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Armed forces' school resources are 'politically driven', say campaigners

Religious and anti-military campaigners have criticised a teaching pack launched by the prime minister’s office to educate schoolchildren about the British armed forces.

ForcesWatch and Quakers in Britain say the resource, supported by the Ministry of Defence, is "politically driven" and promotes recruitment to the armed forces, rather than its stated purpose of teaching students about history, English and citizenship.

The British Armed Forces Learning Resource 2014 includes a foreword from David Cameron saying: “There is not a single person in this country who is not a direct beneficiary of their sacrifices and bravery. We are in their debt; and we should be profoundly grateful for what they do.”

But the campaigners say the resources pack presents a one-sided case for the existence of the armed forces and the arms industry. They are also concerned that it presents an uncritical history of British involvement in war.

ForcesWatch spokesman Owen Everett said the document "amounts to political interference in children's education".

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said the resources pack amounted to "militarism", which "has no place in our classrooms".

He added: "This resource is ideologically driven and should be withdrawn."

At the launch of the pack, Anna Soubry, minister of state for defence personnel, welfare and veterans, said: “The role our armed forces play in the security of our country is as vital as ever, supported by peacekeeping and humanitarian work carried out right across the world.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Resources are regularly produced for teachers to help them come up with lesson plans that stimulate debate and discussion and many schools welcome these materials. It is then rightly for teachers to decide what is best for their pupils and what materials they wish to use during lessons."

 

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