Lords Debate Government’s Plans To Promote Cadet Units In Schools

On 15 January 2015, there was a debate in the House of Lords on what plans the Government had to promote more cadet units in schools.

The subject was raised by Lord Lingfield and the debate was attended by the Government’s representatives for Defence, Lord Astor, and for Education, Lord Nash.

Eleven Lords spoke on the issue, showing clear cross-party support for increasing the number of cadet units and an appreciation of the positive impact cadet units have on the lives of young people and on society. While cadet units in schools in the 1850s were established to provide good soldiers for war, Lord Linfield said that the purpose of cadet units in schools today was to develop good citizens for the future. Each of the Lords praised the Lord Astor for his decision to step back from introducing charges for cadet units in schools and said that they were pleased to hear that the Prime Minister’s initiative to create 100 cadet units in schools by September 2015 was firmly on track.

All the speakers talked about their experiences of either their own cadet service (Army, RN, RM or RAF) or about visiting cadet units, and they praised the attributes of leadership, team-work, self-esteem, self belief and resilience that cadet service promoted. They also thanked all of the Adult Volunteers who support cadets and without whom cadet units would not exist. In answering Lord Lingfield’s question, Lord Nash said that further funding for the Schools Cadet Expansion Programme would be found and that work would be undertaken to understand the ‘social impact’ of cadets and the savings they led to in other government departments.

It was a fascinating debate but the outcome was clear: there is massive support for the work of cadets as part of the MoD’s contribution to the cross-Government youth agenda and it must be supported into the future.

Full details of the debate are available on Hansard.

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