Cadet units in state schools to increase five-fold with £50 million budget boost


Schools Week

The number of cadet units in state schools is to increase five-fold by 2020, George Osborne announced today in the Summer Budget.

Mr Osborne said the government will pledge £50 million to create cadet forces in 500 state schools and said these would be prioritised in “less affluent areas”.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “We are committing £50 million to expand the number of cadet units in our state schools to 500, prioritising less affluent areas.”

Currently there are about 275 cadet units in the UK. Of these, only a third are in state schools.

According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), as of April 1 last year there were approximately 131,000 cadets in the UK. The number is almost evenly divided between the Combined Cadet Force (42,950), a scheme run through schools, and the Army Cadet Force (41,000).

The Department for Education confirmed that a request for the extra funding had been made by the MoD.

The MoD has faced criticism recently after Schools Week revealed it had put in a request to access sensitive pupil data in the National Pupil Database. It wanted to “target its messaging” around military careers.

And a Treasury spokesperson told Schools Week the money would come from fines levied on banks.

The spokesperson added: “In the last government, £450 million was given to support military causes and emergency services. This builds on that repertoire.

“This has been billed as a priority for the government and the initiative was launched by the prime minister in 2012, when he said he would increase the number of cadet units. This will make sure there is the same quality of cadet experience across all schools.”

Last year, David Cameron announced a £1 milion bursary scheme for state school cadet units, funded with fines from banks caught up in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

On top of this bursary, Mr Cameron pledged £11 million in 2012 to set up a further 100 cadet units in state schools by 2015 under the Cadet Expansion Programme.

The Combined Cadet Force says on its website: “The CEP is part of the Government’s aim of promoting military ethos in schools; to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country.

“This means pupils developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience which will help them achieve excellence and shape their own future.”

Details for the scheme are still minimal. The Summer Budget document states: “Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP) £50 million – to increase the number of Cadet Units in state schools to 500 by 2020.”

See more: cadets, military in schools/colleges, education, military ethos