Militarism in classrooms is now on MPs’ agendas

The Conservative Party has briefed their MPs to prepare for awkward questions about militarism in classrooms following Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson's proposal to expand school cadet units.

Gavin Williamson and backdrop of military
Gavin Williamson. Photo: Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Quakers in Britain and key partners, like ForcesWatch and Veterans for Peace, have been challenging the government about militarism in classrooms for years. While the public is increasingly concerned about intrusion into children's lives, the government has chosen not to enable meaningful debate about the consequences of uncritical bias.

In a leaked memo, MPs were told to reply that they associate the military with "positive values" such as "loyalty, resilience, courage and teamwork". This preemptive advice shows the government is aware of public unease about the militarisation of youth.

Ellis Brooks who works on peace education for Quakers in Britain says, "This comes at a time when Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, is calling for increasing military interventionism. For war to proceed the government needs ongoing public support. One way to get that support is to expose children to militarism without any exploration of the morality or danger of war."

Quakers work through peace education to ensure young people are equipped with the facts and critical thinking skills to evaluate for themselves what will make the world safer.

  • “War School", a provocative documentary looking at militarism in classrooms will be launched in London on Friday, 19 October at 6.30pm in Friends House (opposite Euston Station) 173, Euston Road

Find a screening of "War School" near you