Cadets from two Cheltenham schools joined forces for the first time this September as part of Wessex RFCA’s Schools Cadet Expansion programme.
Fifteen enthusiastic year ten pupils from All Saints’ Academy volunteered to join the ranks of Dean Close School’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) for their first official Field Day of the school year on Tuesday September 25.
These new recruits have the opportunity to join in with weekly after school Cadet activities at Dean Close, which will include archery, canoeing, camping, survival skills and team-work exercises.
They will also join Dean Close once a term for the Cadet Field Days.
The expansion programme was announced by the government in 2012 and aims to see up to 100 more Cadet Units in state-funded Schools by 2015.
This opportunity significantly increases the number of young people able to access the benefits offered by the cadet experience.
Les Tanner, the Schools Cadet Expansion Officer for Wessex RFCA, said he was delighted to see how well the students from the two schools were bonding and working together on their first ever joint Field Day.
He said: “A day like this just demonstrates what a fantastic opportunity this programme is giving to young people from all areas and backgrounds.
“The children from both schools immediately bonded, started working together and really enjoyed experiencing the feeling of cammaraderie the Cadet experience brings.
“The Cadets from All Saints Academy have only been in the CCF with Dean Close for under a month, and they deserve to be congratulated for the effort they put in. Many of the ASA Cadets even managed to contribute towards their house sections, winning trophies for their respective houses.
Eventually, with the help and experience of Dean Close School, All Saints’ Academy will become a standalone RAF CCF Unit – hopefully within the next three years.
Major Dom Evans, Dean Close’s Officer in Command, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the Cadets from both schools to come together and work towards a common goal.
“I have been very pleased to see the strong support for this partnership from HQ Air Cadets, Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, as well as the Governors and Headmasters of both schools.”
Flying Officer Revell RAF VR (T), Dean Close’s RAF Section Officer (All Saints’ Academy Lead), said Dean Close had been a “brilliant” partner to work with.
“They have put so much hard work to create this opportunity for us and we are very appreciative of their efforts.
“We hope to be running our own unit in three years’ time and our students will be trained to become future leaders of our own CCF.”