- What is it?
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a national youth organization with over 350 Contingents around the country. The Barr Beacon School Contingent will be formally parading for the first time in September 2017 under the Cadet Expansion Programme, which is a Government Initiative involving the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Education. There are currently 57 student candidates attending a trial period to join the RAF Section.
Barr Beacon School’s CCF is an organisation based on military style discipline and values, where the qualities of leadership, followership, self-reliance and teamwork are promoted through individual study, team based activities and experiences not usually found in the school environment.
- What will cadets be doing?
All pupils in Year 9 from September 2017 are eligible to join the CCF contingent but numbers are limited, and a selection and trial period is held in the final term of Year 8 for volunteers to be assessed for suitability. This activity, along with the regular parades, takes place each Monday afternoon. All the CCF Officers are members of staff and the School Staff Instructor (SSI) has joined us after serving over 29 years in the RAF. During the year there will be many CCF activities which cadets can attend, including an Annual Camp at an RAF Establishment. There are many other opportunities for cadets such as marksmanship training and flying, both in powered aircraft and in gliders. Some cadets may be able to learn to fly solo or take control of twin-piloted aircraft. Some cadets will aspire to visit Camps and locations overseas and the International Air Cadet Exchange plans and runs an annual worldwide exchange of aviation-minded cadets, whilst the Air Cadet Organisation (our overarching sponsor) arranges annual camps at select locations in Europe.
- What will cadets be learning?
The military environment will provide the basis where drill teaches people to obey orders without question, not to make cadets automatons but make them able to identify and function in environments where control from a safety perspective must be absolute. Such times are faced on a daily basis by the Police, Ambulance Service, Fire Service, Coastguard and many other organisations on a daily basis.
This environment will also provide opportunity for cadets to plan, organise and orchestrate activities from beginning to end, where the need to take control or to support, communicate through both talking and listening, find solutions through knowledge or trial and error, and the understanding that failure can teach as much as success, are key factors to achieving the aim.
Fostering an interest in the armed forces is important too: not as a tool for recruiting, but to promote an understanding of the military and its role in British life. To achieve this, cadets will have the opportunity to visit military establishments and meet the people who have made the decision to serve the nation.
Apart from camps, there is a range of other courses which cadets can attend. These include leadership courses, one of which can lead to an Institute of Leadership and Management qualification, as well as adventurous training courses. Cadets can enhance their formal educational record through their CCF training by using their service towards BTEC qualifications.
- Develop the skills they need
Barr Beacon students who join the CCF can expect to be challenged physically and mentally, whether that is through the expectation that they will maintain their own uniform (not the responsibility of someone at home) to taking part in leadership exercises aimed at them. Ultimately they will become the leaders and instructors for cadets that will follow them in the years to come. Some will take the academic elements in their stride but struggle to “bull” their shoes whilst others will lead themselves anywhere but not feel confident leading others. This is where the bond of service will help cadets to come together to achieve both their own personal goals and the goals of the organisation. To achieve this, we expect the cadets to follow the same core ethos values and standards as the Contingent’s parent service, the Royal Air Force.
Respect: Mutual and Self Respect
Integrity: Moral Courage - Honesty - Responsibility - Justice
Service: Physical Courage - Loyalty - Commitment - Teamwork
Excellence: Personal Excellence - Discipline – Pride
Throughout their service, cadets will be given the opportunity to take ownership of many of the activities carried out, including arranging demonstrations for visitors, the logistics of organising trips and camps, recruiting, training and mentoring younger cadets, charitable activities, biennial inspections and the running of the overall training programme. Officers and staff will only take the lead if specialist knowledge or training is required. This will enable cadets to develop a sense of leadership, organisation, pride and empowerment that will be useful skills in any future endeavours.