Free schools are state-funded but semi-independent and are similar to academy schools
Plans have been revealed for a free school staffed by former servicemen and women in Greater Manchester.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said children could be taught using miltary-style discipline.

The plan's authors claimed the school would "keep kids out of gang culture".

Tom Burkard, from the CPS, said the proposed "Phoenix Free School" would use qualified and unqualified teachers, because "teacher training is basically training young people not to teach".

A report called Something Can Be Done has been produced by Mr Burkard and serving officer Captain AK Burki.

They said they would see what reaction the report received before submitting a bid to the Department for Education.

Mr Burkard, a former school teacher and a military instructor, said: "You are told to be a learning facilitator and teach children to manage their own learning.

"An undergraduate has enough trouble managing their own learning - take an illiterate pupil growing up in an inner-city estate, to expect them to manage their learning is in the realms of fantasy."

'Enlisting enthusiasm'
If the plans went ahead, Mr Burkard said the school would also use military-style discipline, which he said many people were opposed to because they did not understand it.

"Most people in this country think of military discipline from the standpoint of what it was like under national service," he said.

If there is no job for qualified teachers, why would we need any unqualified ones?”

"If you have to use your sticks all the time, you are doing something wrong.

"The job of the officer and the NCO is to enlist the enthusiasm to perform difficult tasks under demanding circumstances.

"We think these skills in being able to motivate those who come from difficult areas is the one quality which is going to keep kids out of gang culture."

Free schools are state-funded but semi-independent and are similar to academy schools.

No exact location for the proposed school has yet been put forward.

Mr Burkard said his proposals were necessary because of dissatisfaction with existing schools.

"I respect teachers, but with the amount of micro-management, they are unable to react to situations in the way they see fit," he said.

"That's what wrong with our schools; we don't trust our teachers."

'Deeply worrying'

A similar project, called Troops To Teachers, has been run by the US Departments of Education and Defense for 18 years.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has previously described the US system as an ideal example of the coalition government's concept of Big Society.

However, Ian Fenn, head teacher of Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester, said he found the idea of having ex-military personnel as teachers "deeply worrying".

"After World War II, there was a huge shortage of teachers and people from the military were trained up very quickly to fill the gaps," he said.

"For the first time in my 30 years of teaching experience, we have a situation where there are graduates with PGCEs, good references and lots of experience who cannot get jobs.

"If there is no place for these qualified teachers, why would we need any unqualified ones?"

 

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