Changing character changes communities

CJ's Education Services is one of the UK’s leading educational providers, utilising the expertise of former services personnel to improve the educational outcomes for pupils through using core values including self-discipline, confidence and teamwork.
How do we do it?

No Child Left Behind

‘No Child Left Behind’ is our founding ethos. The primary aim of our programmes is to improve the educational outcomes for children and young people.

CJ’s support thousands of schools nationwide with our established, evidence-based, government-supported programmes. We help to enable young people to develop life skills, character traits, attributes and behaviours which have a positive impact on their educational attainment, engagement, employability and well-being.

We can provide early intervention for those young people disengaged with their education, alongside pupils who excel academically, specialising in behaviour management, growth-mindset development and life skills education.

Our programme is designed to support all staff and pupils in any educational setting, alongside support for parents at home. We have the flexibility for schools to choose to deliver and develop a whole school approach based on what is appropriate for their school, demographic, resources and staff.

The Numbers

Don’t just take our word for it.

The programmes we provide at CJ’s Education Services have been tried, tested and proved successful.

Analysis of the average change in individual trait scores reported by children over consecutive terms demonstrates a direct corelation between the time allocated to our programmes and degree of improvement achieved. Girls scores increased more than boys scores on all traits (significantly on Empathy, Self-awareness, Communication and Teamwork), while pupils with EAL progressed more than non-EAL pupils on all traits.


75%of all pupils who accessed the programme increased in ALL traits


96% of all pupils increased scores on at least 1 trait in just 1 term of the intervention!


Overall Teamwork had the highest score increase for most pupils


  • Term 1 22% 22%
  • Term 2 42% 42%
  • Term 3 65% 65%


  • Term 1 22% 22%
  • Term 2 41% 41%
  • Term 3 67% 67%


  • Term 1 22% 22%
  • Term 2 41% 41%
  • Term 3 67% 67%


  • Term 1 22% 22%
  • Term 2 41% 41%
  • Term 3 67% 67%


  • Term 1 22% 22%
  • Term 2 41% 41%
  • Term 3 65% 65%


  • Term 1 23% 23%
  • Term 2 41% 41%
  • Term 3 66% 66%


  • Term 1 25% 25%
  • Term 2 45% 45%
  • Term 3 66% 66%

*Data published in “CJ’s school-led programme ‘Theory of change’,” Amy Skipp, Ask Research / DfE, Aug 2020.

 What do you think?

Assessment statistics can tell us where children are improving, but they cannot tell us what that improvement feels like or what their teachers, parents and caregivers have observed.

Everything that we do at CJ’s in character education is about working towards positive outcomes for those involved, but the best judge of those outcomes are the people using our programmes in school and at home. Interviews conducted in collaboration with six schools revealed the following effects of CJ’s programmes.



Wider effects of the programme

A number of general effects were noted accross the majority of children undertaking CJ’s programmes:

  • Impact on overall learning, engagement, attitudes and achievement in class.
  • Improvement in behaviour management, growth-mindset, and self-confidence.
  • Practical application of learning helped develop curriculum learning, leading to improved engagement, attendance and attainment

    Subgroup benefits

    Data collected in regard of pupil subgroups demostrated additional, specific benefits beyond the wider effects experienced by the student body as a whole:

    • Experienced new activities and experiences, and
    • Experienced success (in a non-academic domain, where this may be less common for them)
    • A chance to demonstrate their abilities
    • Experiencing success
    • Being in the same boat as others, rather than being seen as different or disadvantaged
    • small group approach supports more positive behaviours
    • High achievers build resilience and aren’t good at everything
    • Quieter learners gaining confidence
    They learn resilience through persevering on missions, and then achieving.

    They all become very aware of each other’s skills and start to work together to help each other out and capitalise on what they’re good at.

    It makes them positive about themselves – they have achieved and learnt.

    Those unenthusiastic about school certainly get more drive from it.

    & Staff


    School effects

    All participating schools reported a positive impact in the following areas:

    • Staff enthusiasm and inspiration
    • Energy and dynamism in schools
    • Underpinning/influencing school values
    • Better behaved, higher achieving pupils
    • Parents and the wider community having more confidence and trust in the school and young people
    • Fostering better relationships across the community

    Staff effects

    CJ’s programmes not only benefit puplis, but also aid teachers in and beyond the classroom:

    • Increased team morale
    • Staff more enthused
    • Focused approach shared by all staff
    • Practical solutions to issues
    • More rounded picture and better relationships with each pupil
    • Creative delivery of teaching
    • More ideas of how to deliver other curriculum content
    • Creative, structured use of outdoor spaces for learning
    • Easy to follow and deliver with no increased workload
    • Leading to better support and academic attainment



      Engagement effects

      At its best, CJ’s can bring parents, guardians and caregivers into a closer, more collaberative relationship with their children’s schools:

      • Better behaved children, and more resources to help them manage their children’s behaviour better
      • More engagement with school
      • Pupils more likely to have discussions about learning with their family
      • Parents seeing children in a different light

      Family effects

      The benefits of CJ’s educational programmes extend beyond the school gates, helping children and their families communicate and enjoy a shared experience:

      • Better behaved children, and more resources to help them manage their children’s behaviour better
      • Parents seeing children in a different light
      After a successful career serving in Her Majesties 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, Managing Director and founder of Commando Joe’s (CJs Education Services)

      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

      Why not sit back and enjoy a lovely coffee or tea and let one of the team tell you all about the impact of the programme!

      Get in touch to book a virtual or face to face meeting with one of the team.

      The school-led programme has been a labour of love for many educational specialists, however, the programme would not be the what it is without Sophie Murfin, the CEO of the Wise Owl Trust.

      Sophie has supported CJ’s with the design, implementation and adapting the programme to enable any school, anywhere, with any purpose to be able to use the resources in a way that suits your school. The suggested and open-ended design is truly remarkable, without her input the programme would not be what it is today.