Military Schools Idea From Michael Gove Wins Backing From ResPublica
A network of schools run by the military should be introduced in Britain's most deprived areas to prevent youngsters turning into a new generation of rioters, according to a think-tank.
The military academies would draw upon the "unique technical and vocational expertise" of the armed forces and use it to address poor discipline and educational failure in problem neighbourhoods, ResPublica said.
In a report published on Wednesday, the independent organisation calls on the Coalition to back a pilot scheme that will see 10 schools set up in "Neet blackspots" - where a large proportion of youngsters are not in education, employment or training - before rolling them out in all local education authorities.
It says: "Military academies would open up new opportunities for those lacking hope and aspiration; they would change the cultural and moral outlook of those currently engulfed by hopelessness and cynicism."
The report, named Military Academies - Tacking Disadvantage, Improving Ethos and Outcomes and Revitalising our Armed Forces, was compiled in the wake of last summer's riots.
It says two-thirds of young people involved in the disorder had some form of special educational need and more than a third had been excluded from school during 2009-10, laying bare the extent of educational failure in Britain's poorest communities.
According to the study, troubled youngsters will benefit from receiving pastoral care from those with a military background.
Phillip Blond, founder of ResPublica, said: "Both Michael Gove and Nick Clegg have highlighted the value of military training. Mr Gove in calling for boot camps for expelled children and Nick Clegg's summer camps, but the Government must be much bolder.
"Why should the benefits of military discipline and training be limited to a handful of children excluded from mainstream schools, or just two weeks a year? If the Government is serious about harnessing the expertise and ethos of the armed forces, then they must be far more radical."
The report adds the academies will also help students into employment by forming partnerships with defence and other manufacturing firms that offer apprenticeships.
The authors also calls on the UK to adopt America's Troops to Teach scheme, a fast-track teacher training programme for military personnel which has helped over 9,500 veterans into the classroom in the US.
But teaching union NASUWT said the report was based on a "cynical misuse and misrepresentation of the causes of the riots".
Chris Keates, general secretary of the union, said: "The proposal amounts to nothing more than the disgraceful, unjustified vilification of whole communities, promulgating the view that if you are poor and working class you must, therefore, be included to criminality and anti-social behaviour."