Armed Forces: Education

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 3rd November 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 15 April 2013, Official Report, column 56W, 7 July 2015 to Question 4788, 10 September 2015 to Question 8831 and 17 September 2015 to Question 10215, for what reasons figures on the number of army and RAF visits to schools in the academic year 2011-12 given in Answers in 2015 differ from those provided by his Department in the Answer of 15 April 2013; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The RAF statistics for the year 2011-12 provided in the answer of 15 April 2013 was collected manually from all Armed Forces Careers Offices by the RAF. The statistics provided to answer Question 4788 were collected from the computer system called ICARAS.

For the RAF, prior to January 2015, recording data on ICARAS was not mandatory. The difference in figures is because not all historic data has been recorded on ICARAS for the year 2011-12 and, therefore, the previously manually collected data is more accurate.

For the Army, prior to April 2013 they used the ICARAS system to track outreach activity, including visits to schools. However, the identification of specific types of event was problematic and it was often quicker and easier to ask Recruiting Offices for a summary of their activity. These summaries were based on local records, and were not always fully collated.

Since April 2013 ICARAS has been the main tool to track events. A specific code for school visits under the Army in Education programme has been introduced, making tracking of such activity more accurate and easier to analyse.

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