I salute the idea of soldiers in the classroom | Barbara Ellen

There’s a lot of snooty prejudice against ex-forces personnel. Why shouldn’t they train as teachers?

Looking at the government’s Troops to Teachers initiative, one could see where objections might lie, even nod in broad agreement. Candidates, from the army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, wouldn’t need a degree and would undertake two years training on the job, with one day a week at university, qualifying them in around half the time it usually takes to become a teacher.

Clearly, rigorous assessment of candidates would be the primary requirement. Other than that, maybe those resisting Troops to Teachers should ask themselves how much of their opposition is based on genuine concerns and how much is ugly, unwarranted prejudice against the very notion of “meathead squaddies” in British classrooms?

Kneejerk discrimination against former services personnel has long been a national disgrace. Studies show that far too many end up broke, unemployed, under-treated for PTSD, homeless, alcoholic, drug addicted, suicidal or in prison. Even the fortunate ones who demob keen for a new challenge often encounter a society that only deems them fit for security-type employment. It’s one thing to choose and enjoy such work, quite another to have most other …read more