military 'core values'
In the last issue of Peace Matters we looked at the militarisation of education, how the government is anxious to recruit ex military personnel into teaching and how some former soldiers, now teaching in schools, are promoting military experience not only as valuable experience for teaching but the value of the military ethos to the pupils. The process gathers pace.
Last month the Centre for Policy Studies CPS (a right wing policy think tank which promotes public policy to roll back the state and challenge 'threats' to Britain’s independence) published a report "Something Can Be Done: Troops in our schools will do more than troops on our streets" with fulsome support from Lord Guthrie, former Chief of the Defence Staff.
Tom Burkard a former military instructor who undertakes Education research for the CPS and a long time promoter of Troops to Teachers is trying to start a free school staffed exclusively by men and women from the military. Captain AK Burki is the front man. Handing out leaflets about the school in Oldham where the school is to be based he explains that military teachers '…will be able to bring a breadth of experience that only those in the armed forces can'. 'The elements of the armed forces we really want to instil in the pupils are the core values of the Army', he adds 'Courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.’Control is at the heart of the project.
'Young adults don't understand responsibility, they don't understand respect, they don't understand authority.' adds Matt Mathews a potential recruit of 13 years in the army. 'As someone from a military background, you do understand all that, and if we can instil that in the children at a young age, 11, 12 going up to 16 when they leave school, we're obviously giving them some key skills to go forward.'
Missing from this threadbare prospectus is the ‘heroic purpose’ of the military and let’s not forget the British military’s ineffectiveness at winning any wars. Teaching why wars start, who starts them and how to resolve conflicts before they become violent might be a better plan but then turning unruly youngsters into placid acquiescing adults who will go to work, spend their money and make no fuss is a project that our masters can hardly disapprove of. Michael Gove is expected to give approval in the near future.