Defence chief hits back at criticism from media

The MoD (Ministry of Defence) has insisted recent media coverage of its PR tactics in schools has been misleading.

Army: PR tactics attacked by NUT
Army: PR tactics attacked by NUT

The MoD's attempts to promote the armed forces in schools were highlighted by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at its annual conference over the Easter weekend.

Conference delegates criticised a web-based resource for teachers known as Defence Dynamics, which explores the topic of the ongoing occupation of Iraq by British armed forces.

NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott claimed the tool gave an unbalanced view of the Iraq war. A spate of negative headlines ensued the following day.

But defence directorate commodore Alistair Halliday, who oversees Defence Dynamics, this week claimed: 'The lesson that has been reported in the media is a trial lesson and not yet released.'

Halliday added that the MoD had not yet decided whether the lesson in question would be scrapped in light of teachers' opposition: He said: 'It's still under review. Most people who have seen it think it's very good.'

Defence Dynamics has been developed by Kids Connections, a dedicated children's marketing agency focused on marketing to 0- to 19-year-olds.

Halliday said that the MoD would continue to promote the resource to schools.

The NUT also seized on another MoD PR tactic, criticising its school visits, in which 1,000 schools nationwide take part. The union claimed young people from deprived backgrounds were targeted by Army recruiters.

Halliday insisted these visits are not for 'hard recruitment'. But he concurred that the fact that they are handled by the MoD's recruiting unit conveyed 'a mixed message'.

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