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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 13:32 GMT
The navyman who became a teacher
By Hannah Goff
BBC News, at the NUT Conference in Manchester

Teacher Dave Clinch
Davie Clinch is "sad" to see youngsters join up
When Dave Clinch joined the Navy in 1967 he says he broke his mother's heart.

He had been a member of the combined cadet force which operated in his Catholic school in Tottenham, north London.

Some teachers wore uniforms and were given a rank.

"It was very seductive and I joined up," he said.

"I thought I was going to go off to be a man."

He joined at 16 and spent five years in the Navy before he was given an honourable discharge.

"Now I am proud to have become a teacher."


When students in his school, which draws pupils from some of the most deprived areas of Devon, say they are planning to join up, he says he feels "very sad".

Mr Clinch says armed forces' recruitment activities may not be as obvious as they used to be but they go into schools with the aim of signing young people up.

"It's young, mainly working class kids that they want. The officer class are treated differently - they are going to manage these recruits," he says.

He works at a school not far from a Marine base in Devon, and claims that schools in his area have had visits from the military over the years.

They contribute material to the school careers department which gives a glossy view of military life or might come into the school to show how military equipment works.

Other schools will allow their premises to be used by the Army cadets, the Sea Cadets or Air Training Corps, he says.

Mr Clinch does not believe the armed forces have a place in schools.

But, he says, if they have to come in and make presentations, the other side of the story should be put.

Perhaps a peace group could come in and talk to the children, he suggests, or the issue could be looked at in the context of the war poets.

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