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Max High cadet plan is first in Scotland

By Rod Edgar
Dumfries and West
Max High cadet plan is first in Scotland

A SECONDARY school in Dumfries is to become the first in Scotland to forge links with the Army Cadet Force (ACF) as part of a new £50 million UK-wide initiative.

But Maxwelltown High School now appears to be at the centre of a dispute between the Scottish and UK Governments – amid concerns that children from deprived areas are to be treated as ‘cannon fodder’.
This week a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “A system is being set up in Scotland – they’re called Detached Link Units.
“They’re not actually opened within Scottish schools, but these are cadet units that may already exist that would have a link with a particular school.”
Explaining the school in Lochside has been selected because it is in an area of deprivation, he added: “This is the first one since (Defence Secretary) Michael Fallon announced the Cadet Expansion Programme, which is an effort to try and increase the number of units.” Mr Fallon said: “The cadets are extremely popular and we are looking to expand the number of units in Scotland following the big increase we have had in the rest of the UK.”
However, the move comes after a newspaper quoted a senior SNP Government source as saying, ‘There’s no way we’re having this cannon fodder scheme in schools’.
The Scottish Government is also reported to have written to the Department for Education, seeking assurance that children’s wellbeing is being considered.
And this week, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “There is no change to Scottish Government policy and there is no proposal being progressed to introduce the UK Government scheme and establish cadet units in Scottish schools.
“The pilot at Maxwelltown High School is significantly different to the UK Government scheme, which we have made clear is not suitable for introduction in Scotland’s schools because it does not contribute to the curriculum.”
Explaining it will allow the ACF to contribute to the Scottish curriculum as part of a national youth work strategy, he added: “That means schools will not host a cadet unit.
“Instead, the ACF will work with the local authorities to offer a syllabus as an elective subject to be taught as part of the school timetable.”