Empowering teachers,
supporting children

About us:

FOLLOW HUNDREDS OF SCHOOLS NATIONWIDE AND LET OUR ELITE TEAM SUPPORT YOUR TEACHERS AND STAFF TO HELP PUPILS BUILD CHARACTER AND ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILLS

Teachers – now it's your turn

Since 2009, our Elite Commandos have supported and worked alongside more than 1,000 schools nationally, supporting schools regardless of catchment area or Ofsted rating. We’ve provided a bespoke programme linked to the school’s improvement plan, focusing on attainment, positive behaviour and attendance with independent proven results.

It’s about building relationships with pupils, parents and staff, understanding education and the pressure schools face. It’s about finding engaging ways to help children discover strength of character, positivity under pressure and resilience in the face of whatever life throws at them.

Schools receive a top-secret box packed with equipment, more than 120 exciting lesson plans and online resources including our innovative judgement tracker to help pupils celebrate success and schools to evidence progress and their achievements.

Commando Joe’s founder Mike Hamilton grew up in and around Manchester, Newton Heath. This was the birthplace of Manchester United and now also the place where Commando Joe’s story began. CJ’s have hundreds of years of experience in developing leadership and team work, however to ensure we have what it takes, our programmes need to be developed with our amazing pupils, teachers and senior leaders.

CJ’s work in over 350 schools nationwide – Our development partner is The Wise Owl Trust they are based in central Manchester exactly where Mike our founder grew up. The school has been on a huge journey, the CEO Chris O’Shaughnessy and his outstanding leadership team have taken one school from Special measures to good with outstanding features in 4 terms. This is exactly the sort of team we wanted to be a part off.

The trusts ethos TEAM aligns perfectly with CJ’s. The executive head teacher of the trust and the team have helped us develop one off the most innovative, sustainable programmes we have ever seen. Valuing the whole child is the foundation of learning and from this everything follows.We have the practical knowledge and technological skill set, The Wise Owl Trust have put in outstanding teaching practice, amazing hooks and cross curricular links to support and engage pupils.

 

Our story so far

1

Mike Hamilton, our founder, leaves the army in 2009 after eight years serving with the Commandos and as a PTI instructor – and Commando Joe’s is born!

2

Just one man and his van, Mike starts out with fun, physical fitness sessions in schools based on military-style obstacle courses.

3

Word spreads across our home turf of Manchester and soon dozens of schools want to enlist Commando Joe’s. More instructors join the squad.

4

Soon we’ve got 20 staff in our ranks, working with 25,000 children in over 100 schools. It’s becoming clear that the benefits of Commando Joe’s classes go way beyond physical fitness.

5

Due to demand, we expand and adapt to offer schools much more team building and one-to-one mentoring based on our instructors’ military skills experience. The results in the classroom are amazing with teachers reporting boosts in grades and behaviour.

6

Amazed by the results for the first scheme of its kind in the UK, we team up with Swansea University in 2010 to independently monitor the outcomes over the next few years.

7

The Department for Education sees the potential in our work and we are awarded £600,000 to expand in to some of the UK’s most disadvantaged areas. This is so successful, we have been awarded funding every year since.

8

Within just a few years of starting up we have got 50 staff, working with 50,000 pupils in over 200 schools across the UK. We’ve branched out from Manchester to Liverpool, across the north west and in to the Midlands.

9

2013 sees our first £1 million in funding from the Department for Education, as schools continue to report success stories. It is becoming clear the effect our work has on building courage and strength of character in even the hardest to reach pupils.

10

The team at Swansea University release their report in to our work in 2016. Commando Joe’s sees results proving for the first time in the UK that our brand of character-building work boosts grades, behaviour and attendance.

11

So here we are, with over 70 staff, working with thousands of pupils in over 300 schools across the UK. From our HQ in Leigh, Greater Manchester, we now have instructors all over the UK from Cumbria to Cornwall and everywhere in between.

12

Determined to reach every school in the country, we’re now embarking on the next phase – helping schools to deliver character-building programmes with teacher-led models.

1

Mike Hamilton, our founder, leaves the army in 2009 after eight years serving with the Commandos and as a PTI instructor – and Commando Joe’s is born!

2

Just one man and his van, Mike starts out with fun, physical fitness sessions in schools based on military-style obstacle courses.

3

Word spreads across our home turf of Manchester and soon dozens of schools want to enlist Commando Joe’s. More instructors join the squad.

4

Soon we’ve got 20 staff in our ranks, working with 25,000 children in over 100 schools. It’s becoming clear that the benefits of Commando Joe’s classes go way beyond physical fitness.

5

Due to demand, we expand and adapt to offer schools much more team building and one-to-one mentoring based on our instructors’ military skills experience. The results in the classroom are amazing with teachers reporting boosts in grades and behaviour.

6

Amazed by the results for the first scheme of its kind in the UK, we team up with Swansea University in 2010 to independently monitor the outcomes over the next few years.

7

The Department for Education sees the potential in our work and we are awarded £600,000 to expand in to some of the UK’s most disadvantaged areas. This is so successful, we have been awarded funding every year since.

8

Within just a few years of starting up we have got 50 staff, working with 50,000 pupils in over 200 schools across the UK. We’ve branched out from Manchester to Liverpool, across the north west and in to the Midlands.

9

2013 sees our first £1 million in funding from the Department for Education, as schools continue to report success stories. It is becoming clear the effect our work has on building courage and strength of character in even the hardest to reach pupils.

10

The team at Swansea University release their report in to our work in 2016. Commando Joe’s sees results proving for the first time in the UK that our brand of character-building work boosts grades, behaviour and attendance.

11

So here we are, with over 70 staff, working with thousands of pupils in over 300 schools across the UK. From our HQ in Leigh, Greater Manchester, we now have instructors all over the UK from Cumbria to Cornwall and everywhere in between.

12

Determined to reach every school in the country, we’re now embarking on the next phase – helping schools to deliver character-building programmes with teacher-led models.

Meet the team...

Commando Bryn
Instructor, Manchester
Mike Hamilton
Managing Director, HQ
Dave Aston
Team Leader, Cornwall
Dan Kelly
National Manager, HQ
Chris Walker
Team Leader, Manchester
Theresa Carter
HR Manager, HQ
Tommy Cashen
Instructor, Liverpool
Sean Hickey
Training Manager, HQ

Background: Former Lance Corporal Bryn joined the Royal Engineers aged 16 and served for six years with tours of Northern Ireland and the former Yugoslavia. A trained electrician, he specialised as an army Personal Training Instructor for three years. After leaving the army he worked for the police before signing up to Commando Joe’s as a full-time instructor.

Why he joined Commando Joe’s: “I missed that army camaraderie and I also wanted to make that move into education. This is the perfect way to use all the skills I learned in the army while helping children at the same time.”

Best bits of the job: “It’s the little things that make a difference – a pupil coming up to you to say thanks off their own bat when they might never have said please or thank you before. Just knowing that you had something to do with those positive changes, it makes you feel really privileged. “I never really considered myself to be a role model until I joined Commando Joe’s – but now it definitely makes me dress that bit smarter before I go in to school!”

Background:  Former Commando and bomb disposal expert, Mike also worked as a Physical Training Instructor in the Army before setting up Commando Joe’s in 2009.

Why should schools sign up Commando Joe’s?  “We understand the massive pressures that schools are under these days – and our veterans are there to be a support to teachers in whatever way they need us. We firmly believe that the team-building and character-forming skills our veterans can pass on help children from whatever background realize their potential.”

What makes a good Commando Joe?  “Our instructors bring an amazing set of skills and are passionate about making a difference. We offer retraining, a supportive environment of other ex-military instructors and the opportunity to make a difference again. We know our staff have real strength of character – we want people who can pass that positivity on to the next generation.”

Background:  Former Sergeant Major Dave served for 35 years with the Marines before joining Commando Joe’s.  Working across a number of South West schools, he has hit the headlines lately with his innovative Commando Joe’s Survival Schools, teaching practical outdoor skills to primary pupils.

Why should schools enlist Commando Joe’s?  “It’s great that the schools I work with want to get children really engaging with the outdoors.   Not many children will get the chance to learn trapping skills, tracking through the woods using lichen and how to start a fire from scratch.”

Best bit of the job:  “Part of what we do at Commando Joe’s is to use those real-life skills we have learned in the military and use them to help build resilience and character in schools.  We know how to take that expertise and make it relevant for children.  In a safe and fun way.  It’s about really helping them build character and empowering them to learn those practical skills to face any challenge.”

Background:  Former Corporal Dan served for 10 years with the Royal Engineers, completing tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.  A trained combat engineer, he later spent six years as a Personal Training Instructor in the army before heading back to Civvy Street in 2012.

Best bits of the job:  “As National Manager I get to oversee about 70 instructors and deal with hundreds of schools every day.  The best thing about that is there’s never a dull day!  There’s always something new happening, some instructor coming up with a new idea somewhere.  And I love going in to schools to see those instructors doing well, after seeing them come to us as raw recruits. The other great thing is speaking to so many super happy Head Teachers – when you match the right instructor to the right school it is just win-win.”

Why join Commando Joe’s? “One word – potential.  As soon as I came for interview I realised what a great company it is and how it could really offer something to schools across the whole country.  Also working with other people from a similar forces background was a big draw.  It’s great helping other people make that transition to civilian life and a new career.”

Background:  Former Sergeant Major Chris retired from the Army in 2013 after 25 years’ service including tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.

Why join Commando Joe’s?  “I never aspired to anything in school so I decided I wanted to help give other kids going through tough times new strategies for life.  Commando Joe’s gave me that chance.”

“The great thing is all the instructors have been in the forces so I knew I could trust them, they have been tried and tested.  In the army my team were my family and it’s the same at Commando Joe’s.”

Best bit about the job: “I’m excited and motivated every single day that I go in to work and I would do anything to help the kids that I’m working with reach their full potential.”

 

What makes a good Commando Joe?  “I love working here because there’s so many interesting people – I’m in awe of what the instructors have done in the military before they even come to us!  I can really see why they are such inspirational role models in schools. Part of my job is to be involved through the recruitment process – and sometimes it’s hard to capture what makes a good ‘role model’ on a CV or piece of paper.  So we have really created a recruitment process where we can get to know applicants over a several day interview and give them chance to show their abilities.”

“I suppose I am looking for that person that is going to be able to inspire and engage that classroom of children and make them look forward to the next Commando Joe’s lesson!”

Secret Commando skill:  Out of the office, Theresa more than holds her own against the instructors with her all-action hobbies of diving and trampolining. “It’s hard to work here and not get interested in sport!  I was even motivated to join the Commando Joe’s Born Survivor team, which was amazing.  It was a real achievement to finish it – but I won’t be doing it again!”

Background:  Former Lance Corporal Tommy served with the Kings 1st Battalion after joining the Army at the age of 16.  Serving in Northern Ireland, he went on to become an Army Physical Training Instructor.  After leaving the Army Tommy spent nine years as a Youth Worker in a secure unit for teenagers before joining Commando Joe’s.

Why join Commando Joe’s?  “When I saw the advert for an instructor it was as though it had been written just for me.  I had the military experience, the physical fitness background and I was already working with teenagers. I just knew it was everything I was looking for in a job, there on paper.”

Best bit about the job?  “I think it’s amazing what Commando Joe’s is doing to be honest.  It’s about being a role model and helping children build up confidence.  When you work with a child who hasn’t even got the confidence to speak in school – and then the next thing they can go and order their lunch, that’s a really rewarding feeling.”

Background:  Sean joined the Army aged 16 and spent a year at Army Foundation College before completing his specialist training and Commando course.  Serving with 29 Commando unit, he completed two tours of Afghanistan.  Later, he served with the 5th Yorkshire regiment, with duties including training and providing security at the London 2012 Olympics.

Why did you join Commando Joe’s?  “I saw the job advert and it just sounded really upbeat and I remember the phrase ‘give something back’.  I was wondering what to do with my future after leaving the forces and this just felt like a really positive new direction.”

Best bits of the job? “As training manager I get to work with the instructors right from their first day.  We do a six-week bespoke training programme and it’s amazing to see them come in with that initial spark of potential and really evolve and come out of their shell. “As some of them come to us straight from the military, they have been used to being very formal and disciplined so the first few sessions I just get them to act daft.  Then they can really let go and focus on being that role model figure.  I love going in to schools to see them deliver their first session as fully fledged Commando Joes.”

Where we cover:
We cover the entire country from Cumbria to Cornwall and everywhere in between!

See us on Sky News!