The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a unique educational partnership that operates in schools across the UK. Through enjoyable military themed and adventurous activities, cadets have the opportunity to take responsibility, develop skills such as leadership, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance. CCF contingents contain one or more sections from the Army, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines or the Royal Air Force, and promote the aims and values of the Services they represent.
The CCF has one of the longest histories of all the cadet forces sponsored by the MOD, dating back to the 1850s when a number of schools formed units which were attached to Rifle Volunteer Battalions for Home Defence.
Since the 1950s, however, the CCF has been recognised as a voluntary youth organisation, the aim of which is to provide an opportunity for young people to exercise responsibility and leadership in a disciplined environment.
Today the CCF contingents form a vibrant, inclusive youth organisation for pupils aged between 13 and 18, offering significant developmental opportunities in a unique educational partnership with the schools in which they are based. Through the use of military-orientated and adventurous training, cadets also have the opportunity to develop their sense of responsibility and the qualities of self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance, perseverance and a sense of service to the community. The acquisition of these personal attributes at a formative stage will remain of value throughout the cadets’ lives and will be relevant in whatever career they pursue.
There are around 275 CCF contingents based in both state and independent schools and colleges throughout the UK. The CCF contingent may comprise up to 3 service sections: Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Some RN sections also include Royal Marines detachments.
The CCF is not part of the UK armed forces. While adult volunteers and cadets do wear uniform, they do not incur any liability for service or compulsory training in the Armed Forces as a result of being a CCF member.
Training opportunities for cadets occur during weekly parades in school, whole day and weekend training periods (field days), at annual military camps, on courses run by the Armed Forces specifically for cadets and through adventurous training expeditions arranged on an ad hoc basis. Cadets follow the syllabus appropriate to the section they join but all include drill, skill at arms and use of map and compass. Adventurous training opportunities include mountain walking, canoeing, gliding and offshore sailing. Cadets also have the opportunity to gain BTEC qualifications in public services and music.