15 Mar 2016
The latest monthly winner of the Merseyside Innovation Award is no stranger to attention.
UK Military School, based in Bootle, was selected by the sponsor panel as February’s winner for its work with more than 10,000 pupils in schools across Merseyside and the North West.
As an innovation, the school provides academic educational courses for school pupils and staff support for teachers, all delivered by former army, navy and air force personnel who have been trained and vetted to work within schools.
Devised by former army physical training instructors Wayne Forsyth and Sam Ball-Taylor in 2008, UK Military School has grown from a PE-style course to an academic programme. It teaches children from primary school up to high school discipline, resilience and respect through military-style exercises.
“Basically we use the skills and experience that we have picked up in the armed forces and adapt that to challenge and test pupils,” said Wayne.
“Everyone involved is trained to an appropriate level to teach children and we offer a mix of classroom-based sessions, physical training and bushcraft survival sessions that put pupils under pressure and teach them to push their boundaries and develop greater self confidence, belief and respect.”
Following recent changes to Ofsted’s guidelines on delivering spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC), including the need for teachers to teach awareness of extremism, UK Military School has been able to support teacher training.
“Obviously we have a lot of expertise and experience among our staff on issues surrounding extremism,” explained Wayne. “Teachers do get some formal training but they still find it a challenging subject to address.
“Thanks to our training we are able to enhance their understanding and communication of the issues and to provide support sessions in school for pupils to provide additional education around what is a sensitive issue.”
UK Military School also offers one-to-one courses for pupils who struggle to engage with education or who may have a physical or learning disability which makes engagement with education challenging.
“We have received great feedback from all the schools in the North West we work with and the parents of the pupils who have completed our courses,” said Wayne.
“Former military personnel have great experience and leadership qualities. I am proud that not only can we offer them an opportunity to improve community cohesion and pupil’s engagement with school, but that those pupils and schools recognise what our educators contribute when they return to Civvy Street.”
Merseyside Innovation Awards founder Brian McCann, partner and director of MC Vanguard Corporate Finance, said that UK Military School was an inspiring choice for February’s award.
“We have always said we reward innovation in all its forms,” he said. “Not all innovation is the creation of an object.
“Here with UK Military School we have an idea which provides stable employment and new skills for ex-servicemen and women. At the same time it is assisting teachers with the ever more challenging burden of social and physical education. Finally it is positively influencing the minds of young people to encourage them to strive to be the best they can be.
“As a result perhaps a future MIA winner may have been through this programme. We think this is a great scheme and a worthy monthly winner.”
The Merseyside Innovation Awards recognises innovation across all sectors and this year it will give out two awards – One for businesses with a turnover of up to £1m, which includes a £10,000 prize, and a second for businesses between £1m and £25m turnover.
UK Military School founders Sam Ball-Taylor and Wayne Forsyth are seen receiving the February Merseyside Innovation Award from Brabners’ Hayley Morgan.