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Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a youth organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence which operates in schools throughout the country. The CCF at Freemen’s is run in conjunction with Glyn School in Epsom.

The aims of the CCF are to promote self-reliance, team work, leadership and camaraderie in a disciplined environment. Cadets learn skills such as weapons handling, drill, navigation and first aid and build towards progressive training awards which can be earned at the end of the training programme.

Cadets choose to join the RAF section or the Army section; this will determine the programme of activities and training programme they follow. Each Easter, the contingent runs a week long adventurous training programme and, in the summer holidays, the cadets attend an annual camp for a week. There are also numerous weekend, overnight and short visits cadets can choose to take part in.

The contingent opened in September 2013 as part of the national cadet expansion programme. 50 cadets started the training initially, many of whom have now earned promotion and are involved in training the new cadet recruits.

Army Section 

The CCF (Army) is the Army Cadets section of the Combined Cadet Force. There are over 260 CCF Army Sections with approximately 29,000 cadets and 1,700 adult volunteers. The Army Section CCF aims to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness and a sense of service to the community. Activities include drill, skill at arms, shooting, fieldcraft, first aid and adventurous training activities.

The aim of training in the Army Section of a CCF is to develop the cadet’s power of leadership. Cadets are expected to develop self-reliance, responsibility, resourcefulness and a sense of service to the community.

On average cadets serve around four years in the CCF and training is steadily progressive allowing them to progress from Basic qualifications, through Advanced and on to the Leadership levels of achievement.

Joining the CCF (Army) provides a wonderful opportunity to take part in Army themed activities and events, all of which focus on building self-disciplined individuals with self-courage and a sense of worth. As a youth organisation, the CCF (Army) strives to give cadets a fun and safe experience. There is no commitment or expectation on cadets to join the regular Armed Forces when they have completed their schooling.

Cadets joining the CCF (Army) can expect to spend  up to 40% of their time on adventurous training activities. By joining the CCF (Army) cadets also have the opportunity to get involved with volunteer and charitable work in the community and to gain nationally recognised qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s award and BTECs.

Our Army Section wears the cap badge of the Corps of Royal Engineers and is parented by 135 Geographic Squadron Royal Engineers, an Army Reserve unit that supports 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic).  The Regiment is a Joint Force Command specialist Royal Engineer unit that provides geographic support to all elements of UK Defence; particularly to Army headquarters, formations and units. The unit is based in Ewell and provides assistance with training, support and equipment from time to time.


Cadets follow a syllabus called the Army Proficiency Certificate (APC) which gets more challenging each year. APC training is designed to be practical, rather than classroom-based, whenever possible. The training should be interesting, imaginative and purposeful and include competitions, exercises and games.

APC Syllabus (Basic)

The APC (Basic) syllabus consists of five subjects and sets a standard that is possible for cadets to achieve within one year:

  • Drill
  • Skill at Arms and Shooting
  • Map and Compass
  • Fieldcraft
  • First Aid

Successful completion of the APC qualifies a cadet to wear the Red star in addition to the award of the Certificate. Elements of the APC Syllabus can be accredited towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Bronze Award.

APC Syllabus (Advanced) - Special to Arms

The APC (Advanced) Syllabus consists of a number of Special to Arms subjects, the aim of which is to enhance the cadet’s knowledge and to specialise (at the school’s choice) in their second year, these subjects are:

  • Royal Artillery
  • Royal Engineers
  • Royal Signals
  • Infantry
  • REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)
  • Band

Successful completion of the APC qualifies a cadet to wear the Gold star in addition to the award of the Certificate.

Continuation Training

Continuation Training covers a number of optional subjects including the Leadership and Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC), and non-military activities that encourage the development of leadership qualities.  A cadet who passes the CIC will be awarded their Instructors badge.

Cadet Promotion

Whilst progressing through the CCF syllabi, cadets can aspire to achieve promotion within their section. Promotion is based on merit, course qualifications and a selection/promotion board chaired by the Contingent Commander along with the contingent officers. Further details can be found on CCF Promotion and Leadership page.

RAF Section 

The CCF (RAF), along with the Air Training Corps (ATC), form the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO), better known as the Air Cadets.  The CCF (RAF) is the Air Cadets section of the Combined Cadet Force. There are 202 RAF Sections with approximately 9,500 cadets and 550 adult volunteers. We aim to offer an exciting and challenging cadet experience, based around flying and aviation and so inspire young people to learn and develop new skills.

The Air Cadet Organisation’s aims are to:

  • Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people
  • Provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life
  • Encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship

Membership of the CCF (RAF) is exciting, rewarding and above all fun. You'll discover skills you never knew you had, do things and visit places you never thought you would, and meet lots of like-minded people who will become your team-mates and friends.

You’ll also have the opportunity to challenge yourself with adventurous training, be selected to represent your country or school on the International Air Cadet Exchange programme, or develop your potential on the Air Cadet Leadership Course. You can really shine as a cadet.

We aim to offer an exciting and challenging cadet experience, based around flying and aviation and so inspire young people to learn and develop new skills.

Every year the CCF (RAF) provides cadets with approximately 36 flying scholarships, with every cadet having the opportunity to have at least one flying lesson with a qualified RAF pilot. In addition to this approximately 2,900 Gliding Induction Courses are flown by CCF (RAF) Cadets and over 290 cadets complete Gliding Scholarships.


The RAF Section should be a meritocracy with promotion on ability rather than by school year, age or years of involvement. There are many local factors that will influence the precise nature and scope of day-to-day training within the Section. The overall training programme of the RAF Section is conducted in accordance with the RAF Syllabus of Training.

The Cadet Proficiency Certificate subjects laid down in the RAF Syllabus of Training and the practical application of the air-related studies – the release of cadets to undertake flying and gliding – are mandatory for all RAF Sections.  In addition to these air-related activities, there are a number of other training opportunities which the Section Commander can include within the Section’s annual training programme, to ensure that every air cadet has the opportunity to participate in both the unique RAF activities and others which are optional in the CCF.

The majority of training will be delivered by the more senior cadets.  However, for this to be effective, they need to be trained to instruct.  Therefore, cadets who complete the Proficiency Certificate and the academic subject in the Advanced Training Certificate and also pass the Air Cadet Methods of Instruction Training course (including an assessed lesson) may be awarded the Instructor Cadet yellow lanyard.  The lanyard is an easily recognised acknowledgement of the achievements of the wearer.

There is an almost unlimited range of outdoor training exercises and schemes that provide a recognised training activity for air cadets.  A few examples are:

  • Map Reading and Orienteering on established orienteering courses
  • Fieldcraft
  • Night Exercises
  • Living in the field
  • Confidence courses
  • High and Low Ropes Courses
  • Practical Leadership Exercises


The air cadets offer a variety of activities,allowing cadets to gain skills and leadership qualities.

Air Experience Flight

It’s our aim to get you airborne as often as possible, as a passenger in a light aircraft, a glider or even on-board RAF aircraft such as our Typhoon fast-jet or a Chinook helicopter.

Every air cadet gets the opportunity to have a flight each year with the Air Experience Flight (AEF). You'll join a long list of cadets going back over 50 years – including royalty - who have benefited from this fantastic experience. The first AEFs were formed in 1958 and flew the classic DeHavilland Chipmunk which served faithfully for almost 40 years until it was replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.

Recently, it's the Grob Tutor that has become the aircraft of choice. It has great visibility from its large canopy and is agile enough to allow it to perform full aerobatics. You'll soon feel right at home in the Tutor and hungry for more flight time.

Prove that you have the aptitude for flying and you could bag yourself a prestigious flying scholarship. There are several scholarships available to air cadets each year. These are sponsored by the Royal Aero Club, the Air League Educational Trust, the RAF Charitable Trust, the Geoffrey DeHaviland Foundation, Babcock Defence Services, the RAF Association and the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.

For many cadets these courses are the stepping stone to their PPL - Private Pilots’ Licence - and potentially a career as a pilot with the RAF, the Royal Navy, Army or commercial airlines.

Some cadets achieve their PPLs before they even get their driving licence, so the sky really is the limit!


Your gliding experience kicks off at a Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) flying either Vigilant motor gliders or Viking winch-launch gliders. Your focus, along with others from your ATC squadron or CCF (RAF) unit, will be to complete the Gliding Induction Course (GIC).

Designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding, the GIC consists of three levels of instruction. On your first visit you'll be taught the GIC 1. Later visits will cover GIC 2 and 3. In these levels you'll learn all about aerodynamics and controlling the aircraft, first in a classroom, then taking control and practising what you've learned in the air. After you've completed the course, you'll be awarded a GIC certificate.

You've done your Gliding Induction Course (GIC), so what's next? Getting your Gliding Scholarship Wings. This course gets you deeper into flying and gives you more flight time. It's open to anyone over 16 and you're not required to have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it's great if you have.


Whatever level you are as a cadet, you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills and drills.  Marksmanship goes a long way back in the history of Air Cadets and is one of our most popular activities. Think you can concentrate on distant targets and fire with consistent accuracy? It's not easy. It requires focus, agility and a very steady hand.

We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Firing is always done lying on your stomach (the prone position) at static targets. Progress through the course and you'll experience different types of weapons and could even take part in shooting competitions if you really prove your skills.

Ranges come in different shapes and sizes but all are in controlled conditions with full training on any weapon that you handle - safety is our top priority. To start with you'll be firing at targets that are fairly close - around 25m away. As you advance through weapons and your skill builds, you will fire at targets 100m or more away.

Leadership Training

As you become more experienced as a cadet you'll take on extra responsibilities and have further opportunities to develop your self-confidence and leadership skills. All CCF (RAF) cadets take part in command tasks, fieldcraft, drill and other exercises designed to develop teamwork and leadership.  Formal leadership training is provided at the following three levels - they'll test your mettle but this is where you can really get noticed!

Contingent Leadership Courses -  Most Contingents run their own short internal leadership courses for older cadets, aimed at training potential Junior NCOs (Corporals) and Senior NCOs (Sergeants and above). This will sort out the natural leaders and if that includes you, you could improve your rank.  These may be single service led or run jointly across all the sections in the Contingent. Cadet Leadership Courses? - There are three sets of Cadet Leadership Courses, which are aimed at 16 and 17 year olds. Each course lasts a week and ends with the award of the Cadet Leadership Badge if completed. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) runs three courses over the Easter period at Nesscliff in Shropshire and three courses in July at Frimley Park in Surrey. Sea Cadets also take part along with Army Cadets, so be ready for some serious competition! The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) runs an Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell each July which is open to air cadets from both the CCF and the ATC.

The Air Cadet Junior Leaders Course - Not for the faint-hearted, the Junior Leaders Course is physically demanding and requires real commitment and determination. The course, which runs from September to Easter, involves nine weekend training camps and an assessment week. A big step up from the Cadet Leadership Courses, the Junior Leaders Course is aimed at older cadets - you must be 17 or older in the year you begin the course. It's also open to Sea Cadets and Army Cadets and culminates in the award of a Level Two Certificate in Team Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This is the toughest but most rewarding of our leadership courses - make it through and you'll have the makings of a very successful leader.

The challenge of teamwork and leadership is the ultimate test for a cadet and could be the greatest achievement of your time with us. If you aspire to be the best, we'll help you achieve it.

Further details can be found on CCF Promotion and Leadership page.

BTECs (Public Services and Aviation Studies)

BTECs are always popular and a widely recognised qualification - more than 4,000 cadets have registered for the First Diploma in Public Services and over 6,000 have signed up for the First Diploma in Aviation Studies.  BTECs can enhance a CV or university application as they show your ability to work and pursue goals to a nationally recognised level in your own time.


Whatever level you are as a cadet, you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills, and one of these is field craft.

Everyone gets excited about fieldcraft. But what is it? Put simply, it's the skills you need to survive and navigate yourself around outdoors, in unfamiliar places. It means sorting food, shelter, protection from the weather and getting from A to B as quickly and effectively as you can.  Some Air Cadets may have the opportunity to join Army cadets in their exercises.

This is where Air Cadet training gets closer to what RAF personnel do in their training. The principle is the same - think on your feet, adapt to your situation and work to your team's strengths.

Parade and Drill

What's the point of drill and parade? You may think it doesn't have much to do with things like adventurous training, or leadership. That's not the case at all! It shows how disciplined and organised you can be as an individual, remembering instructions and carrying them out accurately. More importantly, it shows your ability to work in a team and is a way of displaying the high standards of dress and behaviour which air cadets are renowned for.

When a group of twenty cadets walk on to a parade square they are all individuals, but as soon as a session of drill begins the cadets become a team, following the orders given by one person. Instead of twenty individual feet hitting the ground, there is only one sound. This is the result of practice and teamwork.

Drill is also used when you are moving around in large groups in a smart, orderly fashion. Whatever the reason for a drill it's an impressive sight and shows civilians and members of the Forces just how well disciplined you are.

With a few years experience, and if you've attained a Non-Commissioned Officer rank, you could pass on your knowledge and experience to other cadets, instructing them on how to participate in a drill squad, taking charge of a drill squad yourself, or even playing a major part in ceremonial drill.

Aviation Studies

The ACO is an air-minded organisation, and as such all CCF RAF cadets get to study how airfields are run and the principles of flight as part of an engaging aviation studies syllabus that can form part of a BTEC as well as bringing some school subjects to life with practical examples.  You’ll find out how planes fly, how to navigate in the air, and learn your way around a modern airfield.  For more information about aviation studies and the topics covered, please see the CCF RAF syllabus.

Other Activities

Like the other sections the CCF RAF do:

  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
  • Map and Compass Training
  • First Aid Training