Charities pairing ex-military staff with disadvantaged pupils get £1.9m

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

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

Michael Gove’s desire for a greater military ethos in schools has taken another step forward with the announcement of extra cash for charities which are using ex-service personnel to work with excluded or disadvantaged pupils.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it had committed £1.9m to four projects around England which put former military trainers into alternative provision teaching units, used primarily for pupils who had been excluded from ordinary schools but also those, for example, with particular medical needs.

The former service personnel would provide mentoring and confidence-building, and organise team-building tasks and, in some instances, outdoor obstacle courses to “engage and motivate hard-to-reach pupils”.

Since becoming education secretary, Gove has expanded the provision for school cadet forces and developed a Troops to Teachers programme, with £9,000 bursaries for ex-military staff seeking a career in the classroom.

Of the latest project, he said: “Every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos. Self-discipline and teamwork are at the heart of what makes our armed forces the best in the world – and are exactly what all young people need to succeed.”

Two of the groups involved are private youth training companies with a specialism in military-style courses.

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We have child soldiers in Britain too

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

While in full support of The Independent’s Child Soldiers Appeal, I think we also need to look closer to home. The British armed forces do recruit children as young as 16.

The British Government itself made a submission under Article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which states: “Army recruiting initiatives include presentations in schools by Army careers advisers, a variety of Army youth team and Army recruiting team activities, attachments and visits to units, school fairs, Combined Cadet Force, advertising and marketing initiatives, membership of the Army’s Camouflage Club.”

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2008 stated that the UK should “reconsider its active policy of recruitment of children into the armed forces”. We need to put pressure on our own Government to stop recruiting children here into the armed forces.

Arfon Rhys

Rhostryfan, Gwynedd… Read more

‘Remembrance Day poppies should be white’

White poppies should be worn on Remembrance Sunday rather than the traditional red poppy to commemorate civilian victims rather than Britain’s military dead, actor Mark Rylance has said.

White poppies should be worn on Remembrance Sunday rather than the traditional red poppy to commemorate civilian victims rather than Britain’s military dead, actor Mark Rylance has said.

Mr Rylance called for white poppies to be worn instead as a symbol of peace and to recognise the civilian casualties of war.

Red poppies are traditionally worn every November as a mark of respect to war veterans, members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives, and their families.

Mr Rylance said he was moved to wear white because 90 per cent of casualties of war are now civilians, not soldiers.

“The safest place to be on a battlefield was in the military,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I felt therefore that the remembrance only of the military dead and wounded and suffering was not very accurate.”

If the country is to remember “the tragedy of war” every year, civilian casualties should be recognised, he said.

White poppies were first worn in 1926 but have been overtaken by red paper flowers, 40 million of which are made and sold by the Royal British Legion every autumn.

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