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Eamonn Walsh | 15:06 UK time, Monday, 28 February 2011

Panorama goes back to school to examine Government plans to send in the troops to Britain's troubled classrooms. Can they help restore discipline, leadership and respect?

It's an idea born in the USA where around 15,000 ex-military personnel have become teachers and done their bit in some of America's toughest inner-city schools.

Vivian White reports on the military manoeuvres claimed to be building David Cameron's so-called "Big Society".

We welcome your views on Classroom Warriors.Please use this forum to leave a comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    Use this forum to tell us what you think about Classroom Warriors.

  • Comment number 2.

    The only hope for this country is to abandon the social engineering policies pursued since the end of WW2 which also includes the reintroduction of National Service and corporal punishment in schools. Unfortunately the chattering class liberals who control Whitehall and the have the ear of politicians will never allow this to happen. Consequently the disintegration of school discipline witnessed in recent decades will continue and if not deteriorate further only because it can't get any worse. But the policies which would dramatically improve the situation overnight will never see the light of day.

  • Comment number 3.

    such an unbalanced report. The BBC should be embarrassed. Just read the Ofsted report for Lordswood school - hardly a glowing endorsement - a satisfactory school with lots of support other than that from ex-military types. Good behaviour management has nothing to do with the previous career of teachers. There are proven methods and approaches that most teachers use effectively in most schools.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is great, Surely this means teacher training needs to be reviewed and new skills taught to them,especially around respecting their pupils and listening to them, giving better guidance and managing poor behaviour.

    However Youth workers do this too, community youth tutors in Kent already teach in school and see the young people in the evening too. this is giving young people a chance to have a person to speak to in both environments. It is working there too and youth workers use similar methods to the troops to teachers staff, yet they are canning youth services.

  • Comment number 5.

    I recently retired after almost 40 years as a secondary school teacher (and recently as a learning consultant) to focus upon ‘helping everyone learn to succeed’.
    “Successful people have learnt the 8 skills needed to identify and overcome the difficulties they meet and achieve happiness” – this is the outcome from extensive research throughout the world over the last 60 years, in areas as widespread as sport, music, books, film, science and business.
    These are, of course, the skills of a successful teacher, being an academic or expert in a specialist area does not necessarily mean they will be an effective teacher. Hopefully, schemes like this will gradually help more people and the media realise that it is these developing skills that really matters.
    1. Effective Learning Skills - We need to learn to survive but unless we develop our ability to learn throughout our life the continually changing situations and difficulties in the 21st century will destroy/defeat us.
    2. Communication skills – concentration, verbal skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing), non-verbal skills (visual gestures, body language, touch)
    3. Cognitive (thinking) skills - analytical and conceptual (systemic) thinking
    4. Self-awareness
    5. Managing Feelings
    6. Motivation
    7. Empathy
    8. Social skills
    If our society is to be really improved – developing ALL these 8 skills is essential and helping everyone (especially parents, schools, public services and the media) that this should become our main priority.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm sorry but I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Every single 'teacher' on that programme had a lot less qualifications than me (if any) and i'm still a student doing my Alevels! I would hate for my child to be taught by someone who has no qualifications, the one man had an A in GCSE English?! You need at least a degree in the subject before you could even think about teaching it surely?!

  • Comment number 7.

    This and the next week's panorama makes it so clear they are biased and owned by the government. I would have hoped an organisation owned by the tax payer could be choosing subjects which are asking the questions not being asked elsewhere and enlightening people. I agree the skills gained from military discipline are excellent preparation to have a very positive input to civilian life which is increasingly lacking in teamwork, dedication and unselfishness. But the military don't want to be thrown on the scrap heap and have to find new life in areas they never hoped to be part of. It's biased to be reporting in this fashion without a balancing report the next week on those who's direction is lost after being abandoned by the military.

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't disagree that some ex military might make good teachers, but this was the most one-sided, government bootlicking piece of journalism I've seen outside the tabloids. Poor job Panorama.

  • Comment number 9.

    What an incredibly biased piece of journalism. Not a single counter argument or interview with anyone opposed to Michael Gove's appalling and discriminitory ideas for fast tracking ex-military teachers.

    All that was discribed were elements of good teaching practise which are used daily by a large number of good teachers. Sadly none of these were given the chance to speak or air their views.

    All in all a very disappointing one sided programme. Shame on you BBC.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why not simply merge the Department for Education with the MOD and outsource all teacher training and logistical supplies to BAE systems. Then the newly formed Defence and Education Select Committee in Parliament can be left to ponder why 2012's national supply of pencils was vastly over budget and will not be delivered until 2020; it will subsequently be decommissioned as not being fit for purpose!

  • Comment number 11.

    What a shocking report! I have never watched such a one sided biased report as this. Out of the 30 minute programme I would say that 25 minutes of it was dedicated purely to the pros of this idea. I find it insulting that the implication that military personnel can control classes better than professional trained educators. There was little evidence to suggest that pupils progressed academically under military teachers. I have no doubt that people from the forces have a lot to offer but it is grossly simplistic to suggest that they automatically improve behaviour as a result of their background. As teachers we are given little support to deal with the behaviour and are restricted in the way that we can effectively deal with it.
    Where was the other side of this story - the side which examines and shows that professionally trained teachers can just as effectively control and maintain behaviour in schools.

  • Comment number 12.

    What is needed is a programme investigating whether ex-military personnel could be drafted in to take over the jobs of BBC 'investigative journalists'. The demise of Panorama accelerated tonight with this appalling 'evidence-lite' effort. This is an important subject raising interesting, controversial and important issues. And sadly the programme itself has to be the focus of debate as there was nothing in it worthy of a serious discussion. Investigion? 1/10; methodology, 0/10; interviewing (!!!!) absolutely abject.

  • Comment number 13.

    Partial, selective and poorly researched – but then it is the BBC.

    To suggest that most teachers routinely rage at students and their sole means of communication is by volume is unbelievably simplistic.

    Respect for students, approachability, patience and consistence have always been the basis of good teaching. They are not qualities that rely on a military training and one cannot claim that the undoubtedly inspirational teaching shown was purely a result of a military background.

    Lowering your voice to gain attention was a technique taught to me during teacher training over thirty years ago – it's not some magic new military invention.

  • Comment number 14.

    OFSTED haven't got a clue. My partner worked in school for 15 years and every OFSTED visit she had were all prewarned by at least 5 days. The schools are so worried of getting a bad report the staff are all warned and so were the pupils. The school my children attend is out of control. Its so got so bad we have pulled the children out. Even education welfare have douts about the school. The problem is they won't put it in writing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Extremely worrying report! As parents of a primary school age child and educated to Masters degree levels we do not believe this is the right way forward for our child. Not all children are complete monsters, some have manners and are taught the basic family values. Smaller classes with more resources for schools would be a start. Children need to learn and be able to challenge. The military are a distinct cultural group. There are some aspects of their behaviour and management style which would not be acceptable. Fast tracking them to degree level at the taxpayer's expense, when young students are expecting to pay is unfair, unless they remain as a teacher for at least 5 to 10 years (a return to service package). We need to focus on those who are educated to degree level without work now - young, passionate, leaders of the future - give them the opportunity to become teachers.

  • Comment number 16.

    What a fantastic propaganda piece! It may as well been produced by the MOD itself. It was basically a 30 minute recruitment advertorial.

    To actually hold up the U.S. education system as something to aspire to says it all.

    It would be a stretch to even call it journalism. Call me old fashioned, but isn't it supposed to be objective?

  • Comment number 17.

    Wheras I agree it was a terribly biased piece of journalism itself there are certain aspects which ring true. While my children was at school there was a movement to discourage competetive activities due to the "dissapointment of coming last being damaging".
    There seems to be more and more roles being placed on schools which take them away from their core role e.i. teach.
    Supersocraties' comment is a classic example, empathy? self-awareness? managing feelings? non-verbal skills? These are not the primary roles of a school but the family. About the only ones on his list that apply are concentration, verbal skills, cognitive skills and motivation (think that was the role of competetive activities where I came in).
    As to davedrawbridge, there was one piece by a union representative in support of traditional teachers however she avoided answering the key question put to her.
    Finally priteacher the reason why there was no other side "the side which examines and shows that professionally trained teachers can just as effectively control and maintain behaviour in schools." was both because of the biased nature of the program and more importantly it's rarer than hens teeth. Sorry but its true. Why, a lack of respect and discipline!

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes, it was strange to see Vivian White presenting such a one-sided perspective. None of the probing questions and counter arguments we are so used to from Mr. White. (To be honest, I thought the programme was building up the case before delivering a sucker punch. The latter never arrived - I was most surprised.)

    Despite all of this, I can relate to the points raised. During my secondary education some 40-years ago, those subjects I was most successful with were taught by ex-military staff. Just my personal experience.

  • Comment number 20.

    Just read the comments above, and as much that I agree that it was quite a "one sided" programe, I also believe that most of the above have missed the point. It wasnt suggesting that we adapt a "square bashing" regime at schools, it wasnt saying that the military will come in and wave the magic wand and all schools will become highly disciplined, but what it is saying (and it does'nt take O levels, A levels and Spirit Levels to work out!!) that in a lot of inner city areas (of which I do originate from)there is a social break down. The military could bring in a diffierent out look on the way things are done and taught. I know a lot of military personnel study for degrees and qualifications during down time while on Operations, now that takes some dedication. How many University students would give up their social life for extra study?
    I honestly think this could be a great idea and chance for our inner city schools to maybe turn the corner, where street crime, knife crime and anti social behaviour is becomming rife. The results made by Skill -Force are very positive, and this is just the next step. As for the comment that "the military dont want to be thrown on the scrap heap and throw into areas they didnt want to go into...." what a load of rubbish. A military career only lasts 22 years, and at most (for OR's) 30 years, so with another 30 years working life left, why not teaching? Not all arms in the services are just about "security". The forces have cooks, logistic experts, signallers, pilots,vets, historians and even musicians.So maybe they could be the answer or at least an alternative!

  • Comment number 21.

    Utter rubbish missing-link. How many schools and classrooms have you been into recently? The vast majority of schools and classrooms have good behaviour in them. And try making your point about competitive sport if you were the one who always came last and could never see the point anyway - we are not, nor should we be, all the same. You don't need to be extremely competitive to have a fulfilling successful life and to give back to society. You, like the Government, are confusing training with education.

  • Comment number 22.

    I can only agree with everyone who's posted about the shamelessly biased reporting by the BBC tonight - perhaps they should consider renaming Panorama 'Propaganda' as this was a perfect example.

    No evidence shown of anyone from a previously military career actually tackling anything more than completely passive students. Show them in action and I might start to be convinced that they have something to contribute to classroom management, but I doubt it. Teachers have a whole range of skills in this area and to suggest that ex-military are the saviours of our schools is showing the distinct lack of respect that teachers have come to expect over the years.

    Digusted, but sadly not entirely surprised.

  • Comment number 23.

    This is, as stated above, a terribly biased programme and NOT what I would expect from the BBC, or from Panorama in particular. As a Headteacher of an urban 11-16 High School I could take Panorama into virtually any classroom and show dedicated professional teachers motivating students with good and outstanding lessons. From these teaching skills come learning, respect and good behaviour. I am sure that ex-military personnel could 'control', but can they impart skills and knowledge in specialist subjects.
    This is a tabloid approach which looks like a party political broadcast for Michael Gove. He is not a man who listens to the professionals, nor does he understand what an education for the 21st century should look like. His antiquated curriculum ideas, based on his public school experience would provide far more meat for a genuinely investigative Panorama programme -how about challenging what really matters before it is destroyed by a man on a soapbox??? Cadet Forces, Ancient History, Latin......what a great education he suggests for a technological age where creativity and adabtability will be the key to success in a world which has not yet been invented and which our children will lead.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yes, biased, ill researched, insulting to teachers - all of the above. I listened with my jaw dropping open to the ex-military man in the US giving us the groundbreaking news that shouting at children is unproductive and it is better to talk more quietly to get them to listen. We all learned that on Day One of teacher training! We are all skilled and trained in classroom management, you know, BBC. Yet your programme shamelessly suggested that the military of the saviours of our schools and that any teacher not from a military background is a bumbling idiot in need of an ex army saviour. There was no counter argument presented, other than a very brief and clearly well edited NUT viewpoint, which was in fact the only interesting and true point made in the entire show.

    The facts are that teachers are leaving the profession for a plethora of reasons, and rarely because of discipline issues. Therefore there is a crisis coming and the government has to get someone to teach, so, killing two birds with one stone - appearing to offer something for the military folk who have also been shabbily treated - they get the classrooms staffed, sometimes at cut price instructor cost.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am sorry Educator but I was that child who always came last at most competitive activities and I left school with only 2 "O" levels. Despite that I trained as an aircraft engineering technician (2nd in class), Nurse, Electronics Engineer (1st in class). Coming last teaches you to try your hardest not to be.
    I had a great deal of involvement in my three childrens schooling and saw 1st hand the way teachers paid far more attention to those who could do the work and progress the lesson to the detriment of those that were struggling. The one teacher who tried to help the latter just ended up with bored high achievers. I do not blame the teachers however, they have a far more difficult job today, something I could not do. But supersocrates list just illustrates why in that they cannot get on with the job they need to do, teach.
    The solution is difficult and is far more than just "parachuting in" ex-military staff. I think that for example the cadet units in the school provide an effect which is extremely important for the overall discipline but why does it require the school staff to run it. Schools should be far more involved in the local community instead of closing their gates at 3:30 as too many do. But where does the funding come from.

  • Comment number 26.

    What was this all about? Was this, by any chance, a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party? I have never witnessed a more unbalanced report outside Fox News! Fair and balanced, was it, as Fox would claim? What are the BBC so frightened of? I have long been an admirer of the Beeb, but this sychophantic load of s**t made me feel sick to my stomach. What next for our schools? Hitler Jungend und Volkssturm volunteers? And we'll be told how spiffingly THAT is going!

  • Comment number 27.

    It was amazing when I watched this programme, as it leaves a few questions that needed answers and would appreciate it very much if a member of the team would make contact in due time.

  • Comment number 28.

    This programme was completely one-sided.When did Panorama stop becoming a balanced current affairs programme that looked at both sides of the debate? Lots of teachers use the techniques advocated by the 'military' in the programme to assume that being a member of the armed forces gifts you with these skills is ridiculous. Still I guess the government are going to have to do something to find jobs for the number of military personnel that will be made redundant under the cuts!
    Schools do need strong leadership -but you don't have to be in the army to demonstrate this - it would have been nice to see one of these heads being interviewed!
    It feels like the BBC are so terrified of their budget being cut that they no longer offer balanced criticisms of government policy. I have yet to meet a single person that rates Gove as a minister!

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm one of the ex-military who is trying to help educate the children of our country. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to volunteer some of my time to help in my local primary school. We have a great mix of kids of all abilities and I do what I can to assist the teachers - they have a bloody difficult job to do and I don't envy them. With all the paperwork thrown at them from previous governments I'm surprised they have time to teach!
    I am also very, very disappointed that the only comments posted from this program have been so negative and, in the main, criticising the government for no reason than being an easy snipe.
    Very soon after starting to help in the school I was working with the kids who need the most help. We're making great progress together but this isn't due to any of my "shout-at-you-do-it-now-or-else" background. It's down to our "we're all one, we're together and I'll help you because you'll help me when I need it" military background. THAT'S what being in the Forces is about and THAT'S why we connect with the kids. I was out completely out of my comfort zone when I started but they helped me and now I'm helping them. We work together.

    I'd love to go further but apparently I need to be an ex-officer and have a degree to get on the ex-Forces teacher program. Ironic, isn't it.

    All of you who complain: How much support do you give to your school? Do you go in there and help your teachers? Do you understand what's going on in your school?

    Shut up or put up.

  • Comment number 30.

    Alas, Will Owing's data to support his vigorous defence of the TTT program leaves a lot to be desired:
    1. He works at the Old Dominion University of Virginia
    2....and the STATE office of the TTT is based on campus...
    3. The research he cites is written by.....
    4. Will Owing, and interestingly enough, funded by....
    5....the Troops to Teachers program...
    6. Most of which is social science tosh based on surveyed opinions of...
    7. TTT members and their supervisors.

    I could go on, but it's painful. I've written a fairly lengthy blog about this program, and while Panorama is usually the business, I feel that using TTT funded research to justify the success of TTT is pretty sharp practice. I'm just saying.

  • Comment number 31.

    The BBC seem to be extremely frightened of offending the Conservative-led government and this truly awful Panorama programme further supports this view.
    Mr Gove, who is remarkably still in a job after a huge number of gaffes is appealing to the average Daily Mail reader with this gimmick. While some ex-service personel might make good teachers (cetainly with the cuts to the defence budgets it may offer a new career) this biased, party political broadcast failed to take into account that to be a good teacher doesn't mean that you have to be trained to kill.
    The documentary also failed to point out that the cadet school in question is in special measures. I also felt that the use of an American school was pointless in the light that we have a very different educational system here.
    The main upshot of this however is that Panorama, instead of offering balance presents a picture that the many problems in schools can be only be solved by people in flak jackets. Certainly that hasn't been the case in other places where the British Army has previously been employed - Northern Ireland for example.

  • Comment number 32.

    Is this dreary right-wing drivel what passes for journalism at the BBC today? I remember (from many many years ago) when Panorama had a reputation for producing intelligent critical documentaries. Alas long gone. It has since become a propaganda mouthpiece for the establishment. I can only assume the production team has been taken over by extreme right-wingers.

  • Comment number 33.

    Three points:

    1) This was a totally biased piece of journalism. I have noticed that Panorama seems to have been unable to with multiple viewpoints for some time. Mr Gove must be delighted with this piece of excelent spin.

    2)I have no objection to ex military becoming teachers as long as they have the same standards of subject knowledge as the rest of us teachers.

    3) It doesn't matter if you have a military background, a police background, academic background or housewife's background. Simple fact of the matter is: good classroom management needs to be supported by strong management and school leadership. Doesn't matter how strong an individual you are if your managers are apathetic the kids will walk all over you.

    I work in a school where I don't even get support with upholding published school uniform policy. What would our military friends make of that? Is such a scenario even possible in the army?

    So let's look at the real problem: a top heavy, overpaid, lazy and ineffective school leadership team will be the problem in most schools with discipline problems.

    Oh and that school in Birmingham? Well we have a class that we wheel out for the cameras as well. Come on...I've looked at the OFSTED and the Stats not everything there is fantastic. But what is not fantastic will have been kept well away from the cameras.

  • Comment number 34.

    There are some assumptions being made here by many of those who have
    witten posts.

    1)Nobody has indicated that every leaving soldier is going to be a teacher!
    2)It may surprise the people complaining about potential academic levels seem to have s reversely snobish idea of their ownqualifications? Many of those who will go into teaching from the forces will already be degree qualified, many to good honours level and sone to further degree levels. (Incidentally there are a number of people I have come across this year entering the services with postgraduate degress,one a PhD.
    3)I find it inyeresting history that the post war emergency trained teachers by and large got good results, and engendered the respect of their pupils?
    4)The valuwe to teaching of ex-services is not by any means only the "disciplinary" aspect which of course hits the gutter press, but that they are mature people, with some expoerience of the world, whonhave proved they can work hard, not once at college, but through their saervice, to meet targets and objectives. Largely they have learned a respect for people which is not a hollow middle-class politeness, (and how many times have I seen s deputy head politely rude to parents?), but a real valuing of people.
    5)Teamwork is talked about in some schools, but in many I have sen little understanding of what is meant by the word, and I have seen many schools where staff are ing to work, and coming home whinging about their colleagues. Ex military understand teams working to an objective.

    The message I was left with in this programme was totally counter to the NUT woman, whom I understand has not taught for nearly 20 years). The message I received is that this project might just provide the help needed to the educational system not to focus on the rights ONLY of one child, but the rights of every child and every teacher in the school to go to work in a safe and calm learning environment, to respectively
    learn or to teach.

    Those middle class teachers in "nice" schools in "nice" areas could perhaps, if they hold ALL the competencies of a good teacher, move to schools with problems?

  • Comment number 35.

    This all rather amplifies the (politically motivated) ignorance and misconceptions about our armed forces who are extremely valuable men and women doing extraordinary things. On radio programmes; discussions of this topic, recently, they've even been referred to as "Squaddies". Posters here refer to Flak Jackets, and Northern Ireland, totally irrelevant. Strange to see so many assumptions, based on little or no experience, nor much understanding of our Forces personnel and their training, nor of their roles. Perhaps a more helpful attitude would be to look at the benefits and wonder whether the education system, veterans, students, and indeed teachers, might actually prosper from these proposals.

  • Comment number 36.

    Where was the other side of this story - the side which examines and shows that professionally trained teachers can just as effectively
    control and maintain behaviour in schools."

    The other side of the story, priteacher, has already been very fairly put on many occasions, in the complaints made BY TEACHERS about not being able to do their job properly, and in the number who have left the profession stating those reasons. Did they all lie?

    You are more qualified than all the teachers on the programme? Would you wish to list the qualifications of those who appeared? I doubt especially that the deputy of Lordswood and the Head of the primary school shown fit your description? I also feel it likely that the US ex Major may hold qualifications above those you may ever achieve?

    I will not disagree many schools do not have disciplinary problems. Some do.
    "Cadet Forces, Ancient History, Latin......what a great education he suggests for a technological age where creativity and adabtability will be the key to success in a world which has not yet been invented and which our children will lead. "

    In the Cadet Forces example you denigrate (On what evidence? I would welcome your reply), a young person will learn more of leadership and responsibility than in virtually any classroom situation.

    Ancient History? Shall we cease degree studies in such? History may just be one thing after another but an undersatnding of that may just allow us to see patterns and try not to repeat such?

    Or would your feeling be that training in technology and science prepares those same people to make the social decisions around the product of their work?

    "Yet your programme shamelessly suggested that the military of the saviours of our schools and that any teacher not from a military background is a bumbling idiot in need of an ex army saviour"

    Oddly, I did not receive that message? Do you feel threatened in some way so have a different perception to mine?

    Hitler Jungend und Volkssturm volunteers? "

    Your rather poor call upon Godwin's Law did not end this discussion, and will not. How on earth from the programme did your mind flip to Hitler?

    Do YOU relate good behaviour as tantamount to Nazism? I don't. I relate good behaviour to allowing the human rights of everybody to get along with their business in a calm and unthreatened manner.

  • Comment number 37.

    In response to TomHGreenWigan - I am a teacher in a school that has behavioural problems. I have taught for 16 years and stand by the points I made. Some of my colleagues were taught by ex-army personnel it is pointless to make this comparison as we now live in a very different society and not all of them engendered respect.

    I would like to see a much broader spectrum of people going into education - I do think it is important to have a degree - particularly when you are teaching GCSE and A level. Unfortunately because of the increase in tuition fees and an 80% cut in funding to universities for teacher training this is less likely to happen. We currently have new student teachers in our college and next year their course intake will shrink by 3/4s.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think I see from whence you come! I would say though, that "balalce" should not necessarily be a feature of the programme, as there have been many programes on successful schools, showing excellent school management and teaching in the past, and there has been seen no need to balance those with failures?

    I absoluitely totally agree with your comment about the virtues of a much broader spectrum of people going into education.

    I see no magic bullet in ex-services entering teaching, but I would also wish to try to dispel many prejudices which are held against the services, largely held by people who have had no direct contact with how they work these day, and confirm my opinion than many who leave and enter via this scheme or otherwise, will possess valuable skills to offer to staff teams.

  • Comment number 39.

    Some responses from ex-military seem to suggest they are quite capable of the job. I'm sure that is true. I also know it is very easy to stereotype ex-soldiers as well.

    However, you could argue a lot of ex-professionals in any field could be good at something else. Does that mean they deserve special dispensation?

    A point missed by a lot of people is that, as Minister Gove explained, ex-military will be fast-tracked to obtain the qualifications and be able find a job easier. As one of the tens of thousands of qualified teachers who do not have a hope in hell in getting a teaching job due to school staffing deregulation, I find this quite disturbing.

    Instead of looking at ex-military, why don't we actually give the tens of thousands of unemployed teachers, like me, their jobs back?

    Another aspect I am concerned about is the ingraining of the military in everyday society. As an institution, the British Military has participated in and supported terrorism all over the world. Perhaps you could ask the families of the victims of the British trained Taliban, or the families of the dead Iraqis killed by some of world's first WMD's in the 1920's, or relatives of the estimated 1 million people killed in Indonesia in 1965, whose names appeared on death lists prepared with the help of the British Embassy. Ask our victims what they would think of soldiers in their children's schools.

  • Comment number 40.

    @podilato I can only assume you made that comment purely for the sake of winding up the various military and ex-military people who have commented given that it is crass and generalised as it is historically incorrect.
    The Brtish army has never trained the Taliban, the Brtish goverments involvement in aiding the mujhaddin (of which the taliban are a broken away faction) against the Russians was something no Afghan had any objection too.
    True roughly 6000 Iraqs died in the Iraqi revolt of 1920 but many British died fighting the Germans in the previous years and the years to come, by your argument we should bar all Germans from teaching in the UK.
    As for Indonisia The British Army never took part in any action in indonisia the British goverments support for the President at the time had nothing to do with the Armed forces.
    The British armed forces has never sponsered terrorism of any kind in fact it has conducted more operations against terrorism than almost any other.
    The British armed forces is an organisation that conducts its operations at the orders of the British goverment voted into power by the British people.
    My final point is that some former servicemen are being considered to teach in schools across Britain not Afghanistan, Iraq or Indonisia so I imagine the families of the alleged victims will feel nothing at all.

  • Comment number 41.


    I am not unsympathetic to your views on he deregulation of schools, and very syumpathetic that there are qualified teachers not employed. On thing I would suggest though is that fairly freshly ex military, being used to upping sticks and moving their families about, will probably be more flexible as to where they teach, and there are certainly areas and schools advertising?

    Abdiel, (#40), has picked up on your views on the dangers you perceive in "ingraining of the military in everyday society", in which I think you have indeed placed some false premises.

    Especially though, I think you have missed something vital? Nobody is surely suggesting for a moment that we place serving soldiers into classrooms ?

    It may come as a surprise, but soldiers ARE ingrained into everyday society! They are not weird monsters from the deep, they are citizens, the partners of other citizens, and the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews of other citizens.

    If you look to the values and standards of the British Army, I can assure you these guys have worked under probably the world's most carefully designed and policed working conditions where respect for others, colleagues and those with whom they come in contact, is key.

    You will find with time as some interested soldiers, male and female, (as, incidentally many have before!), look to a second career where they take on new challenges for new achievements, that "these people"
    will be among the strongest supporting the real rights of all young people in their schools to have the freedom to do at school what they come for.

  • Comment number 42.

    A good example here of a second career:

    Let me say, for those of the readership who appear to have an "anti military fear", and perhaps (especially those you cannot afford to use The Midland so may bnot be able to visit and see first hand), that Paul Bayliss' day will include much diplomacy, much staff and team supervision and motivation.

    He doen not quite portray the "squaddie" or "flak-jacket " image you hold of the British Soldier?

    Sorry, and no disrespect to the man, but there are thousands of this quality of man currently serving and using just those same skills for most of their working life, punctuated with the more unpleasant duties government requires of them.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 43.

    To the moderator: I am unsure if this link was attached by my left hand, before or after the right hand had sent the post :)

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 44.

    My apologies to the Moderator, I had not read the link rules well enough !

    Paul Bayliss was reported upon in the Manchster Evening News, and it described his service history, finishing service as a Warrant Officer, also his current employment with some description of his work five years later as Resident Manager for the Midland Hotel.

    Indeed a search on his name and Manchester Evening News currently places the article at the top of the search.

  • Comment number 45.

    @abdiel, I certainly did not to try and wind up individual soldiers or ex-military as I work with some of them. That is why I said the military as an 'institution'. Is a bank teller in your local branch responsible for the massive tax avoidance and bonuses of the bank? But they do carry out work which benefits the bank as an institution.

    As far as historical inaccuracies, the casualties in Iraq numbered in the tens of thousands, almost all civilians who were deliberately targeted. The mujhaddin were a disparate rebel group until they received the huge backing of the CIA and British intelligence and military.

    I could go on all day about the terrorism supported in one way or another in former Yugoslavia (the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure including water supplies and schools), in Malaya in the 1950's, Kenya (where the British set up concentration camps which killed about 40000 in order to clear the land for landowners which still affects the country to this day), Chile, Iran (where British Secret Service assisted the US in putting the Shah in power), the support of Israel in its war against the Palestinian population (including military ties), even the training of the Libyan military as late as 2009, amongst other things.

    To be anti-war or anti-military is not the same as anti-soldier. They are just as much victims as anyone else. I would certainly not have anything against an ex-military person sharing their experiences and utilizing their skills for the benefit of younger people. I am against the infiltration by institutions, such as military or corporations having any sort of foothold in an educational setting where children do not have the choice of what they are taught.

  • Comment number 46.

    Well it seems my post has been rejected. So I will briefly outline my point and hopefully this time it will get past the moderator.

    Basically it doesn't matter what your background is. I have taught with colleagues who have:

    1) A military background
    2) An academic background
    3) A Media background
    4) Some were even mothers who had gone into teaching in their 40's after their children went to school.
    5) Background in industry and finance

    All of these different people were equally good at teaching and equally skilled and well qualified. Above all they are all excellent at managing behaviour in the classroom.

    Where I have seen problems with behaviour in schools it has almost always been because of weak school leadership and lack of support from senior management. And an unwillingness by senior management to uphold school policies and rules.

    My point is that discipline is only as good as the leadership in a school. If the Head don't work the body wont either.

    Is this not the same in the military? Or indeed any organisation?

    Does it really matter about a teacher's background.......they are a teacher now.....not a soldier...aren't they?

  • Comment number 47.


    I agree Britain has a speckled past! Having said that, I am not "anti-teaching", though annoyed, for example that I have had turn away many graduates who do not possess adequate literacy or numerical skills?

    Teachers have done as government has demanded.

    The simple comparison is that the military similarly have both historically and in the present suffered the same. The efforts of those who see "anti-military" as their ethos would be far better spent influencing politics so that troops did not end up in these situations.

    There is no conflict between being anti-war and being military. Most soldiers I know would be more than happy to live in a world where armed
    conflct was un-necessary.

    It has to be said also that much of our forces efforts are, (though not well known or appreciated by "the anti military"), in projects designed to improve the lot of countries where they are sent, by peacekeeping or by the improvement of infrastructure., and in conditions where they often live under threat.

    That is leaving aside that when some extreme political group leave a bomb somewhere in the UK that even the most anti-military seem to go quiet as it is safely dealt with? What a good local opportunity for the anti-military to be making public protests?

    As to fearing "military" interference with the programme of schools, some teachers do seem to hold a view on the Cadet Forces that they are that wedge in the door for choice to be taken away from the young people in their care, and them to be turned into part of this hideous "military machine"?

    Nothing is further from the truth! The cadet forces are youth organisations who happen to use some military subjets in their training, because they allow and promote:

    1) a structured learning (and skills in this cannot hurt their attitude and aptitude for education)
    2) the experience of belonging to teams, first as team-member and later as leaders, which experience prepares them for ther real world of employment in any occupation
    3) an understanding that for an organisation to work, each individual has to respect the rights, skills and knowledge of others, and that the key to the success of all organisations (including teaching!), is creating an environment where this can happen.

  • Comment number 48.

    I confess to be slightly disappointed that some have posted here their opinions, and seem to have regarded that as sufficient to count as "discussion".

    Can this mean that these people simply wished to state an unalterable opinion? Could an unwillingness to discuss the issues even be seen as a prejudice?

    Please let it not be that my few replies have simply been quietly accepted as valid, as that would be complimentary, but boring :)

    Inidentally, as there is an indication that there are "teacher" posters and "military" posters, I will confirm that my opinions are those of a civilian who has only lectured in education by invitation, and I have never been a part of the Regular Services.

  • Comment number 49.

    WOW!! I have been teaching for 9 years. Having just watched this I have learnt from an ex sqauddie that to get kids attention you have to use a revolutionary idea called 'lower your voice'!!!!! Thanks Panorama for this inciteful piece of journalism. Apologies for the sarcasm, but jeez BBC :( Why did you feel it necessary to air this????

  • Comment number 50.

    What was the BBC doing letting Panorama air 'Classroom Warriors'? It was no more than blatant, uncritical propaganda, a shameful piece of journalism. Appropriately, its awfulness was mirrored by the idea being propagated. We were told (sic!) that our schoolchildren could benefit from exposure to military values, chief among them good, old-fashioned discipline. Fast-tracking ex-servicemen into the teaching profession is just the latest, perhaps most demented, scheme to undermine the morale of teachers and heighten social division. We already had successive governments abusing fine adjectives and promoting 'faith' and 'free' schools. And just recently we had a celebrity, a cook, releasing a bunch of other celebrities into the classrooms to show defective teachers how it's really done. Please, somebody tell me that was just a joke! Neoliberalism was responsible for the current economic mayhem and we might never fully recover from it. How many other chances are our leaders prepared to give its advocates and their ideas?

  • Comment number 51.

    In any other walk of life anyone who unthinkingly obeys an order to kill another human being would be considered a psychopath (e.g. the henchmen of the Krays). Are these ex servicemen really the kind of people we want teaching our kids?

  • Comment number 52.

    "Merlin wrote: In any other walk of life anyone who unthinkingly obeys an order to kill another human being would be considered a psychopath (e.g. the henchmen of the Krays). Are these ex servicemen really the kind of people we want teaching our kids?"

    Merlin, do you have young people in your school who are Jewish? Black? Gay? Do you teach other than white blue eyed Aryans?

    You would not if Nazi Germany had not been defeated by force of arms, by ordinary men tasked with defending our nation, and yes, in a world out of your idealistic bubble, some even killing people.

    Do you really think the Army is full of unthinking killers? The British Army would have as little use for the type who was henchman to the Krays as it would for you! Not because you hold the view that in no circumstancs you would kill anybody, (because there are many jobs in the Army where that is unlikely to apply), but because your understanding of the world is so restricted as to how you would wish it to be.

    Bosnia, just as an example in recent history, is full of examples of men in your own and similar caring professions, who thought just as you, but who had to make the decision for themselves did they allow themselves and their family to die, or did they do something about it? It is perhaps easier to be a martyr for oneself, turn the other cheek and be shot, than for your family to be raped and killed in front of you?

    Should some armed intruder enter your school one day and shoots half a dozen young people, and dropped one of his weapons, would you not feel it in some way right to pick it up and shoot him before he killed the next 25 children?

    ...or might you feel the offer of tea and biscuits with a little counselling might be the correct action?

    You live in a safe country Merlin, because others have done such deeds and stand by to do the same, and have suffered and will suffer the memories of such situations, for the rest of us to be safe.

    I will counter your question above, Merlin, with:

    Do we really need people in teaching who only know the world as only the little bit of that Utopia in which they live?

  • Comment number 53.

    Jillyjanks it doesn't matter what qualifications someone has, it is practical experience that will count as you'll find when you get your first job. Do the children learn? Do they want to? Then you are a teacher. If you have qualifications but cannot reach your target audience, then you're a failure that has something to learn, not a person capable of teaching anything.

  • Comment number 54.

    Quiet authority is what these men have. The violence and chaos that occurs in some schools is done to no authority existing at all. When the kids scream and shout and the teachers reciprocate, this is failed communication and failed teaching. If it's practical and works, continue doing it. If it's theoretical and you want it to work but it doesn't, ditch it - don't try to force feed the reluctant because you believe this method 'should' work because you then become a classroom bully not a teacher (idealism has no place in the classroom anymore than it has on a building site: Teachers are there to help young minds develop, not show off their own skills or intimidate pupils into submission. We want them to be proud of their skills, not foist ours on them. Teachers are there to draw out their students minds into the world and get them to physically connect with it.

  • Comment number 55.

    I feel sick and am quite tired of listening to what is basically propaganda. What a well trod area these schools already are for the recruitment sergeants.
    I wonder if the lad hoping to go into the army will be given a commission. The status quo of this classless society as J Major suggested is shocking.
    Simply a tool to recruit more cannon fodder for upcoming wars.

    panorama sucks.................

  • Comment number 56.

    "I feel sick and am quite tired of listening to what is basically propaganda. What a well trod area these schools already are for the recruitment sergeants.
    I wonder if the lad hoping to go into the army will be given a commission. The status quo of this classless society as J Major suggested is shocking.
    Simply a tool to recruit more cannon fodder for upcoming wars."

    You do, unfortunately, reflect the views of many teachers who have lived very comfortable lives, and when bad things happen, wrap their quilt around their heads and hope it all goes away!

    And of course, in your lifetime, it has. Not for you the conscription of WW1 or WW2, not for you the threat of invasion, not for you the need to get the blue lights on and disarm a bomb in London, Manchester or Belfast.


    Because others do the dirty work for you!

    Spend your efforts, spiespie, in working so government does not need armed forces any more.

    Whilst they are needed by our society, they should be supported in what society asks them to do, and whilst the profession of arms exists, it is the responsibility of every teacher to respect the reality of the world, and support that career choice as any other.

    To do differently is bringing your own politicala views into the classroom, and foisting them upon young people.


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