Troops to Teachers scheme failing to entice ex-soldiers into the classroom

It was supposed to address teacher shortages and instil a military ethos in schools, but take up is tiny and dominated by non-graduates.

A few years back, Colonel Edward Newman, 48, was commanding 3,000 troops at the end of a 30-year career in the Royal Logistics Corps. Today he’s teaching a year 7 class about slavery. There’s a well-burnished shine to his shoes and a straightness in his stance which hint at his military background, but otherwise he seems supremely comfortable in his new surroundings.”People keep asking if I miss the army, and I really don’t,” he says. “In some ways it’s very similar really, getting stuck in; lots of things going on. It’s just that I’ve gone from being the one in command to being in the classroom,” he grins. “And doing my own photocopying.”

Newman clearly relishes his new role: “I’d been a station commander in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, and at 46 I had 10 years left. The next job would have been behind a computer in HQ somewhere. I’d always wanted to do something else. I didn’t want to finish my time just having had one career. Teaching was perfect, and it just came together.”

Newman was a beneficiary of an early incarnation of the coalition’s Troops to Teachers programme – part of a drive by the then education secretary Michael Gove to inject a “military ethos” into schools.… Read more

Education & the Military: A human rights & peace perspective

In this publication, QUNO questions the presence and influence of the military in primary and secondary education from a peace and human rights perspective. Concerned at the military’s involvement in schools and the militarization of education, QUNO draws attention to relevant international human rights standards that promote education for peace.… Read more

Military Recruitment, Work & Culture in the South Wales Valleys

This article explores how social and cultural life in the south Wales valleys, an area of economic deprivation within Britain, has been shaped by the British military and militarism, in ways that are both specific to the area and shared with other regions throughout the country.

In particular, it argues that the convergence of several factors – including the processes of Welsh devolution and Welsh nationalism, the rise of the US-led war on global terror, the efforts of the British government to reshape civilian-military relations in the country, as well as the continuing economic struggles of the south Wales valleys themselves – has led to a resurgence of military presence and militarism in the region over the past decade.

The article focuses on the ethical dilemmas of military recruitment in areas of economic deprivation. It also contributes to the literature on the everyday geographies of militarisation and militarism, a literature that argues that we can only understand how militarism is structured and rooted in the broader fabric of national society and economy if we examine closely how it is differentially embedded within and shaped by a myriad of social relationships and institutions at the local and regional level.… Read more

Troops to Teachers scheme extended

The Troops to Teachers scheme is being extended until the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, despite the fact that only 41 veterans started in the first cohort in January 2014, and only 54 in the second cohort in September 2014. The move has been criticised by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

The Department for Education only give anecdotal evidence as justification for having this unique scheme for armed forces veterans, and do not state the cost or the targets of the extension. Indeed, they are now framing Troops to Teachers as part of the ‘Military Covenant’ – something that benefits veterans – rather than as part of the Military Ethos in Schools programme, which was supposed to be all about helping disadvantaged students in English state schools.

According to Academies Week, Troops to Teachers will receive a further £8.7 million of government funding between February 2015 and September 2018.

The DfE have revealed that there were 982 applications for the first cohort, and only 250 for the second; their explanation for this decrease is “because we improved the process to eliminate applications from those who are ineligible”, which suggests that not many military veterans are eligible for the scheme, which prompts questions about whether it should exist.… Read more

How should we teach remembrance at school?

An excerpt from an article by David Aldridge in The Conversation, about his new paper on How Should We Teach Remembrance in Schools:

Anyone who reads the newspapers in the build up to the Armistice Day commemorations in the UK would be hard put to deny there are still many unanswered questions around the public event of remembrance.

Can war ever be celebrated, or is it essentially futile? Do remembrance rituals, symbols and ceremonies do more to romanticise warfare than bring home its horror? Does the event of remembrance exclude the sacrifice of those who died on the opposing side? Disagreement abounds on these issues and we are unlikely to see a public consensus any time soon.

We should also think carefully about the part our schools play in these public events. Questions about war and peace can be addressed critically and with an appreciation of their ambiguity and complexity, across the curriculum – particularly through history, English and religious education.

But when we are considering a school’s participation in the public event of “remembrance”, there is an additional moral component. What is to be “remembered” is something most of us did not experience first hand. Teachers involved in remembrance are therefore involved in communicating content that we agree ought to be remembered – and encouraging appropriate sentiments in relation to what is remembered.… Read more