Aim High

Sutton Valence student cadets in action on a rope swing

Sutton Valence School and The Duke Of York's Royal Military School talk us through the benefits of taking part in the Combined Cadet Force...

Sutton Valence School

Tell us a little about your school's Combined Cadet Force?

Sutton Valence School is celebrating 100 years of CCF this October and is fortunate to have all three sections: Royal Navy, Army and RAF. They all have a common core of drill, navigation and skill at arms. The Royal Navy section specialises in life saving, sailing and power boating, the Army in infantry skills and tactics and the RAF in flight training, including gliding and flying.

Can any student take part?

CCF is open to all students from Third Form (Year 9) up to Sixth Form. For the past six years, in Third everyone has chosen to join. Overall 55-60% of students who can opt to join do, which demonstrates the popularity of this non-compulsory activity.

What are the benefits of joining?

The CCF complements the academic, leadership and co-curricular aims of the School in preparing students for adult life and good citizenship. It provides the opportunity for cadets to develop self-discipline, responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance, perseverance, a sense of service to the community and leadership. The emphasis is on providing a challenging, safe and enjoyable experience within an active and disciplined environment.

Are any qualifications or awards on offer?

All cadets have the opportunity to take part in adventurous training where they can work towards qualifications in a wide range of activities, for example kayaking, sailing, scuba, skiing and, perhaps the ultimate, flying solo. We also offer BTEC in Public Services level 2 in Fifth Form and level 3 in Sixth Form, which counts towards university application.

Which activities prove to be most popular?

It's difficult to say what is most popular. The value of CCF is that a huge range of activities is available, enabling students to personalise their own experience, picking activities that appeal to them. A lot of cadets don't know what they enjoy until they try something new and having the experience is sometimes more important than the enjoyment. Successfully overcoming self-doubt is hugely rewarding and builds character.


Duke of York's Royal Military School students get to grips with water

The Duke of York's Royal Military School

Tell us a little about your school's Combined Cadet Force?

The School views the CCF as an integral part of its educational experience because of the incredible opportunities it provides. The CCF is fortunate to be staffed by personnel who have a range of military service and the Officer Commanding, Regimental Sergeant Major and Training Major are members of the School's Senior Leadership Team. All students in Years 9 to 13 take part in CCF. They undergo a general introduction to the CCF and complete their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award in Year 9. In Year 10, they conduct training specific to the service arm of their choice whether it be Army, Navy or Air Force. In Year 11 they undergo a leadership cadre to prepare them for their Sixth Form roles as non-commissioned officers, in ranks ranging from Lance Corporal through to Regimental Sergeant Major.

Can any student take part?

All students from Year 9 onwards take part provided they meet the physical requirements needed for the activities.

What are the benefits of joining?

As well as having membership of a nationally recognised youth leadership organisation, the award of ranks and the skills and qualifications developed are of huge individual benefit and are seen as a mark of merit by universities and employers. There is also the opportunity to access courses and activities within the Cadet organisation which are outside of the School. A number of our former students pursue careers within the armed forces and have found their time in the CCF invaluable. Similarly, those who do not choose a service career have found the leadership opportunities and teamwork experiences of being in the CCF transferable to their own individual career pathways.

Are any qualifications or awards on offer?

All students have access to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, progressing from Bronze to Gold awards. The school is the largest local award centre and hosts the annual local awards ceremony. Cadets have access to many qualifications through a vast array of Cadet Force funded courses on offer such as Royal Marines leadership, kayaking, climbing, walking, skiing and shooting courses.

Which activities prove to be most popular?

Annual CCF summer camp is always a huge memory. Royal Navy cadets have the opportunity to attend an array of courses which are as varied as sailing and sub-aqua diving through to military marching and band training. Most Royal Air Force cadets have had the opportunity to fly at RAF Wyton's Air Experience Flight. Some have gone on to obtain gliding scholarship blue wings in piloting. There is also a very popular Adventurous Training camp held annually at Okehampton on Dartmoor.

Find out more about Sutton Valence at www.svs.org.uk or call 01622 845206, and for The Duke of York's Royal Military School visit www.doyrms.com or call 01304 245073.