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Labour proposes 'Service Schools'

10/07/2012 Joanna
Labour says that it is exploring ways in which young people in the UK can benefit from the expertise of the Armed Forces, including by establishing what it is calling 'Service Schools'.  

In its Policy Review, the opposition party is building a case for a network of these military schools with a cadet force on site, outdoor training facilities and specialism in subjects such as international affairs, history or physical education.

Teaching jobs at these Service Schools would be given to fully qualified ex-military personnel, who would also offer mentoring support.

"We want to make better use of their talent and expertise to help others, and provide them with career opportunities once they have left the forces," explained Jim Murphy, Labour's shadow defence secretary.

"These measures aim to better integrate civilian and military communities and families."

Labour believes these schools would be especially relevant to more deprived areas of the UK where educational opportunities are more limited, but it added that they would only be installed where parents and communities want them.

"We are exploring how we can give more of our young people the opportunity to benefit from the skills, talents and insights of our service community," said Stephen Twigg, Labour's shadow education secretary.

"The 'service ethos' emphasises the importance of character formation and high ethical standards, as well as the development of crucial skills such as team-working."

Mr Twigg believes Service Schools could be established in new or existing state schools of all types and work as academies benefitting from sponsors.

Currently, three quarters of Combined Cadet Forces are based at private schools but Mr Twigg said more people should benefit from the "responsibility and citizenship" cadet life promotes. 

A spokesman for the Department for Education told the BBC that it was "already working to bring ethos and talents from Armed Forces into our education system to help raise standards".

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