Armed Forces Visiting Schools Should be Treated With Caution Says Welsh Assembly

A petition was submitted urging the Welsh Government to ban the armed forces from going into classrooms, claiming the visitors were targeting children in deprived areas. Although the cross-party Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee thought that the case had not been made for an outright prohibition of the armed forces from schools it was thought that visits by armed forces personnel should be treated with “more caution” than visits by other employees. Chairman William Powell AM said the petition, submitted by Cymdeithas y Cymod (the Fellowship of Reconciliation), raised a “very legitimate area of concern”.

Recently The Celtic League published an article on how the British Army targeted deprived youngsters. In particular they drew attention to a document by the Welsh Government about tackling deprivation in schools. On page 37 of which there is a section about the ‘Army Cadet Force Association Outreach Scheme’. As the Celtic League point out 'what is perhaps even more alarming is that it also comes just months after a major sex abuse scandal which revealed the MOD had paid millions of pounds to young people physically and sexually abused in the Army Cadet Forces!' (see links):

Defence Sec Asked Why MOD Paid Hush Money in Abuse Cases

Military Cadets Abuse Goes on as Child Commissioners Mark Time

Given the above concerns, the issues raised by The Celtic League and the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee which concluded that the Army made a “disproportionate number of visits” to schools in deprived areas. It is clear that the issue of armed forces visits to Welsh schools needs to be addressed with more urgency.


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