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