After a successful career serving in Her Majesty Armed Forces, Michael Hamilton OBE set up Commando Joe’s in 2009 to help improve education and life outcomes for the most disadvantaged children and young people.

Through the Armed Forces, Youth Outreach Service Mike worked with over 300 secondary schools, youth groups, communities across the UK delivering activities aimed to build resilience, inspire and motivate young people to maximise their full potential. During this period he developed a passion for raising attainment, behaviour and attendance in schools, inspiring young people to do their best and achieve, irrespective of whether they are eligible for free school meals, looked after children, have special educational needs and/or disabilities or from ethnic minority communities.

‘No Child Left Behind’ is his founding ethos with every child fully engaged in their education with a ‘can do’ attitude and self-belief. In 2010 Mike entered the BBC Dragons in the Den facing Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, and Duncan Bannatyne only to be told: “We love you and the concept, but you are not in this to make money” A decade later CJs have gone from strength to strength reaching thousands of the most disadvantaged children.

Mike and his team of amazing inspirational veterans have created self-improving and sustainable school-led models that enable schools to adopt an approach to tackling social mobility in areas of social-economic deprivation across the UK. In recognition of Mike’s work he was awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s 2019 New Year’s Honours for Services to Young People

We are passionate about making a difference, our children deserve access to a full education and to leave school with the skills to make the right choices about their future, regardless of their circumstances. Thank you for taking the time to visit our website, if you think we can support your school or organisation, then please get in touch, we would love to hear from you”.

Michael Hamilton OBE, Founder of Commando Joe’s (CJs Education Services)

Our Partners Wise Owl Trust

“I like to say that at Wise Owl Trust we prepare our children of the tests of life, not just a life of tests,” says Sophie. “We do things differently, we innovate, empower, encourage and we want to foster ambitions – not just for our schools but our communities. We have seen the amazing results our bespoke Character curriculum has had on our own schools. Working with Commando Joe’s to create this curriculum has been an exciting way to share our expertise nationally and help even more children achieve their full potential.”

Sophie Murfin, CEO/ Executive Principal Wise Owl Trust

Like all the best kits, the programme has been designed with military-level precision to make sure it gets real results for your school. At Commando Joe’s we pride ourselves on recruiting the best of the best. Which is why, when it came to devising and writing this ground-breaking curriculum, we called in the education specialists; Wise Owl Trust.

Based in East Manchester, Wise Owl is a small Multi Academy Trust with big ambitions — for their children, families and communities. They have transformed their three primary schools and their pupils’ life chances with their innovative approach to learning. Now being ranked among the top 3% in the country, with remarkable turnarounds in Ofsted-ratings.

Joining forces, we have combined Commando Joe’s experience in delivering exciting sessions with Wise Owl’s education expertise and pioneering spirit. The result – a curriculum packed with overarching lesson plans, tools and resources developed by teachers for teachers. With Wise Owl CEO/ Executive Principal Sophie Murfin’s team transforming our concept into a complete package guaranteed to hit key targets.

“As soon as I met Sophie in 2016 I was blown away by the passion and drive that she and the Trust have to achieve the best for their children and community,” says Commando Joe’s founder Mike Hamilton. “We are forever grateful for their support and expertise – as I’m sure thousands of teachers, children, parents and Senior Leaders across the UK are too.”

Since combining forces, the Wise Owl team have created over 300 missions for Commando Joe’s, with Sophie writing our Early Years and Transition programme alongside many more.

Our Track Record

  • 2012 - 2016
  • 2013 - 2016
  • 2016 - 2019
  • 2017 - 2020
  • 2018 - 2019
  • 2018 - 2020
  • 2019 - 2020
  • 2020
  • 2012 – 2016

    £3.2 million of Department for Education (DfE) grant funding – delivered Military Ethos Alternative Provision Programme (MEAP) in 350 schools nationwide involving over 175,000 pupils aged 5-16yrs, 1,750 professionals, and encouraged 10,500 parents to take a proactive role with their child’s education.

    Independently evaluated by Swansea University (Arch Exercise Health Dis 5 (1-2): 377-385, 2015) , Nottingham University research: What’s the alternative Effective support for young people disengaging from the mainstream

  • 2013 – 2016

    Mahdlo Onside Youth Zone building capacity and skills through delivering challenging youth activities. Includes liaising with Youth Offending Teams to identify young offenders in need of 1:1 support to get them back on track whilst participating in activities alongside their peer groups

  • 2016 – 2019

    300 schools nationwide self-fund Instructor-led MEAP programme – 1:1 and group provision for students at risk of exclusion ages 5-16yrs.

  • 2017 – 2020

    Over 30,000 school leaders and staff across 650 schools trained to deliver and implement the RESPECT and Operation Blackout programmes which supports students to develop life skills nationwide.

  • 2018 – 2019

    ‘Creating a compelling culture for Pupil Learning Behaviour’ programme Norfolk OA

    RESPECT Programme roll out across 40 Doncaster OA Primary schools 2,250 school staff trained to deliver of the RESPECT Programmes.

    23 schools across Oldham, Blackpool, Ipswich and Derby commissioned training to deliver RESPECT and Operation Blackout Programmes through Essential Life Skills delegated funding.

  • 2018 – 2020

    Delivery Partner for Building a Stronger Britain Together Programme – Get Oldham Talking. Tailored extra-curricular activities targeting 2,500 students aged 10-16yrs building resilience to stand up to extremism in all its forms.

  • 2019 – 2020

    Education Endowment Fund ‘Effectiveness of Outdoor Adventure Training’ – Outward Bound and Commando Joe’s, 2376 students aged 13-14yrs. Instructor-led Adventure learning over a continuous 5-day period.

  • 2020

    Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) Theory of Change project

    Funded research undertaken by Amy Skipp from ASK Research – Impact of Commando Joe’s

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