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 . . .