Tories condemn MoD school recruitment ban

The Conservatives have condemned teachers’ call to ban military visits to schools.

The NUT conference today agreed Ministry of Defence (MoD) visits to schools amount to recruitment and target young people with “misleading propaganda”.

The MoD denies it actively recruits in schools but teachers told the NUT conference MoD representatives deliberately target students in deprived areas with a glamorous view of life in the armed forces.

Delegates passed a motion committing the NUT to “support teachers and schools in opposing MoD recruitment activities that are based upon misleading propaganda”.

The MoD insists the materials it sends to headteachers are not misleading and are designed to promote the armed forces as a legitimate career choice.

Addressing the conference Paul McGarr, a teacher from east London, said it was “difficult to imagine” any recruitment material that is not misleading.

“Let’s just try and imagine what that recruitment material would have to say were it not to be misleading,” he said.

“We would have material from the MoD saying ‘Join the army and we will send you to carry out the imperialist occupation of other people’s countries.

“‘Join the army and we will send you to bomb, shoot and possibly torture fellow human beings in other countries.

“‘Join the army and be sent, probably poorly equipped, into situations where people try and shoot you and kill you because you are occupying their countries.

“‘Join the army and if you survive and come home, possibly injured and mentally damaged by the experience, you and your family will be shabbily treated.'”

But shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said enforcing the ban on school visits would be a “kick in the teeth” to the armed forces.

Mr Fox said the NUT should “concentrate on improving the standard of education for British children instead of undermining British forces at a time when they are so overstretched”.