Evidence submitted to the Alternative Provision Inquiry
Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Education Committee’s Alternative Provision Inquiry
This submission briefly outlines ‘alternative provision with a military ethos’ and details a number of concerns – relative effectiveness, targeting disadvantage, lack of consultation and lack of scrutiny.
The influence of the armed forces within education raises a number of concerns. These include: the impact on critical thinking as military approaches are promoted while education about the peace field, disarmament and conflict resolution are not; armed forces careers are presented to students in a sanitised fashion that obscures the reality of the risks and obligations involved; the armed forces are given far more access to school students than other employers or organisations with alternative perspectives; and, parents are not adequately consulted about the involvement of their children in military-themed activities. Some armed forces activities are run in conjunction with arms companies, and can obscure the moral questions surrounding them.
While military-themed activities may be particularly engaging to some young people they are not necessarily appropriate for the education system. Interest in them is unlikely to be universal. Their use should be carefully balanced with other providers and activities that do not utilise a military framework and branding.