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As part of a previous initiative to raise standards in London secondary schools, a small number of host independent schools with an established combined cadet force (CCF) formed partnerships with local state schools to enable more young people to participate in cadet activities. One of these host schools was the City of London School in central London. It already had links with St Thomas the Apostle School in the London Borough of Southwark and at the beginning of 2009 a small number of pupils began attending as cadets at City of London School parades.
Over time the number of cadets from St Thomas the Apostle increased and by April 2010 their cadets provided their own marching squad at the unit's formal inspection. Today, the contingent continues to go from strength to strength with St Thomas the Apostle now parading 32 cadets and two adult volunteers.
This April, representatives from both schools attended a joint Department for Education/Ministry of Defence Cadet Units in Schools event, attended by the Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP, Minister for Defence, Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, and Dr Elizabeth Sidwell CBE, the Schools Commissioner. A young cadet from St Thomas the Apostle stood in front of an audience of headteachers and senior military officers and confidently delivered a short address on how being a cadet had increased his confidence and made a difference to his life.
In March 2008, the Principal of Havelock Academy, a newly-constituted academy in Grimsby, contacted the Ministry of Defence to ask for a CCF in his school. As a first step towards that aspiration it was agreed that Uppingham School would host a CCF partnership with Havelock. Although the schools were quite a distance apart, geographically, they already enjoyed existing sporting and academic links and a CCF partnership was a natural progression.
Both principals were fully behind the partnership and Havelock’s sponsor arranged for the building of cadet facilities as part of the academy’s wider new build. Over the past 4 years, the partnership blossomed, with the number of Havelock cadets increasing significantly, and, on 1 April 2012, it stood up on its own and became the latest CCF contingent in the UK.
A significant part of the success of this partnership was Havelock’s recruitment of three ex-army warrant officers as house masters to look after the welfare and pastoral care of pupils. These veterans joined the cadet partnership as adult volunteers, bringing an unprecedented level of military experience into a fledgling partnership.
A quote from the principal of Havelock Academy:
Some pupils who have become a part of the CCF have challenging personal issues, yet have embraced the discipline and structure offered within the unit. The CCF can provide children the opportunities to develop their self-esteem and confidence, making them feel a part of a team and, hopefully, helping them to channel their issues in a positive light, both within the cadet force, throughout the school and beyond, into their daily lives.