Join the army and see the classroom.

The announcement, at yesterday’s Tory Party conference, by schools spokesman, Michael Grove, that his party, if elected, intended develop a Troops to Teachers programme which would see military professionals becoming teachers draws some caustic comments  from Simon Hoggart in his sketch for today’s edition of The Guardian.

Grove’s avowed intention, which Hoggart considers to be one example of one of  the “stark staring bonkers”  ideas the party can come up with from time to time,  is  “to get the professionals in the army who know how to train young men and women into the classroom where they can provide not just discipline, but inspiration and leadership.”

In other words, he wants to send the army into our schools. Men and women in battledress dashing down the corridors, yelling “cover!” as they race to secure the playground! And he announced it without any preliminaries, or indeed any explanation, as if it were something perfectly obvious to everyone, an ambition the whole country could unite behind, like healthier school dinners and better facilities for sport.

What on earth did he have in mind? Just a single NCO per classroom?

“Jordan Blenkinsop, you’re a horrible little girl. What are you?”

“A horrible little girl, sarn’t!”

And what did he mean by “providing discipline”? “Now then, what I have ‘ere in my hand is an SA80 standard issue rifle. If I don’t get a bit of hush, you’re going to be looking down the wrong end of it, and I hope you bleeding well catch my drift, you shower.”

Will there be military classes too? Laying down ground fire? Landmine dispersal? How to conduct a field amputation with a Stanley knife from the art room? None of these matters was addressed. And how will it change those recruitment ads they run on the television? “Could you fly a £15m jet aircraft at twice the speed of sound? Could you drive a Centurion 2 battle tank into the heart of the action? Could you cope with 9C in the last period on Friday afternoon?”

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