Taste of army life for under-achieving secondary students
THE army is being drafted in to help combat the problem of under-achieving pupils in secondary schools.
Three high schools – Broxburn Academy, Hawick High and Grange Academy in East Ayrshire – are the first to sign up to a pilot scheme which will see them establish cadet detachments which will train at least one afternoon a week.
The scheme is designed to allow those who are struggling academically to pick up a series of vocational qualifications before leaving school.
The pupils will train for two hours and in some cases will join their community cadets one evening a week.
The pilot scheme follows on from the work of SkillForce, an educational charity which began following an initiative by the Ministry of Defence and now works in schools across Britain helping those who are in danger of leaving without any skills or qualifications.
It is hoped the pupils will work towards the second-star level of the army cadet force curriculum, which will see them learn field craft and first aid, as well as taking part in
elements of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
Robbie Gibson, chief executive of Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, said the pilot project came about after one of the headteachers of the schools involved saw the impact of being in the cadets.
He said: “He was staring in the eyes of confident young people who were being encouraged to go out into the world, and he wanted that for his pupils who were going to under-achieve in English, maths or other
“This pilot is for where the headteacher identifies 15 pupils or so who would rather do something vocational, rather than deeply academic.”
At Broxburn Academy, two groups will make up the school’s cadet detachment – S3 pupils who can opt in as part of Curriculum for Excellences’ broad general education phase, and S4-6 pupils.
Headteacher Peter Reid said he hoped pupils would end up with the cadet second-star level, as well as the army proficiency certificate, a uniformed and emergency services Intermediate 1 qualification, a bronze Duke of Edinburgh award and a first-aid certificate.
He said: “Traditionally, these are kids who would not be picking up much in the way of qualifications in their secondary education, so this seemed an ideal opportunity.”
But Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said there were concerns about schemes involving the armed forces.
She said: “A huge danger is that well-behaved, well-motivated pupils will see this as other kids being rewarded for bad behaviour. That has been a concern where SkillForce has been used. Another concern is that it will be used as a recruitment tool for the army, and I think that’s a difficult and dangerous situation.”
Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a £10 million programme to create more cadet units in state secondary schools in England.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east