THE army, councils and Scotland's children's commissioner will be asked for their views on military visits to schools following pressure from campaigners.

Quakers in Scotland and military recruitment watchdog Forces Watch appeared at Holyrood yesterday in the latest stage of their drive to see the armed forces subjected to more scrutiny when entering classrooms.

The organisations have launched a joint petition at Holyrood, which also calls for children to be given a balanced view of what a military career entails, which it was agreed would be taken forward following an evidence session.

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Petitions committee convener Johann Lamont, the former Scottish Labour leader, said: "There is a dilemma between particular communities being targeted, but also recognising that some young people can potentially get good employment outcomes from making an active choice to go into the armed forces.

"We need to get a sense of what that looks like, what the safeguards are and the extent to which it is not being targeted at particular communities."

Following the hearing, Forces Watch coordinator Emma Sangster, said: "The Public Petitions Committee clearly saw our point – namely that there is need for more transparency, guidance and oversight on the issue of military visits to Schools in Scotland.

"We welcome the fact the Committee wishes to take our petition forward and seek the views of other stakeholders over military visits; especially student, parents and teacher organisations, local authorities and indeed the military itself.

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"There are a number of points to address here - around the process of recruitment in schools and access to children within the education system for this purpose, the rights of pupils and parents, the number and distribution of military visits and who has overall authority over such visits."

The Ministry of Defence denied that it visited schools to boost numbers. A spokesman said: "The Armed Forces never visit schools for recruitment purposes and would only ever visit a school after being invited by a teacher to support school activities.

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"These visits are of great benefit to pupils, and the three services consider it their duty to explain to children their role to protect the nation, and pass on valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork and citizenship."