news, info, resources

Recent news & articles

09/11/2015 The Guardian Concern over No 10’s ‘military ethos in schools’ initiative is prompting charities to press the government over its commitment to the UN children’s treaty
04/11/2015 figures compiled by ForcesWatch Government figures indicate that, since the Military Ethos in schools projects were announced in 2012, £45.185million of new funding has been awarded to them. Most of this new funding comes from the Department for Education. A further £50million was pledged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the July 2015 budget for expanding cadet units in schools to 2020.
21/10/2015 The Guardian French soldiers have been criticised by the French MoD and local education authorities for having school pupils aged 10 and under try out unloaded assault rifles. There had been no similar outcry regarding similar armed forces activities in schools in the UK, which are driven by the UK MoD.
21/10/2015 ForcesTV; Army A major new Army officer recruitment drive is targeting university students. Why is this acknowledged as 'recruitment', when similar activities in schools are not?
20/10/2015 Children's Commissioner for Wales, ForcesWatch, Child Soldiers International ForcesWatch are encouraging people in Wales to fill in the Children's Commissioner for Wales' 'What Next?' survey, asking her to work on two things: helping to make sure the Welsh Government acts to improve transparency and balance regarding armed forces visits to schools in Wales (the Welsh Government recently committed to doing this), and lobbying the UK government to end the armed forces' recruitment of under-18s.
30/09/2015 BBC Wales Concerns over how many visits army officers make to schools in deprived areas will be debated by assembly members on Wednesday.

latest resources

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.
November 2015

A Remembrance Day assembly for use in schools from the Peace Education Network.

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.

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


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

May 2015

The armed forces make around 11,000 visits to secondary schools and colleges schools in the UK each year, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) spends around £26 million each year on school Combined Cadet Force (CCF) units, both of which have a strong recruitment agenda behind them, contrary to the repeated denials of this in recent years by the MoD.

This briefing is a compilation of evidence that contradicts the MoD and armed forces' claims that they don’t recruit in schools and that 'engaging' with students does not have a recruitment purpose.

updated April 2015

"The army careers advisers who operate in schools are skilled salesmen." Head of Army recruitment strategy, quoted in New Statesman, 2007

The armed forces have a growing involvement in secondary schools, colleges and even primary schools. While the Army, Navy and RAF have long run activities in schools as part of the Ministry of Defence's Youth Engagement programme, the Department for Education have recently begun to promote a 'military ethos' within education.

This A4 leaflet (updated 2015) outlines the issue and what the concerns are.

March 2015