ForcesWatch comment

Armed forces visits to Scottish schools - a 'big issue'

ForcesWatch comment

Our petition lodged at Holyrood along with Quakers in Scotland on military visits to schools has taken a significant step forward.

The Public Petitions Committee (PPC) met on the 2 March and agreed to ask Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education – John Swinney – to respond to questions on the issue.

The petition has been under consideration in Edinburgh for more than a year now (having been submitted in February 2016) and has come before the Committee three times.

At the latest hearing the PPC’s Convenor – Labour’s Johann Lamont – said the Committee was recognising “the very strong views that have been expressed” by people and groups responding to the petition.

She said the Committee had “received a number of submissions since we last considered this petition; most of which express support for the action called for in the petition.”

Specifically the Scottish Government is being called on to ensure greater scrutiny, guidance and consultation with parents/guardians on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland.

This is in order to provide transparency and balance, and in recognition of the unique nature of armed forces careers.

The SNP MSP Rona Mckay said she was on record as being in favour of the petition’s aims adding that military visits were “a big issue and it has to be looked into thoroughly.

“It’s definitely one we should take forward to get more information from decision makers,” she said.

Her words were welcomed by supporters in the public gallery.

The Committee then formally agreed to hear from COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) as well as the Cabinet Secretary.

Members also said they would accept the offer of a briefing on military visits from the Ministry of Defence.

All the information on the petition can be found here.


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