Military scheme to help East Lancs schools

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Pupils give their thumbs up as they meet members of the Commando Joe's unit, which will be expanded Pupils give their thumbs up as they meet members of the Commando Joe's unit, which will be expanded

A SCHEME which uses a military approach in schools is set to be rolled out to reach more pupils. The Commando Joe’s scheme uses ex-military personnel to support teachers in motivating and inspiring pupils.

The group which currently works with Shuttleworth College in Padiham, Oswaldtwistle School and Burnley Alternative and Complimentary Education and Residential Service, is set to expand right across Lancashire.

The Department of Education has given the group extra £1million in funding. This cash boost will help Commando Joe’s reach more secondary and primary school children across the area.

The unique bespoke activities from Commando Joe’s has seen sustained backing from the government. The company also enjoyed a £600,000 boost in 2012 from Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Oswaldtwistle Short Stay School headteacher Mark Bocker welcomed the move and said his pupils had benefited a great deal. He said the secret of their success was the inspiring role models that the scheme provided. Commandos from the company use military training and exercises to build team building and develop self-confidence.

He said: “We have brought them into our school and, as a result of the success of the venture, we will very probably increase our investment in the partnership over the coming months. “Our ‘commando’ is currently leading a group of students through the Level One Sports Leaders Award in partnership with Sport Works Merseyside Ltd. Another ex military member of staff is due to start with us, aiming to address the issue of self esteem and self confidence in our female students.

“The initiative is very much tailored to school need and offers a flexible opportunity to think creatively around the use of passionate, enthusiastic and effective role models for our children.

“There is no marching or military propaganda - just straightforward excellent role models/mentors who are really encouraging towards our students.

”Commando Joe's is a company founded by director Mike Hamilton, a former bomb disposal expert who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Hamilton said: “We’re thrilled to receive this extra funding. “As it means we can take Commando Joe’s to the next level and can expand our operations.

“The money will go on recruiting more staff, improving our equipment and upgrading our transport, ultimately helping thousands more pupils to benefit from our highly effective programme.

“Our instructors are role models to a lot of the kids, and we get an incredible reaction every time we go into a school. This funding is very exciting – it means even bigger and better things for Commando Joe’s.”

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