Debate on visits by armed forces to schools

Herald Series: Green Cllr John Tanner Green Cllr John Tanner

A FORMER SAS soldier will be among guests taking part in a debate on visits by the armed forces to schools.

Ben Griffin – who quit the army in 2005 in protest at US troop tactics – will argue against visits to county pupils on Tuesday.

He will be joined at the Friends Meeting House in St Giles by Oxford City Council ’s John Tanner and former East Oxford headteacher John Prangley.

It has been organised by campaign group ForcesWatch, which has obtained figures showing there have been 170 visits by the armed forces to 44 county schools since 2011.

Organiser Will McCallum, who is from the city, said: “It is about raising the debate. At the moment there is no debate about how the military engages with schools. It just happens as a default. I don’t think the agenda of the military and the education agenda are compatible.

“Whatever is said about it being for the benefit of the school and education, the reason is because it wants to recruit soldiers.”

Labour councillor Mr Tanner said he did not oppose the services visiting schools but said: “The message they carry should be carefully monitored so that young people are getting the truth and are shown the bad sides as well as the good sides.”

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Oxford Spires Academy headteacher Sue Croft, who has welcomed the army four times since last year, said: “For some of the students it is a real area of interest for them.

“Whatever your personal views, children have a right to see what is out there.”

The meeting will begin at 6.30pm.

Comments (3)

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1:53pm Sat 15 Sep 12

Myron Blatz says...

But which independent body is monitoring what the local politicians and City Council are doing every day? The problem is that nobody actually believes what City or County Councillors say anymore, Cllr Tanner!
But which independent body is monitoring what the local politicians and City Council are doing every day? The problem is that nobody actually believes what City or County Councillors say anymore, Cllr Tanner! Myron Blatz

9:17am Sun 16 Sep 12

Paul Wesson says...

Is anybody monitoring the messages councillors take to schools on their visits? Why is the forces presence not compatible with the education agenda? Is education about censorship of the views of others? No doubt history is taught that makes all soldiers, conscripts and volunteers alike, into the devil incarnate? The military, especially to those of us who live near Benson, Brize or Abingdon, are a fact of life. 4500 people work at Brize; are school pupils to be denied the opportunity to know about those jobs lest they miss the character building opportunities for travel and personal development offered by a call centre?
Is anybody monitoring the messages councillors take to schools on their visits? Why is the forces presence not compatible with the education agenda? Is education about censorship of the views of others? No doubt history is taught that makes all soldiers, conscripts and volunteers alike, into the devil incarnate? The military, especially to those of us who live near Benson, Brize or Abingdon, are a fact of life. 4500 people work at Brize; are school pupils to be denied the opportunity to know about those jobs lest they miss the character building opportunities for travel and personal development offered by a call centre? Paul Wesson

3:56pm Sun 16 Sep 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

If the armed forces are banned from schools throughout Oxford, will this mean that the Royal family, including the Queen will be banned from visiting schools in Oxfordshire? HMQ, after all, is Sovereign Head of the armed forces.

Of course, HMQ is also head of the Church of England...

I could see the benecial consequence if all religious promotion were forbidden inside the school gates of Oxfordshire.
If the armed forces are banned from schools throughout Oxford, will this mean that the Royal family, including the Queen will be banned from visiting schools in Oxfordshire? HMQ, after all, is Sovereign Head of the armed forces. Of course, HMQ is also head of the Church of England... I could see the benecial consequence if all religious promotion were forbidden inside the school gates of Oxfordshire. Andrew:Oxford

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