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Troops To Teachers Scheme Launched

Ex members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force will be lured into teaching with bursaries, salaries during training and fast track qualification courses.

The move could see thousands of former soldiers, sailors and airmen enter classrooms each year and is the latest initiative by the Government to promote a military ethos in schools.

David Laws, Education Minister, said the Troops to Teachers scheme would bring military values of leadership, discipline, motivation and teamwork into the classroom.

It also comes as thousands of forces personnel are losing their jobs. Later this month the Ministry of Defence will detail a further 5,300 job losses for soldiers as part of cuts to bring the regular Army down to 82,000 by 2020.

Mr Laws said: “We want to capture the ethos and talents of those leaving the Armed Forces, and bring this experience into teaching. We know that our highly-skilled servicemen and women can inspire young people and help raise educational attainment.”

Former service members who already have degrees will be able to enrol on one-year graduate teacher training courses with a salary, or £2,000 extra bursary.

Those without degrees, but who have gained technical expertise, or experience as instructors in the forces will be able to start a two year salaried training course after a “rigorous selection process”.

Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary, said: “I would encourage anyone leaving the Services to take the opportunity to pass on their invaluable knowledge and instil respect, discipline and pride in the next generation.”

Around 7,000 former service members have asked about becoming teachers in the past two years, officials said.

The National Union of Teachers warned that keeping control in classrooms was very different to maintaining military discipline and said the profession should only be open to graduates.

Christine Blower, general secretary, said: “Teaching involves a complex mix of knowledge, skills and understanding of child development. Trainees need both a high level of education themselves and thorough teacher training before they can take on the demands of educating our young people.”

She added: “The Government needs to recognise that good behaviour management in the classroom is a very different matter from military discipline.”

Gen Sir Mike Jackson, former head of the Army, rejected the idea that former soldiers, sailors or airmen without degrees did not have the skills needed to teach.

He said: “I know from first-hand experience that ex-Armed Forces personnel have a huge amount to offer across the board. So many of the skills they have learnt in the military – leadership, determination, teamwork, discipline, respect – are naturally transferable to the classroom.

“They also have real knowledge of particular subjects because of the highly technical work they have done in the Forces. They might not have a degree but it would be wrong to suggest they do not possess the necessary skills.”

“These are high-calibre, highly skilled individuals and their knowledge and character can only be of benefit to schools.”

Published Date: 7th June 2013
Category: General