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ForcesWatch press release
The Welsh Government has been praised by ForcesWatch over a “groundbreaking” decision to support in principle more research into how the armed forces operate in secondary schools in Wales.
The formal response in Cardiff was the result of an investigation and report by the Assembly’s Petition’s Committee which called for further scrutiny ‘into the reasons for the unevenness of the armed forces visits to schools in Wales’ (2)(3).
The Welsh Government acknowledges ‘the unique nature of the armed forces as a career’. Other recommendations – also accepted by the Government – called for:
- Ensuring ‘guidance in relation to inviting the armed forces into schools take account of their unique nature as a career and the need to encourage an open and honest exchange of views with pupils about their role’.
- ‘That a diverse range of business and employers visits schools to provide pupils with information about the career opportunities they offer’.
Submissions to the Petitions Committee came from a wide range of individuals and organisations including a number raising concerns about the nature and purpose of armed forces visits to schools in Wales such as the former Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler. (4)
ForcesWatch Co-ordinator, Emma Sangster, said:
‘We are delighted to see Wales take the lead on this incredibly important issue and now call for the government’s recommendations to be implemented without delay.
‘Serious questions remain about the high number of visits by the military to schools in Wales. The figures show that the Army alone visited nearly 90 per cent of schools during the period of the study and state schools in some areas were visited far more frequently. No other employer visits schools for the purposes of promoting their career on such a scale.
‘This is a groundbreaking move which puts children first, recognises the need for more scrutiny of the armed forces' activity in schools and, in the Welsh Government’s own words, recognises the importance of having ‘impartial and balanced careers information’.
An Assembly debate about the report from the Petitions Committee, on the petition and the Welsh Government's response to it, is due to be held next Wednesday (30th September 2015) in plenary session.
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Notes to editors
1. ForcesWatch scrutinises armed forces recruitment practices and proposes changes in policy aimed at better serving the interests of young people. See http://www.forceswatch.net
2. The report from the National Assembly for Wales Petitions Committee, Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools: report on the consideration of a petition (June 2015) can be found here: http://www.assembly.wales/NAfW%20Documents/News%20section%20documents/Stop%20the%20Army%20Recruiting%20in%20schools.pdf
3. The written response by the Welsh Government to the Report of the Petitions Committee entitled Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools – Report on the Consideration of a Petition (23 September 2015) can be found here: http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/gen-ld10363/gen-ld10363-e.pdf
4. A ForcesWatch briefing, Concerns about armed forces visits to secondary schools in Wales (August 2015) can be found here: http://www.forceswatch.net/resources/concerns-about-armed-forces-visits-secondary-schools-wales