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Pushing ahead with cadets in schools


The Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, choose the Conservative Party conference to announce the next phase of the Cadet Expansion Programme with 25 new cadet units being set up in state schools.

He made a high profile visit to a new cadet unit at a Birmingham school which was involved in the 'trojan horse' allegations. Rockwood Academy is pairing the cadet unit with another inititative - a curriculum-based counter extremism programme. The particular example of a new cadet unit illustrates how they are seen as measures to counter extremism and promote 'British values', along with 'military ethos'.

Read our critique of the Cadet Expansion Programme, first published in The Morning Star, 18/10/16. 

Also see:

Michael Fallon launches army cadets scheme at 'Trojan horse' school (The Guardian, 4/10/16)

A night on the frontline with Michael Fallon's school cadet corps (The Guardian, 7/10/16)

This TV report from BBC Midlands shows the 'parading unit' at Rockwood Academy doing drill and handling weapons. It states that the unit comprised of 12 year olds will be using live ammuniition within a year. The Defence Secretary Michael Fallons tries to reassure that this is 'not about recruitment'.

This article from Schools Week (with ForcesWatch comment) reports that FOI data shows that a year after the announcement of an extra £50m funding, only 5 new cadet units have opened, calling into question the target of 500 units in state schools by 2020.

A Parliamentary written question (14 October 2016) has confirmed the 25 schools that have newly-approved cadet units. The answer confirms that it will be targeting schools in less affluent areas, and notes that:

The Government has committed £50 million from LIBOR fines to increase the number of cadet units in UK state schools through the Cadet Expansion Programme. The joint Ministry of Defence/Department for Education programme is targeting schools in less affluent areas and we have a substantial number of applications to establish new units. This demonstrates the interest that schools around the country have in the programme.

The expansion programme is well on track to achieve its target of 500 cadet units parading in schools across the UK by 2020. As at June 2016, 350 units were parading and on 4 October 2016 the Secretary of State announced the next wave of 25 new units in state schools which have been approved.


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