Schools join forces to set up new Army cadet unit

ALL KITTED OUT -- cadets and adult volunteers of the new Combined Cadet Force, pictured outside Sutton Community Academy.
ALL KITTED OUT -- cadets and adult volunteers of the new Combined Cadet Force, pictured outside Sutton Community Academy.

Schools in Ollerton and Ashfield have joined forces to set up a new Army-themed cadet unit to boost both the studies and the career prospects of pupils.

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) has been created at Sutton Community Academy, with help from Dukeries Academy. It already has 15 students parading each week, and has stimulated lots of interest and enthusiasm.

Aimed initially at 14-to-15-year-olds, the unit is the brainchild of the East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadet Association. It is part of the government’s cadet expansion programme in schools to give students the chance to learn new skills, such as leadership and self-reliance, based on the traditions and values of the armed forces.

Dukeries already has a unit run by adult volunteers at Dukeries. Now it is being shadowed by the CCF at Sutton, whose volunteer leader, Second Lieutenant Marion Wells, said: “We decided to aim at year-ten students because they would gain a lot from the experience to benefit their future studies.”

The Sutton academy’s principal, Tim Croft, feels that “being in the CCF will be a fantastic experience”. He added: “Skills being developed include team working, resilience and time-keeping, while students will also get the opportunity to try challenging, new activities, such as fieldcraft and adventure training.”

Among the youngsters to have joined the CCF is Kye Smith, who said: “I thought it would be fun and build my confidence.” Others, such as Lauren Smith, Kieran Marriott, Jack Topley and Daniel Lander, all praised the idea.