What is the CCF?
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a voluntary organisation which has support from the Ministry of Defence. Our aim is to provide a disciplined organisation in which pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance. Members of the CCF are not part of the Armed Forces and so are not liable for service or compulsory training in the Armed Forces, but the CCF’s training does impart a basic knowledge and understanding of the role of the Armed Forces.
Here at Sandbach School the CCF Contingent has three separate sections – Navy, Army and RAF. Each section has its own officers, uniform and training programme, though many activities are also shared. The basic training for the CCF takes place during Tuesday parades which are held after school between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. Cadets learn a wide variety of basic military and adventurous training skills, details of which can be found in the individual sections on the left.
The CCF Charter
“The broad function of the Combined Cadet Force is to provide a disciplined organisation within a school so that boys and girls may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance, and a sense of service to the community. It is firmly believed that the self-discipline required in Service life is equally important in the civil life of the nation today. The specific function of the service training in the C.C.F. is to provide the opportunity for young people to exercise responsibility and leadership, and to learn from the services how they can best be developed: Show them why the defence forces are needed and how they function: encourage those who have an interest in the services to become Officers of the Regular or Reserve Forces.”
(C.C.F. Charter as published by the Ministry of Defence)
The Purpose of the CCF
The Charter mentioned above clearly sets out the overall purpose of the Combined Cadet Force. However, it is well worth emphasising the salient points, which are:
To provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that its members, both boys and girls, may develop:
To encourage a positive attitude to service to the community
To impart an understanding of why this country’s Defence Forces are needed and how they carry out their functions.
What do we do?
The basic training for the CCF takes place during Tuesday parades which are held after school between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. Cadets learn basic military and adventurous training skills. Tuesday afternoon activities vary depending on the section but all cover a core syllabus which focuses on developing self-reliance, teamwork and leadership skills. But there is much more to the CCF than Tuesday parades. Throughout the year there are a number opportunities for cadets to practically practice their skills and gain new skills both on and off-site.
Further Training Opportunities
Annual Camps are held by all three sections at the start of the summer holidays. During these camps the cadets will spend a week on a military base practising the skills they have learnt during the year. This will include assault courses for the Army, sailing for the Navy and flying for the RAF. These weeks are good fun and provide cadets with an excellent opportunity to develop further the skills they have learnt during the year and give an insight into the way the Armed Forces work.
The CCF also organises its own training camps and field days during the year. These cover a wide variety of activities including obstacle courses, first aid, orienteering, patrolling, leadership and self-reliance training, sailing and flying. More details about training camps and field days can be found within the section pages.
Adventurous training is very important. Whilst it is not military in nature the demands made of the cadets are very real and involve the constant use of decision making, looking out for others in the party and taking responsibility for others. Throughout the year there are a number of weekends and week long adventurous training opportunities run by the qualified staff at the CCF.
Camping in Snowdonia or the Lake District.
Rock climbing both indoor and out.
Canoeing and sailing.
Mountain walking and scrambling.
Expeditions lasting 5 – 16 days in the UK and abroad.
There are also a number of courses run by CCAT (Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training) which cover similar activities and can lead to recognised qualifications.
After passing the weapon safety tests all cadets have the opportunity join the shooting team. As a member of the shooting team they will attend a number of weekends to prepare them for both the North-West Cadet SAM (Skill at Arms Meeting) and the National Schools Meeting at Bisley.
Where do we get the uniform?
This is issued to you from our stores on loan free of charge. Do not lose any of it. If you do you will be expected to replace it at your expense. You will need to buy your own boots and possibly a set of waterproofs.
How much does it cost?
Training Costs: The Ministry of Defence subsidises most of the training activities: Uniform is loaned to the cadets – all cadets must purchase their own army boots;
A typical training weekend will cost approximately £25 and a seven day camp £55 (2007 rates);
Expeditions abroad can cost as little as £400 for 16 days.
Unit Subscriptions: Cadets are asked to pay annual subscriptions of £35 per year. This money is used to purchase training equipment and consumable resources. Cadets experiencing financial hardship should contact Lt Col Ayres in confidence.
What will my commitment be?
You will be expected to parade regularly on Tuesday evenings each week. There are extra camps that you can go on as well as additional training evenings and field days. If you miss out on the camps you will probably find CCF dull and boring – you get out of it what you put in. There are three compulsory parades during the year:
Armistice Day Parade in Sandbach – a very high profile parade where the CCF forms the largest uniformed group;
The Biennial Review and Inspection (a military style Ofsted inspection!) which is held every two years on a school day – a good report allows us to continue operating;
The Annual Dining-in Night, which is a formal dinner with many military and civilian guests in attendance.
Who looks after us when we are on camp?
CCF officers (most of them are teachers) and adult instructors plus any regular service personnel attached to us at the time are on call 24 hours a day. All are CRB checked. They do all of the instruction, supervision and deal with any problems or illness. Often the first person called is one of the senior cadet NCOs, who share the same accommodation as the junior cadets.
Older cadets become NCOs and are used to help train and look after younger or inexperienced cadets even when operating in arduous conditions, e.g. at night on patrol or when living in a makeshift bivouac. They also have a pastoral role as well. This system we have found to work well because it develops leadership, caring and an acceptance of responsibility for others.