Welsh Gov told to review the way British military recruits in Welsh schools


The Daily Wales

The Welsh Government has been told to review of the way the British Armed Forces are allowed to recruit in Welsh schools.

A Welsh Assembly report raises concerns about the high level of visits made to Welsh secondary schools when compared to other parts of the UK.

It also questions whether the regular visits are providing pupils with a fair and balanced view of military life.

An investigation was carried out in response to a Welsh Assembly petition from a group called, Cymdeithas y Cymod (Fellowship of Reconciliation).

The petition highlighted the fact that Britain is the only state within NATO or the European Union to allow the military into schools.

Britain is also alone within the Europe in recruiting 16-year-olds into the armed forces.

The petition states:

“We call on the National Assembly to urge the Welsh Government to recommend that the armed forces should not go into schools to recruit.”

The Petitions Committee, the cross-party team of AMs which compiled the report, received written evidence from campaign group, Forces Watch.

Their research showed a disproportionately high number of visits to Wales when compared to other parts of the UK.

They said that during 2010-11 and 2011-12 the army had visited 163 (74 percent) of state secondary schools in Wales.

They stated:

“To put this in a national context, in London all three armed forces had visited less than 30 percent of state schools and in Scotland over 85 percent were visited by the three forces.

“The army alone visited Welsh state schools an average of twice a year during that period, compared with just once in London for all three services.”

While three-quarters of Welsh state schools received military recruiters, only 29 percent of Welsh independent schools had been visited.

The report concludes:

“Some Members of the Committee share the petitioners’ grave concerns that the armed forces use school visits as a recruitment tool and that their visits are targeted on areas of relatively high deprivation.

“There does seem to be evidence that the armed forces disproportionately visit schools in areas of relatively high deprivation.

“However, there is no compelling evidence that shows that the armed forces deliberately target schools in these areas.

“Moreover preventing the forces from visiting schools, as the petitioners wish, could disadvantage some young people, including those from less affluent backgrounds, from accessing careers and training of a very high quality.”

The report recommends that the Welsh Government carries out further research into why Welsh schools receive a disproportionate number of military visits.

It also recommends that the Labour controlled governments reviews the advice given to schools to ensure that pupils are given a fair and balanced view of the military, as well as other career options.

See more: legislation & policy, military in schools/colleges, recruitment, Wales, education