More questions raised about the ‘Military Ethos in Schools’ programme


TES, Telegraph, and BFBS

The Department for Education has committed a further £3.5m to fund organisations building ‘character’ among school students, and £1m for research to find the most effective ways that character can be taught in schools. This supports the notion that even if ‘military ethos in schools schemes’ (such as Challenger Troop, featured in this video) are improving discipline and attainment (the evidence is inadequate), other, non-military approaches with disadvantaged students can have the same results without the fear of other agendas being at play. But with £4.8m spent on ‘alternative provision with a military ethos’, announced in a press statement full of ‘character’ rhetoric, the focus seems to be on the military approaches.

Criticism of the Military Ethos in Schools programme is made well in two letters to The Telegraph. The first states: “Children develop according to a huge variety of influences, such as religious groups, peers, parents, teachers, youth clubs and sporting activities…Sending in the Army to deal with entrenched, structural disadvantages is at best a token gimmick and at worst an insult to Army veterans, who are themselves being neglected by the Government after having served their country.” The second, from a head teacher, states: “Students form a well-rounded character when their school’s ethos promotes charitable service, adventure, care for the environment, an international perspective, democracy and leadership…We do not need to buy in a soldier to achieve this; we just need to remember that education is not all about A*s.” These followed a similar letter in The Independent.

See more: military in schools/colleges, character building, education, military ethos