Lessons in military discipline

Commando Joes' Fun & Fitness at St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School, Norley Hall
Commando Joes' Fun & Fitness at St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School, Norley Hall

A BUSINESS providing military-style activities in schools has received a boost after researchers said it had a positive impact in the classroom.

A team from Swansea University looked at the work of Commando’s Joe, based in Leigh, and concluded bringing a military-type ethos into a both primary and secondary schools saw considerable improvements in behaviour and achievement.

The research, published in an education journal, said Commando Joe’s intervention saw an 18 per cent decrease in troublesome behaviour in high schools and average point scores for maths, reading and writing increased by 7.6 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 8.2 per cent respectively.

The researchers also found punctuality in primary schools improved by 31 per cent, an equivalent to pupils spending eight days per year more in the classroom.

The university team followed Commando Joe’s for an entire academic year, observing the effect its activities had on more than 550 primary and secondary school pupils in the North West and the Midlands.

Commando Joe’s director Mike Hamilton said: “As a company, we’re passionate about making a difference in schools.

“Good educational engagement is vital for a young person’s development, but building character and enhancing communication skills are also incredibly important factors that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“These figures show that we are having a real positive impact on the schools we work with, which is testament to our strong ethos and fantastic instructors.”

The results are the latest from a three-year study being undertaken in Swansea which has found Commando Joe’s brought about year-on-year improvements in raising standards and boosting pupil engagement and behaviour.

Feedback from children also suggested military-ethos provision was popular, with pupils telling researchers the activities boosted their confidence, taught them to communicate better, encouraged them to contribute more in lessons and make new friends and made them feel proud and confident in their abilities.

Teachers also gave the thumbs-up, saying the providers were approachable, good role models for their pupils and fitted in well with schools.

The activities also created a positive and calmer feel in the classroom, the study found.

The full three-year intervention paper, the first of its kind to be completed in Europe, has already been submitted to a journal for publication.