Combined Cadet Force

Home / Education / Combined Cadet Force

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

CCF is a voluntary youth organisation, the aim of which is to provide an opportunity for students to exercise responsibility and leadership in a disciplined environment.  The cadet forces started in a handful of British public schools in 1860 and is an educational partnership with the Ministry of Defence.

Today the CCF contingent is a vibrant, inclusive youth organisation for pupils aged between 13 and 18, offering significant developmental opportunities 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. In keeping with many aspects of life at Read School, the acquisition of these personal attributes at this formative stage will remain of value throughout the cadets’ lives and will be relevant in whatever career they pursue.

Read School CCF is one of the oldest Cadet Forces in the country with 100 years of history.  Today pupils at Read are enrolled into the CCF in Year 9 and select which CCF section they would like to join: Army or Royal Air Force.  Cadets participate in CCF sessions in school on Thursday afternoons which include a wide range of activities, including First Aid and vocational skills training.

Each year the CCF holds training camps, where the skills learned at school can be put to the test and developed further via expeditions and more formal training or team building exercises. There is also the opportunity to get involved in other adventurous activities – from climbing and kayaking at Gairloch Head to training exercises and leadership crafts at the local Driffield Camp.

Pupils are encouraged to continue in the CCF throughout their School career.  As Cadets progress, they are promoted on merit, encouraged to take part in the instruction and training of new recruits and to contribute to the training programme.  This type of experience carries weight on CVs and UCAS (University) applications and serves to develop leadership skills for senior school pupils.

Commemoration Day July 2017: Mr Barry Dodd CBE visited Read School as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for North Yorkshire and addressed several pupils. Leading with the Read School Standard was Annie Henry and Matthew Roberts as Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM)

CCF – A Personal Experience

Some pupils leave Read to pursue military careers and past pupils currently serving include:

Matthew Roberts who left Read in in July 2017 to pursue a gap commission in the Army and now serves as Second Lieutenant with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Matthew writes about his previous and current experience.

Matthew Roberts

“My time at Read school, especially in the CCF, has helped me develop my leadership, communication and teamwork skills. From a small quiet boy in year 9 to a confident leader as a 2Lt in the British Army. My adventure in the Read School CCF began in year 9. My year group and I were put into issued, ill-fitting green uniform and taught the very basics of soldiering. This ranged from navigation and first aid as well as how to use a rifle, all the way to living in the field and how to iron uniform and polish your boots. 

After a few months, we were given a choice; RAF or Army. I chose Army. From then on l learnt the principles of marksmanship, camouflage and concealment, the basics of section attacks. Most importantly I learnt the Army values and standards (courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment).

As well as solely military practices another highlight of CCF was the adventurous training. I have had the opportunity to go on expeditions to Scotland, had great fun mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing and even parachuting.

As I progressed through the CCF I was promoted, at first to Lance Corporal after 18 months and then to Corporal by year 11. With this came further qualifications in first aid and leadership training. In the field on exercise, I was given command of a section of 8 cadets. Back in regular training afternoons, I began to teach the younger cadets the basics I had been taught when I first joined.

All throughout my time in the CCF I have had exceptional military opportunities presented to me. I have seen your Nation’s nuclear deterrent in Faslane spent days with the Royal Marines getting hands on with their kit, being thrashed across the water on their speedboats. I have also spent many days on live ranges, improving my shooting. I have even been on exercise in RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

By the time, I was in VI Form I had become the senior cadet in the school. In my last year becoming Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major, where any hardworking cadet aspires to be. With this rank came increased responsibilities. I helped develop and plan the lessons my team of Staff Sergeants, Sergeants and Corporals were delivering. In this time, I also managed to achieve a level 3 BTEC and lead parades on Remembrance Day as well as liaising with the Lord Lieutenant Barry Dodd, when he visited the school.

I am now a 2Lt in 4 Battalion the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers on a Gap Year Commission. This is a scene that allows young men and women with leadership potential who can pass the Army Officer Selection Board and have a confirmed place at university (Mechanical Engineering at Manchester for myself) to become a junior officer for a year. This includes attending the commissioning course short at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before being posted to a regular Army unit for a year.

Since Commissioning, I have had an amazing year. I have travelled to Germany with the Royal Artillery on exercise, working closely with our NATO partners, going skiing in France and even going to Canada for 2 months on the biggest exercise of the year. 

All this while being paid has made my gap year the most full on and rewarding it could possibly be”.

It all began at The Read School.

Matthew Roberts, Read School Pupil 2012 – 2017

Read pupil, Amy Broomhead was one of two CCF cadets in the UK to win the prestigious CVQO Duke of Westminster award in 2015 and joined a small group of national finalists for two weeks of community work and adventure in South Africa.  Amy speaks of her involvement with CCF at Read and the opportunities it provided:

Amy displaying our school Standard

When I joined the CCF little did I know of the opportunities and experiences I would have had in just 5 years.

It has opened doors for me including being able to gain extra-curricular qualifications alongside my GCSEs and A levels like my BTEC and my institute of leadership and management level 3 qualification that I know for a fact has helped me get job interviews since and is always a talking point with employers.  

It helped me grow as a person to become more self- motivating, respectful, and determined and gave me teamwork skills unparalleled to what I would have without the CCF.

I have also been able to experience incredible things as a result of being part of the CCF:  as well as having the opportunity to regularly travel around the UK on camps and expeditions, I also went on the trip of a lifetime to South Africa, something that would never have been possible without the CCF.  Despite not pursuing a military career (I am currently studying Languages & Business at Sheffield Hallam University), the skills, opportunities, experiences and qualifications I have gained by being part of the CCF have been transferable into my life and I believe have helped me to get to the position I am in today”.

Amy Broomhead, Read School Pupil – 2008-2015

Currently on work placement in Paris while studying Languages & Business at Sheffield Hallam University

Amy displaying Read School Standard.

Alex Smales – recently commissioned as Officer into Royal Air Force