Combined Cadet Force
The CCF trains young men to develop their qualities of leadership, self-reliance and initiative, and offers unique opportunities for outward-bound activities such as mountaineering, gliding, orienteering and parachuting.
All pupils in Years 9 and above are able to join this voluntary activity as part of either the Army or RAF contingent. There are weekly activity sessions and twice yearly camps. Several cadets are selected each year to attend advanced leadership courses.
In January 2014, Wilson's became the host school for a CCF partnership with Wallington High School for Girls. This is proving to be a very successful partnership with many of Wallington High School for Girls year 9 students joining the CCF and parading regularly at Wilson's.
Since its inception, the Corps has sought to contribute significantly to the qualities and skills that boys need to meet life's ever-changing expectations and challenges. It encourages the development of initiative, responsibility, confidence and assertiveness, and through individual and group activities boys will have the opportunity to acquire self-reliance, leadership skills, self-discipline, perseverance and endurance.
The CCF is an ideal introduction to life in the military services, but it is a worthwhile extra-curricular activity in its own right for those who want to broaden their horizons and take advantage of the varied instruction and training on offer. The Corps is not a recruitment agency for the armed forces, but derives full benefit from the support and commitment given by the military services and personnel attached to the school sections. Through the experience and enthusiasm of senior officers, cadets develop a sense of pride in their Corps and maturity of judgement in both team and individual situations.
One of the strengths of the CCF is the high standard of instruction expected from those in positions of authority, with due attention paid to health and safety matters whenever relevant. Only authorized personnel may take responsibility for cadet training, and this gives cadets the reassurance that enables them to enjoy activities to the full, and reassures parents that appropriate oversight and guidance are available at all times during training with military equipment and on outdoor activities.
Recruitment to the CCF
Recruitment starts at the end of year 8, when boys join the Training Company. Open afternoons are arranged to give interested boys a chance to meet cadets and officers and find out about life in the CCF. Boys may then join from September in year 9 after attaining the age of 13, and will attend every week on Tuesday afternoon.
Initially there will be a Recruits' Test and instruction in shooting and safety. Cadets choose to join either the Army or RAF section at the end of February in year 9, and during year 10 cadets have the opportunity to gain promotion as infantrymen or airmen to non-commissioned officer (NCO). Although the Corps receives a small grant each year, whose size is dependent on the number, achievement and qualifications of cadets, we have to ask for a joining fee in order to provide the widest possible range of activities. The joining fee is £40, of which £25 is the non-returnable subscription to the CCF, and £15 is the deposit required on the uniform and other kit. There is also a charge for each camp, which is currently £18 for a 3-day camp and £30 – 38 for a week's camp, to supplement the costs of food and travel.
Training Camps in the CCF
The CCF has a rolling programme of progressive training and promotion, which includes skills training, methods of instruction and leadership courses. We are a Ministry of Defence funded unit, with a structured syllabus of 40% adventure training and 60% combined Army and RAF theoretical, technical and practical skills. Cadets of all ranks are externally assessed by regular service personnel.
Cadets parade for one hour each week, and there are 3 camps per year. There is a combined Army and RAF camp during the October half-term; separate Army camps follow at February half-term and the end of the Summer term, with RAF camps at Easter and during the Summer. These camps enable our cadets to meet those from other school CCF units and to engage in a variety of training and competitive tasks and challenges.