September 2014 was not only the start of the new academic year but also the start of the Academies very own Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Normally only private schools have the cadet force as part of the curriculum however the government has given the opportunity for 100 state schools to have their own CCF and the government are fully supporting this with hopes that a change like this can encourage students and give them a more diverse experience of education.
The academies contingent is currently 30 strong with 15 male cadets and 15 female cadets. However as part of the agreement with the MoD will be expanding next year to 50 cadets and more the following year, this will be closely monitored by the MoD and the government. Staff wise the contingent is currently commanded by the Contingent Commander Mrs Deborah Lagdon, an academy English teacher with no previous military experience however has attended lots a various courses to be given a military commission. She is fully enjoying her new extra role within the school. Mr Nolan White is also a commissioned officer and the contingent is also helped each week by an extremely keen and very helpful cover supervisor Mr Jonathon Clarke who has contributed massively to the contingent and has mucked in at every possible chance. The academy also employed for the new CCF a School Staff Instructor (SSI) to assist with the cadet force and also run the outdoor education/D of E award scheme which like the cadets is coming in to place.
It is still very early days for the Dukeries academy CCF and after speaking to other schools/academies it’s taken them over a year to be in the same position our CCF is. We have already had our contingent used as an “example” of how it should be done, in which members of staff including the vice principal from Kettering Buccleuch Academy travelled up to witness our cadets in action and to look around and discuss how we went about things. Before they left they congratulated us on how well we have done given the limited resources and also how smart, positive and happy our cadets were.
The contingent was also invited by the Royal British Legion to attend the Edwinstowe remembrance parade on Sunday 9th of November a huge honour, and with one of our cadets (James Weaver) carrying the standard and another (Harriet Rhodes) laying the reef the Dukeries Academy CCF couldn’t have asked for more involvement.
During the poppy appeal a number of cadets spent each Saturday morning in Edwinstowe village selling poppies and encouraging donations from the public again gaining huge appreciation from the RBL. A number of cadets (Jacey Peacock, Abigail Ellis, Eden Randall-Ramsdale, Kayleigh Taylor and Guljan Bozdognali) endured all weathers and attended every weekend from start to finish.Since remembrance parade the cadets have been involved in more school based assemblies and activities as well as their own training which takes place every Wednesday afternoon periods 4 and 5. So far they have performed way above expectations and the next activity for them will be a weekend away for more training looking forward towards a competition called The Welbeck challenge which takes place next march and consists of 30 cadet force teams from all over the UK competing in a number of different military activities. This is aimed more towards the Junior cadets as there is a set age limit however we have a large group of Junior cadets that are more than capable and with us only being able to pick 8 makes it very hard for the staff to make a decision.