resources: ForcesWatch materials

updated October 2018

We have been working with the Peace Pledge Union to produce this White Poppy Remembrance Pack, which aims to explore Remembrance in a way that encourages critical thinking, and gives space for marginalised perspectives on war and peace.

The learning resource can be read online here, or purchased from the Peace Pledge Union as a bigger pack including white poppies and white poppy leaflets.

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September 2018

This briefing summarises key elements of military involvement in education and youth activities in the UK.

It covers the defence industry as well as the armed forces and Ministry of Defence.

It outlines the main concerns this raises and how these concerns have been voiced so far.

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August 2018

These presentations were recorded at the launch of the report Warrior Nation: war, militarisation and British democracy by Paul Dixon (published by ForcesWatch) on 25 June 2018 in London:  

  • Warrior Nation: war, militarisation and British democracy, by Professor Paul Dixon   
  • Military Britain by Professor Joanna Bourke
  • Militarism in public life in the UK, Emma Sangster, Coordinator of ForcesWatch

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This report explores how the 'Militarisation Offensive' which started in 2006 to improve public recognition and support for the armed forces.failed to produce majority support for the war in Afghanistan but deepened the militarisation of British politics and society. Since 2006 the military have broken constitutional convention and made public attacks on politicians, leading to the most severe tensions in political-military relations since the Second World War.

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April 2018

This submission made by ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament's human rights inquiry details our concerns around the need for regulation and transparent accountability of military activities in schools, the lack of education about peace and human rights, and the continued recruitment of children into the UK armed forces.

We refer to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child for change in the UK's policy and practice, and support for our concerns by child rights organisations. We make a number of recommendations regarding how the Scottich Parliament can more vigorously support childrens rights in Scotland.

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March 2018

Our security image

ForcesWatch are working with the Rethinking Security network and Quakers in Britain to develop educational materials in schools on the theme of 'our security'.

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March 2018

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Defence Committee's Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health Inquiry.

We conclude that:

More independent research, in anonymised conditions, needs to be carried out in a number of areas, including:

  • The relationship between early enlistment (especially junior entry), prior vulnerabilities such as socio-economic disadvantage, and short and long-term health impacts.
  • The connection between military training and mental ill-health.
  • Developmental issues that affect adolescents in particular, for example in assessing and appreciating long-term risk and making an informed decision to enlist.
  • Moral injury and how issues of conscience impact mental health.

Steps should be taken to improve legal procedures by which claims of harassment and bullying are investigated and incidents are reported within the military.

In order to avoid mental health risks to young soldiers, junior entry recruitment of those under 18 should end. There needs to be greater understanding about pre-enlistment risk factors for psychological ill-health such as socio-economic disadvantage and childhood adversity, and a consequent shift away from recruitment marketing that targets vulnerable groups.

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February 2018

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Education Committee's Alternative Provision Inquiry

This submission briefly outlines 'alternative provision with a military ethos' and details a number of concerns - relative effectiveness, targeting disadvantage, lack of consultation and lack of scrutiny.

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November 2017

This ForcesWatch briefing analyses data on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland for 2016-17.

Main findings:

  • 770 visits were made by the armed forces to schools in Scotland between April 16 and March 17, including a small number to primary schools and special schools.
  • The Army made 58% of all visits.
  • 68% of state secondary schools are visited in one year, some many times.
  • Three-quarters (75.5%) of visits are promoting a career in the armed forces.
  • State schools are visited far more than independent schools, even taking into account that they are far larger in number.  

The briefing provides an update to our report Armed Forces Visits to Schools in Scotland

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October 2017

ForcesWatch have teamed up with Quaker Peace & Social Witness to produce a resource pack to help people take action on militarism in their communities. And there is a new website to go with it where you can downlaod the pack or order a hard copy, find links to more resources etc.

 

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May 2017

In early 2017, the Ministry of Defence, and Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, praised the social mobility prospects offered by the military. They presented the military as a champion of social mobility for those who enlist in the lower ranks, and for recruits from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with low educational attainment.

This briefing explores if these claims about social mobility stand up to scrutiny or whether enlisting in the armed forces can have a negative impact upon social mobility, particularly for very young recruits.

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updated 2017

"The army careers advisers who operate in schools are skilled salesmen." Head of Army recruitment strategy, quoted in New Statesman, 2007

The armed forces have a growing involvement in secondary schools, colleges and even primary schools. While the Army, Navy and RAF have long run activities in schools as part of the Ministry of Defence's Youth Engagement programme, the Department for Education promotes 'military ethos' within education, and parts of the armed forces, along with the arms industry, are developing their involvement with curriculum provision and sponsorship of education institutions.

This A4 leaflet (updated 2017) outlines the issue and what the concerns are.

With the presence of the military in public spaces increasing and a high level of popularity for the armed forces, it is not always easy to respond to challenging questions that people pose in when faced with concerns expressed about militarism. Here we explore some responses to questions about how much the armed forces should be involved in our everyday lives, how they relate to young people, and the effectiveness and consequences of military action.

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This paper, published by ForcesWatch in 2016, explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.

It discusses the importance of encouraging emotional engagement in the consequences of war and of avoiding euphemistic language that overly sanitises and simplifies its causes and consequences. The paper looks at educational opportunities in exploring the meaning of the white poppy as an alternative to the red poppy and alternatives to violent responses to conflict.

The paper includes some ideas for how to teach remembrance and provides links to education resources and background reading for use around remembrance and wider education for and about peace.

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February 2016

This submission outlines a range of general educational and more detailed concerns and questions that need to be addressed in the wake of the growing influence of the military in education and make a number of recommendations for ensuring wider public debate and consultation around these developments and increasing the monitoring and oversight of military involvement in schools.

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December 2015

This report highlights seven recommendations from the Defence Committee’s report Duty of Care: Third Report of Session 2004-05 which have not been partially or fully implemented, and around which substantial concerns remain.

This report goes on to present additional evidence and arguments about the experience of the youngest recruits.

This report then discusses the concept of 'in loco parentis' and 'moral obligation' with regard to the army's duty of care towards young recruits, noting that the Defence Committee were concerned in 2005 that the MoD distinguished too rigidly between legal and moral obligations, with the latter as less important. 

In 2005, the Defence Committee discussed the lack of balance beween training needs and considerations for operational effectiveness, and thus made its recommendations. Ten years on, it is apparent that operational arguments, and current difficulties meeting recruiting targets, continue to prevent the armed forces from reviewing both their position on enlisting under-18s, and their recruitment practices and materials.

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November 2015

Alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Occasion of the UK's fifth periodic review report

This report focuses on:

  • The absence of a compulsory and organised curriculum of peace education within UK schools.
  • The increased promotion of the military within the educational system by the Government and by the armed forces.
  • Concerns regarding this activity taking place within education, including the process of recruitment to the armed forces.
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August 2015

This briefing is a response to the 2012-13 Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee’s investigation into UK armed forces ‘recruitment’ in schools in Wales. It supports the Petition Committee’s recommendations to the Welsh Government by presenting the key evidence that armed forces visits to secondary schools in Wales:

  • are disproportionately high to schools in more disadvantaged areas;
  • do not present a balanced view of the armed forces;
  • and, are more numerous and more career-focused than visits by most other employers(particularly the emergency services).
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