The government has announced that from next year it will be fast-tracking soldiers without degrees into the nation’s state schools thanks to special courses that will allow soldiers to qualify as teachers in half the time that it normally takes. However head teachers are raising concerns about the suitability of ex-squaddies to teach and the curriculum changes that will have to be made in order to accommodate their expertise.
“It’s all right for David Laws to say ‘many members of our inspiring armed forces possess the skills and expertise relevant and transferable to the classroom – leadership, discipline, motivation and teamwork’ ” said Clive Morris head teacher of Harold Shining Future Academy and IT Achievement Haven (formerly Harold Comprehensive). “But once people leave the army all that tends to go out of the window and so we will have a generation of new teachers best suited to teaching alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, committing violent crimes, mental illness and domestic violence. All of which occur in disproportionately high numbers amongst ex-armed forces personnel.”
“I want to see Year Eleven beasted as much as the next man, probably more, but I doubt that’s going to improve our GCSE results.”
Harold resident Col. Thomas Hallet who served in the British Army for thirty years said, “The problem is that in the army you give an order and the expectation is that it will be obeyed without question or hesitation and what so many ex-soldiers can’t cope with is that on Civvy Street you can give an order and at best nothing happens. I used to have dozens of troops under my command now even the bloody dog won’t listen to me when I ask it to stop digging up the nasturtiums.”
Carly Jeffery a teaching assistant at St Mary’s Church of England Primary school said that she couldn’t see what it was about the armed forces that could make someone better suited to being a teacher. “In my year at school only the really thick kids joined the army. Brilliant if they’re all going to be PE teachers but it won’t work with other subjects. If the government really wants to provide help for heroes why doesn’t it raise their wages and stop Atos screwing them over if they get hurt?”