Stonyhurst Secures Bronze Armed Forces Award

10 November 2023  


Stonyhurst has today (9 November 2023) received a bronze award for its ongoing commitment to families who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown. It received the award from Gary Oakford, the Ministry of Defence’s regional employer engagement director (Lancashire and Cumbria) at a presentation at the school.  

The award comes after Stonyhurst officially signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) in June this year, which is an official agreement that veterans, reservists and their families are treated with fairness and respect in their communities, economy and society for which they serve with their lives.  

Over the four-month period, Stonyhurst has been commended for upholding the principles of the Covenant, continuing to instil the key pledges in daily life which include; being a military friendly organisation, enabling bursaries for children of actively serving personnel, supporting employment of veterans and reservists together with encouraging members of staff to volunteer in military cadet organisations, while supporting Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance activities.  

Today, Head of Stonyhurst’s Combined Cadet Forces, Lt. Col. Barber, accompanied by WOI Livesey, Major John Catwright-Terry and Nikki Jones together with Stonyhurst War Historian, Paul Garlington and Higher Line (Sixth Form) CCF pupils, Seb and Francesca. The party took Gary Oakford on a guided tour of the College and talked more about the school’s commitment to the AFC. Gary met with Sharon Mallinson, Human Resources Director to discuss being an ‘armed forces-friendly employer’ and the school’s recruitment and workplace policies in support of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (DERS).  

Stonyhurst has a rich military and cadet tradition that goes back to the 1800s with its dedicated Combined Cadet Force (CCF) programme formally on parade in 1900, with the 125th anniversary of the CCF now appearing on the horizon. Every year group is represented within the Corps, starting in Lower Grammar (Year 9), with the platoons named after Stonyhurst’s seven Victoria Cross winners. It meets weekly and pupils are encouraged and immersed in the key service personnel skills of integrity, loyalty, leadership, and discipline. Pupils plan operations and camp in the local area, whilst also staying on a military base and even go on exercises overseen by serving military personnel.  

The school has a proud history of welcoming Forces Families and recognises that forces life can disrupt the continuity of education for children and that a stable and consistent educational environment provides more opportunities to succeed. It has one of the most generous fee support packages of any school, with families in receipt of the Continuous Education Allowance (CEA) paying no more than 10% of fees. 

Commenting on the visit, Gary Oakford, the Ministry of Defence’s regional employer engagement director (Lancashire and Cumbria) said: “We are delighted the College is supporting the scheme and look forward to continuing our partnership towards silver in 2024.”  

Receiving the award on behalf of Stonyhurst, John Browne, Headmaster said: “We are delighted to have won this bronze commendation. This is testament to our commitment to our Armed Forces families and recognises Stonyhurst as ‘an armed forces-friendly employer’. We will continue to work towards the silver level in developing our recruitment and workplace policies as part of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (DERS).”