This briefing explores if these claims about social mobility stand up to scrutiny or whether enlisting in the armed forces can have a negative impact upon social mobility, particularly for very young recruits.
With the presence of the military in public spaces increasing and a high level of popularity for the armed forces, it is not always easy to respond to challenging questions that people pose in when faced with concerns expressed about militarism. In this briefing we explore some responses to questions about how much the armed forces should be involved in our everyday lives, how they relate to young people, and the effectiveness and consequences of military action.
This paper, published by ForcesWatch, explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.
ForcesWatch written evidence to the Education Committee’s inquiry on the Purpose and quality of education in England
This submission presents concerns around the growing influence of military interests in the UK education system which raises a number of concerns around critical thinking about the military, armed forces careers, and issues of peace and conflict resolution. These pro-military messages are not balanced by the inclusion of a structured framework for peace education within the curriculum, and the UK government is failing to implement recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as a result.
‘Commonsense and Understanding’: Recommendations from the Defence Committee’s Duty of Care report that are still outstanding 10 years on
This report highlights seven recommendations from the Defence Committee’s report Duty of Care: Third Report of Session 2004-05 which have not been partially or fully implemented, and around which substantial concerns remain.
This report then discusses the concept of 'in loco parentis' and 'moral obligation' with regard to the army's duty of care towards young recruits, noting that the Defence Committee were concerned in 2005 that the MoD distinguished too rigidly between legal and moral obligations, with the latter as less important.
In 2005, the Defence Committee discussed the lack of balance beween training needs and considerations for operational effectiveness, and thus made its recommendations. Ten years on, it is apparent that operational arguments, and current difficulties meeting recruiting targets, continue to prevent the armed forces from reviewing both their position on enlisting under-18s, and their recruitment practices and materials.
In 2016 ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament that calls on the Scottish Government to ensure greater scrutiny, guidance, and consultation with parents/guardians on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland, in order to provide transparency and balance, and in recognition of the unique nature of armed forces careers. In 2018 the Public Petitions Committee made a number of recommendations in their report to the Scottish Government.
This report highlights that peace education is not being promoted in schools. This is counter to the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to the UK Government that peace education should be part of the curriculum. This raises concerns particularly with the increased promotion of the military within schools through the Department for Education's 'military ethos' programme and free military-related learning resources, and as the armed forces continue to conduct a substantial 'youth engagement' programme.
This briefing is a response to the 2012-13 Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee’s investigation into UK armed forces ‘recruitment’ in schools in Wales, following the petition Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools (P-04-432) submitted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales. The Petition Committee’s final report on their consideration of the petition was published in June 2015.
The recruitment agenda behind the UK armed forces’ ‘engagement’ with students in schools and colleges
This briefing is a compilation of evidence that contradicts the MoD and armed forces' claims that they don’t recruit in schools and that 'engaging' with students does not have a recruitment purpose.
The report is published in conjunction with the video The British Armed Forces: Propaganda in the classroom? produced by Quaker Peace & Social Witness. This report explains why the British Armed Forces Learning Resource (published in September 2014 by the Prime Minister's Office) is a poor quality educational resource, and exposes the resource as a politically-driven attempt to promote recruitment into the armed forces and “military values” in schools.