Former members of the military services could be drafted into schools as part of plans put forward by the government to improve educational achievement among the most disengaged pupils.
Education Secretary Michael Gove announced £1.9 million of funding for four projects utilising ex-armed forces personnel to improve standards by instilling teamwork, discipline and leadership skills in students. This will be achieved through mentoring, activities outside of the classroom and group exercises, with a view to raising children's self-belief and improving their behavior.
According to government statistics, only 1.5 per cent of students in alternative provision managed five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C in 2011 including English and Maths. This was approximately 40 times worse than children in mainstream education.
The new projects will target those children in alternative provision specifically, who are no longer engaged with the education system. They are Commando Joes' in Cheshire; Challenger Troop in Tunbridge Wells, Kent; SkillForce in Newcastle; and Knowsley Skills Academy in Prescot.
Mr Gove said: "Every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos. Self-discipline and teamwork are at the heart of what makes our armed forces the best in the world - and are exactly what all young people need to succeed."
Activities will include one-to-one mentoring, military style obstacle classes and indoor and outdoor teambuilding exercises.
Trainers will work together with teachers, as well as schools and parents to develop these programmes. They will also work with schools, teachers and agencies to re-integrate children not currently in education, employment or training and prepare them for post-16 courses and jobs, while also working with primary school children to build their self-confidence ahead of the move to secondary school.
Peter Cross, chief executive of SkillForce, said: "Our vision is that every young person, whatever their background or ability, is given the chance to fulfil their true potential and become a valued member of their community. We are working with the Department for Education to promote the benefits of a military ethos in school to support young people."
Posted by Harriet McGowan