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National Service for School Leavers – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

image of National Service for School Leavers – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Conservative Party say they’ll bring back National Service for school leavers if they win the 2024 election. Under the plan, 18-year-olds in the UK would have to either complete a full year in the military, or spend one weekend per month for 12 months helping non-military organisations, like the police or the NHS.


The Conservative Party is suggesting that it will bring back National Service if it wins the next election. Isn’t it a good thing to expect young people to do something for their country and communities? Won’t it give them valuable experience of working with others? Doesn’t it make sense to offer a choice of either military service or some other sort of unpaid work?

Or is it just a cynical way to win votes from older generations who won’t have to do it? Isn’t it just a scheme to get people to work for nothing, dreamed up by those who wouldn’t get out of bed for less than £100 per hour? And, if it’s such a great idea, why didn’t they suggest it at some earlier stage of the 14 years they’ve been in power? What do you think?

Writing skills

Imagine that the Children’s Party has won the election and has introduced National Service for 50-60-year-olds instead of for young people. Write a diary entry of an MP or businessperson for the night before they have to do their first shift supporting elderly people in a care home. You can make it as funny or serious as you like but remember to write in the first person and describe your feelings about giving up half of your weekend to help others.


Imagine you have entered your own political party for the election but you know, deep down, that you’ll never win. Write your own manifesto (set of election ‘promises’), briefly describing five policies that you think people would like, without worrying about whether they are realistic. The trick is to make your ideas sound convincing and appealing even if you know they’ll never happen.


When did the UK last have National Service? Write a brief paragraph explaining when it started, when it finished, why it was introduced, who had to do it and what they were expected to do.

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