Military-Style Free School Set To Open In Manchester

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 02/09/2011 13:00 Updated: 02/11/2011 09:12

A military-style school staffed entirely by ex-servicemen is set to open in Greater Manchester, it has been revealed.

Leading military figures, including a former defence staff chief and a captain of a counter-insurgency unit in Afghanistan, will be teaching children as young as 11.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said children may be taught using military-style discipline.

Tom Burkard from the CPS said the proposed school would use both qualified and unqualified teachers: "You are told to teach children to manage their own learning. An undergraduate has enough trouble managing their own learning - take an illiterate pupil growing up in an inner-city estate and expect them to do the same is in the realms of fantasy."

Burkard argues that those opposed to military discipline for young children simply "did not understand it". Burkard added the plans for establishing the school were necessary as existing schools were not adequately educating children.

The so-called 'Phoenix school' will not open its doors until September 2012 at the earliest as it is still at the pre-proposal stage. The Daily Mail suggested the school would most likely be based at the Ministry of Defence premises in Oldham which currently houses a disused territorial army training ground.

The plans follow government proposals for a discipline crackdown which were announced earlier this year. Instructors recruited from the armed forces were to be drafted in to work with problem children at risk of being expelled from mainstream education. The government also announced ex-servicemen would be able to apply for a £9,000 bursary to retrain as teachers.

At the time, education secretary Michael Gove said: "The presence of role models who have experience in taking young men and women and forging them into a cohesive team, and instilling discipline, would be immensely valuable."

The proposals have already proven divisive, but follow the prime minister's latest announcement to crack down and adopt a "tough love" approach to disaffected youth.

David Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Friday: "We have got to do better at bringing up our children and instilling discipline in school."

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