Committee were concerned in 2005 that the MoD distinguished too rigidly between legal and moral obligations, with the latter as less important. 

In 2005, the Defence Committee discussed the lack of balance beween training needs and considerations for operational effectiveness, and thus made its recommendations. Ten years on, it is apparent that operational arguments, and current difficulties meeting recruiting targets, continue to prevent the armed forces from reviewing both their position on enlisting under-18s, and their recruitment practices and materials.

Raising the age of recruitment would prioritise the best interest of young people recruited in the armed forces, who would benefit from recruits who are more mature and do not need additional duty of care requirments. 

Read more >>
November 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.
Read more >>
November 2015

A Remembrance Day assembly for use in schools from the Peace Education Network. The resource also comes as part of the Teach Peace education pack.

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August 2015

This briefing is a response to the 2012-13 Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee’s investigation into UK armed forces ‘recruitment’ in schools in Wales, following the petition Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools (P-04-432) submitted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales. The Petition Committee’s final report on their consideration of the petition was published in June 2015.

This briefing supports the Petition Committee’s recommendations to the Welsh Government by presentingthe key evidence that armed forces visits to secondary schools in Wales:

  • are disproportionately high to schools in more disadvantaged areas;
  • do not present a balanced view of the armed forces;
  • and, are more numerous and more career-focused than visits by most other employers(particularly the emergency services).

This briefing also presents evidence that:

  • armed forces visits to schools are motivated by an agenda of engaging students in a long-termrecruitment process;
  • quality and transparency of armed forces record-keeping makes a full study of the extent of visitsto schools problematic.
Read more >>
2015

This 2-sided ForcesWatch briefing (updated 2015):

  • outlines the extent and nature of armed forces visits to schools
  • details the Department for Education's 'Military ethos in schools' policy.
  • outlines the concerns about these activities 
  • suggests what students, parents and others can do to challenge them.
June 2015

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The Unseen March - short film made by Quakers in Britain with former SAS Ben Griffin, activist Mark Thomas and educationalists on ‘military ethos’ in schools.

Step by step, a military presence is entering schools across Britain. This is part of a conscious strategy to increase support for the armed forces in the wake of unpopular wars. Quakers in Britain have produced The Unseen March, a short film to start a public debate about the militarisation of education.

There are also briefings, resources and action ideas to accompany the film

Read more >>