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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Army's school visits 'should end'
The MSP claimed the Army is targeting deprived areas
Army recruitment teams should be prevented from visiting schools, according to a nationalist MSP.

The call came after figures obtained by the SNP revealed that in 2005/06, there were more than 10 times as many school visits as there were in 2003/04.

Christine Grahame MSP claimed schools in deprived areas were being targeted and said the rise showed "desperation" among army chiefs due the Iraq war.

The Army said it worked with both state and private schools in Scotland.

The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, showed the number of regimental recruitment visits to schools rose from 14 in the financial year 2003/04 to 153 in the year to the end of March 2006.

The Army is visiting a lot more schools compared to the past largely because we have local authority permission
Army spokeswoman

According to the SNP, Govan High has had 14 visits in the last two years alone.

Ms Grahame, MSP for the South of Scotland region, said: "What we are seeing is complete desperation brought about by a combination of the ongoing Iraq war, amalgamation of the Scottish regiments and the allegations that young recruits are being murdered at training facilities such as Deepcut.

"Army chiefs appear to have made a decision to move into Scottish schools and, more disturbingly, they appear to be targeting schools in particularly deprived parts of the country.

"I am calling on education bosses in every council area to prohibit visits by recruiters. If pupils want to join the Army, then there are numerous recruitment centres around Scotland which they can choose to visit."

'Citizenship lectures'

An Army spokeswoman said: "The Army is visiting a lot more schools compared to the past and that is largely because we have local authority permission to do so.

"The recruitment teams and careers advisors are going in upon invitation from the schools with the purpose of working within the schools curriculum, for example, giving citizenship lectures or doing technical work.

"It is not true at all to say the Army is targeting deprived areas. We work with schools across the board in Scotland, both state and private."

Schools which have received five or more visits in the year so far were all in Glasgow.

The figures do not include army recruitment visits organised through Careers Scotland.

Listen to concerns over the Army's visits to schools

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