Military to aid character development in schools

12 December 2014

DEMOTIX

Determination: Royal Marine Commandos cover "enemy" positions in daffodil woods, in a multinational land. sea and air exercise hosted by the UK earlier this year, near Stranraer

Determination: Royal Marine Commandos cover "enemy" positions in daffodil woods, in a multinational land. sea and air exercise hosted by the U...

THE military is being called up to help schools in the UK develop their pupils' characters.

Almost £5 million will be spent by the Government on eight projects run by ex-service personnel to teach disadvantaged children values prized in the Services, such as self-confidence, respect, and leadership.

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said that the "military ethos" schemes offered children "a sense of greater aspiration, and can help build the skills and confidence they need to go on to good jobs and successful futures".

Schools that demonstrate improvements will be eligible for a top cash prize of £20,000, to be awarded next March; and there will be £15,000 "character awards" for each of up to 27 establishments, to be presented next February.

The scheme is the first measure in the Government's Character Innovation Fund, which was launched in September to support the development of character in schools over the next two years.

The announcement coincided with the publication of a review of existing military-ethos projects in 460 centres, involving 52,000 pupils, including more than 16,000 students identified as being disengaged with their school life, and 1333 in Alternative Provision or excluded from schools.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "Teachers, parents, and pupils described how these projects have had a positive impact on the confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, and interpersonal skills of those involved.

"Teachers also described how pupils who had previously been disengaged were now actively participating in school life."

One group of ex-military personnel, Commando Joe's, will receive £1 million to provide trained instructors and "challenging school-focused activities" in some of the most deprived areas of the country. A director at Commando Joe's, Mike Hamilton, said: "We're focusing on fostering altruism, bounce-back, comfort-zone busting, and determination, all of which ultimately boost . . . attainment."

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