£2m of ’character eduction’ fund to go to military-style projects

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that one third of the £6 million funding pot targeted at building character in school pupils, will be used to support military-style projects.

The £2 million in funding will pay for projects that have a ‘military ethos approach to develop character’. The Forces Watch campaign group claimed the latest investment will take the total amount of money intended to instil a military ethos in schools to £90 million, since 2012.

According to Forces Watch, £10 million has already been earmarked for the Troops to Teachers recruitment scheme and £14 million to the cadet expansion scheme, which receive another £50 million last year.

However, Emma Sangster, co-ordinator of the organisation, questioned the logic of the DfE’s approach: “Is this policy primarily about building character or is it about influencing young people about the benefits of
the armed forces?

“The increasing inclusion of military approaches in our education system has received almost no public scrutiny. There needs to be a full review of why this is happening and who benefits and what the concerns may be before any more money is spent on it.”

Applications for this year’s grants have just closed. Schools are set to find out in September if they have been successful in their bids for between £50,000 and £750,000. On top of the grants issued this year, awards of up to £35,000 are available in the department’s character education awards.

Kevin Courtney, acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “Previous military ethos programmes have had a positive impact on those who have taken part — it’s right that we extend this opportunity to the most disadvantaged pupils so they can achieve the same outcomes as their peers.”

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