Government mulling over 'national service' for 14-year-olds in attempt to heal divisions

Plans would see children from different backgrounds participate in hiking and camping trips (Shutterstock)
Plans would see children from different backgrounds participate in hiking and camping trips (Shutterstock)

Downing Street are mulling over the return of national service, according to reports.

The Mirror claims that its reintroduction would aim to heal divisions in society.

The red top claims that the service would be dissimilar to national service used during and after World War Two.

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    Instead 14-year-old participants would spend a month during term time with pupils from different backgrounds.

    According to the Mirror the service would see pupils put into groups of 12  for “camping and hiking expeditions and would learn new skills to benefit their local communities.”

    Former government education adviser Jon Yates is said to be the brains behind the idea.


    Yates currently runs the Youth Endowment Fund which helps children caught up in knife crime.

    The main goal of the service would be to mix children from different backgrounds and improve their life opportunities.

    Yates has previously championed the idea of a national service.

    He said: “one group might make a film of the life stories of elderly residents while another might run after-school sports for younger children.”

    Shadow justice secretary David Lammy is one MP who has praised the idea.

    He said Yates’ plan“diagnoses the deepest divisions in our society and provides an urgent manifesto for collective healing.”


    ‘The richest live in a bubble’

    Writing for The Mirror Yates said: “In our divided society, richer kids have networks we can’t access. Now the richest 5% live in a bubble and don’t know what our life is like.

    “Our elected leaders are a bubble of middle-class graduates. Thirty years ago a third of Labour MPs were working class. Today just 3% are – and it’s losing the working class vote.

    “The result is a democracy that isn’t working.”