Armed forces 'should sponsor schools'

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The Independent Online

Britain's armed services have been included as potential sponsors to run state schools in a list published yesterday by the Schools minister, Jim Knight.

Mr Knight, writing on the Euston Manifesto - a website aimed at encouraging progressive politics, argued that the armed forces could be enlisted as sponsors of Tony Blair's flagship "trust" schools. He said the sponsorship base should be widened to include more parents' co-operatives and schools sponsored by trade unions, the armed forces or environmental groups.

His comments sparked outrage amongst teachers' leaders last night. Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Most of the organisations the minister mentions have a particular line to peddle... That is not necessarily in the interest of the children... and it should not happen."

Mr Knight argues: "Some independent schools, like Wellington College, were established for the education of officers' children and continue to do so.

"What of the other ranks? Why not Armed Forces Trust schools, particularly in areas like the garrison towns of Wiltshire?"