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COMMENT: Sober reflection needed on visits by the military
9:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
FORCESWATCH raises an interesting point for debate about the level of visits to our schools by the military.
Figures it has collated claim that there have been 170 visits to educational establishments in our county over the past five years.
Put like that, it sounds a huge figure. But let’s look at it from another context – five years is a long time and the reality is the military is turning up at an Oxfordshire school once a week during the school year.
The subtext to ForcesWatch’s debate in Oxford is that these are just dragnet visits, hoping to scoop up as many young men and women to populate our Armed Forces for their engagements, particularly Afghanistan, through a patriotic surge.
The Ministry of Defence, however, says these are not recruitment visits but are to support school activities.
The truth, we suspect, lies somewhere in the middle. And let us not forget, a career in the military can be a rewarding one for many young men and women.
ForcesWatch has hardly proven a conclusive case that such visits should be stopped.
John Prangley, the former headteacher of St Augustine’s, probably struck the correct tone. With the issue now raised, it is perhaps sensible for the broader school communities, including parents, just to reflect and make a judgement one way or the other.