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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Armed forces to be banned from English and Welsh schools?

26 March, 2008
A recent call by the NUT to ban armed forces presentation teams from visiting schools in England and Wales could be only the start of our educationalists deciding on what is, and is not, a suitable career for our students.
Banning the armed forces from speaking to teenagers in English and Welsh schools is, in my opinion, a step on the pathway for extremist educators to decide on what other 'undesirable' careers that students should be protected from. I was in the RAF for many years and consider that a few years in any of the armed forces can do a lot of good for anyone. It gives direction, focus and training that these days includes academic as well as technical transferable skills. I know full-well that it’s not for everyone, but excluding the presentation teams on the grounds of ′misleading propaganda’ is not the way to help students to make an informed choice.

No, I'm not one of those that advocate a return to National Service. The armed forces are too technologically sophisticated these days to have people counting the days until demob. Training is long and demanding and only those committed to success are likely to succeed. As for hiding the more unpleasant side of military life e.g. going to war then it’s hardly hidden from anyone that manages to catch a few minutes of the news each week. The problems facing servicemen and women in Afghanistan and Iraq are only too public.

Who’s next on the hit-list? Well here’s a few more for the NUT to consider:

• Police – obviously there only to harass innocent people.
• Airlines – major contributors to global warning that’ll see us all dead in a year or two.
• Industry – the suppliers of equipment etc to the armed forces that enables them to "bomb, shoot and possibly torture’.
• Civil service – there to implement the political will of our government to enable the aforementioned police, airlines and industry to contribute to all that’s perceived to be wrong in the world today.

Of course, all of the above should be welcomed in schools and colleges, every piece of information helps.

But finally, I’d like teachers to be banned from talking about teaching careers on the grounds that they too often make ill-informed judgements based on life experiences outside of the education system of almost zero.

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