Combined Cadet Force
The CCF is a voluntary after-school organisation open to boys in Year 9 and above (with application open at the end of a boy’s Year 8 time). It offers a tremendous opportunity to engage in some challenging and exciting activities, and to understand a little more about the armed services.
The CCF is not a military recruiting organisation. Boys (together with girls from Nonsuch, our partner school) join to take advantage of the activities and training that the CCF offers, not specifically to join the army or RAF. The army and RAF provide good links with us, and boys wear the armed services uniform (multi-terrain patterned combat gear) when on parade or at camps.
The main aim of the CCF is to offer cadets a truly enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Our cadets take to the life of CCF very readily, and comment on how much it teaches them in terms of team-work and leadership through the years. Many strong and lasting friendships are formed in CCF and there is no doubt that it is a vibrant and healthy section of the school community.
The activities are a mix of military and adventurous training. Boys learn how to handle weapons safely, can undertake shooting activities, learn about field-craft and survival, and most importantly self-reliance and discipline. RAF cadets also get to undertake flying in both powered Tutor planes, and gliding. Adventurous training includes trekking, kayaking, climbing and mountain biking, and mostly takes place on the main army summer camp.
The parades are held every Tuesday after school, running from 4pm to 5.30pm. Cadets have the opportunity to attend camps in most of the school holidays. Camps are run in both October and February half terms; an adventurous training trek in the Pennines and Lakes is held every Easter; the main CCF camp is held towards the end of the summer term in Activities Week; RAF summer camps are often held at the beginning of the summer holidays; other weekends, such as leadership training in the Cairngorms for the new U6th cadets, are held throughout the year.
We run both an Army and an RAF section at Sutton Grammar, and cadets may join either section. Most of our camps and activities are run jointly, with cadets training together, but some specialist training for each section is also undertaken. For us, the emphasis is very much on this being a Combined Cadet Force.
History and Staffing
The CCF at Sutton Grammar was formed in 1915, partly as a result of the war effort at the time. It has been in continuous existence ever since. The officers who run it used to be teachers from the school who would undertake special training from the armed services in order to do so, and who held military rank. Nowadays the officers are mainly ex-cadets from the school, who come back to help train cadets and organise activities, taking time off from their normal jobs to do so. They all still hold a reserve rank in order to perform their duties and are given training by the army and RAF.
The contingent commander is Wing Commander David Hobbs, himself an Old Boy of the school and former cadet. The main point of contact in school in Squadron Leader Giles Marshall, who teaches History and is Head of Sixth Form. Each year, the officers are assisted by the contingent’s Corporal Major, the head army cadet, and Warrant Officer, the head of the RAF, together with their cadet peers. These cadet leaders shoulder a considerable responsibility, and learn a great deal in the course of their year of leadership.
The CCF is not for everyone, but for those boys who do join we hope that they find they are able to undertake activities and experience challenges that would not otherwise come their way, and that they develop the character that will help them well beyond school.