NUT critical of school cadet proposals
21 May 2008
Quentin Davies’ proposals to enhance and expand cadet programmes in schools has come under sharp criticism from the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
Among the proposals to enhance the public’s perception and understanding of the armed forces is a plan to expand the presence of cadets in state secondary schools.
Christine Blower, the acting secretary of the NUT said that teachers should be encouraged to educate students on the risks of joining the cadets and armed forces alongside the benefits. She challenged teachers to raise debates about joining the forces and MoD recruitment in impoverished areas.
"Our concern is that whatever role the Ministry of Defence has in our schools, we need to ensure that a balanced view is given of what a career in the armed forces would involve," Blower said.
She waved off the notion put forth by the children and schools secretary Ed Balls that it would provide valuable life skills and physical fitness for teenagers.
"Combined Cadet Forces in schools may provide activities which young people enjoy. Equally so do youth clubs, and other established groups," Blower stated.
Money that would be invested in cadet programmes could be diverted elsewhere to assist young people.
The NUT will now pursue protocols that set out clear parameters on what the armed forces’ involvement in schools should be. Blower vowed to hold a summitt on the forces’ recruitment and marketing in schools.
Davies’ repoot highlighted the steep decline in cadet forces within state schools. In 2007 only 60 schools had such a programme. The government supports the measure to increase cadet programmes.