SCOTLAND’s largest local authority has been criticised for allowing one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers to deliver a science and engineering workshop to school pupils.

Up to 150 boys and girls were taken out of classes at the Glasgow Gaelic School this week to attend the session run by defence giant BAE Systems, which makes the Eurofighter Typhoon and Typhoon aircraft.

Both aircraft have been deployed by Saudi Arabia to drop bombs on Yemen in the ongoing conflict in which more than 10,000 people including children have been killed.

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Parents of pupils at the Glasgow Gaelic School said it was inappropriate for an arms manufacturer to be allowed into the classroom.

They said they were not told in advance about the visit and would not have given permission for their children to attend had they been notified.

“I was horrified when I found out BAE Systems was allowed into my child’s school to deliver a science and engineering workshop,” one mother told The National.

“It was a glitzy and slick event. They had drones buzzing around the assembly hall. The whole point was to present a fun and magic workshop and the children were mesmerized.

“But what they weren’t showing was the true picture of what the weapons they manufacture do, the death and misery they are causing.”

She added: “I believe there is a hidden and sinister agenda to these visits. They are trying to normalise the defence and arms industry.”

Pupils from Primary Seven and Secondary One attended the 100-minute workshop last Monday and were taken out of a range of classes including geography, French and personal and social education.

A father of a second child also complained to The National.

“I don’t think it is right that a company which produces and sells arms is allowed into a school,” he said. “We weren’t consulted on this. It is deeply unethical at all sorts of levels,” he said.

He added: “As far as I’m concerned Scotland is still occupied by an imperialist power and it’s disturbing that its allies in the arms trade can come in and seek to influence my Gaelic-speaking Scottish children. I’m really surprised to say the least that a SNP-led council are allowing it. I would call on them to think again.”

Glasgow City Council has defended the visit saying BAE Systems is a major employer in Glasgow and the workshop was aimed particularly at encouraging more girls into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

But Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “It is totally inappropriate for arms dealers to use schools as PR vehicles.

“BAE’s fighter jets are playing a central role in the Saudi-led destruction and devastation of Yemen – something I’m sure they chose not to highlight. It’s time that all schools said no to the arms trade and those that profit from war.”

Mairi Campbell-Jack, Scottish Parliamentary Engagement Officer for Quakers in Britain, a religious organisation which opposes war, also expressed criticism.

“BAE Systems visit to the school is hugely concerning. Warfare can often be glamorised and the impact of things like drones can be glossed over. They can cause a huge amount of devastation,” she said.

“Scientists for Global Responsibility, which is sees the role of sciences as primarily to help people, rather than destroy, would be a better organisation to go into schools.”

She added: “Education is not just about getting people into jobs, but about creating responsible citizens and critical thinkers of the future.”

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “BAE Systems is a world-class engineering company and one of the city’s largest employers ... a company steeped in Glasgow’s shipbuilding history.

“They brought their age-appropriate STEM roadshow to the school to help promote the variety and diversity of engineering job opportunities.

“It was a vibrant and interactive presentation that the pupils enjoyed and also complemented the council’s equalities objective to champion engineering as a future career pathway for boys and girls.

“Information about the event was highlighted on the school’s communication channels.”

In January this year the United Nations reported at least 10,000 people have been killed in the war in Yemen and 19 million people left in need of humanitarian aid.

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Saudi Arabia launched the war in March 2015 after the Houthis, rebels backed by Iran, took control of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The president fled to the Saudi capital Riyadh. The US and UK back the Saudi campaign.

BAE Systems did not respond to a request from The National for a comment.