The Army Cadet Force (ACF) runs over 300 cadet school-based units in state schools across England. In October 2016, Michael Fallon launched 150 new army cadet schemes in state schools. More information here.
ACF also run an Outreach programme for disadvantaged or disengaged students. Outreach is a youth diversion and early-intervention crime-prevention programme suited to youngsters who have low self-esteem or low personal achievement, are excluded from school, are socially disengaged or who engage in truancy or other behavioural problems. They work with schools to take a number of their students through a short programme of team-based challenging and adventurous activities, including a residential course of around 5 days, designed to show young people what they can achieve when given the opportunity.
In addition, ACF run the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). There are currently CCFs in 256 schools, of which 196 are independent schools and 60 are in the state sector. There is an educational partnership between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the participating school. A school cannot run a successful CCF contingent without the full support of the Governing Body and the Head; and in return for the school’s commitment, the MOD provides plenty of support in the form of uniforms, training expertise, equipment and access to military training areas, camps and courses.
When he was Education Secretary, Michael Gove developed the Troops to Teachers programme to encourage ex-military staff to train as teachers telling The Guardian “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.”
Britain is the only EU country to enlist 16-year-olds into the armed services and, say objectors, it starts with access to the classroom. According to Child Soldiers International (CSI), only 17 other countries allow it, including Zambia, El Salvador and Iran. In June 2016 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child told the UK government to “reconsider its active policy of recruitment of children into the armed forces and ensure that recruitment practices do not actively target persons under the age of 18 and ensure that military recruiters’ access to schools be strictly limited”.