Repton operates a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Contingent of 200+ Personnel. The CCF is a nationwide, military, disciplined, youth organisation involving 50,000 Cadets and Officers- we are part of a larger family, with long traditions, and we offer a uniquely valuable experience for pupils, in a partnership between the School and the Armed Services. The CCF aims to develop powers of leadership, responsibility, self reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance in the young men and women who take part in its actions. It also aims to encourage pupils to understand something of the values, traditions and functions of the Armed Services. The CCF uses a variety of military and adventurous training activities to meet these aims.
At Repton, parade is on Wednesday afternoons. We have some excellent facilities, for example an indoor 0.22 rifle range, a climbing wall, use of Pears School tower, the pool for watermanship training, extensive grounds, the Old Trent for rafting. Our most important assets are, of course, the people who run the activities. Captain JC Wadsworth, (late of 7 Para RHA), is the School Staff Instructor (SSI) and is the linchpin of the Contingent, giving training and advice in every area to us all, drawn from his extensive military experience. The Contingent Commander has two Section Commanders (i.e. Army and RAF Sections), who in turn have Commissioned Officers (our own teaching staff volunteers who hold the Queen’s Commission as CCF reservists), and Cadet NCOs (our own sixth-form volunteer pupils), as well as civilian assistants (other volunteer teachers). These teams lead the training activities for the A Block cadets. We receive weekly support from regular Army and RAF personnel.
At Repton all pupils join the CCF in A Block, joining either the Army or RAF section for a year’s basic training. The programme includes: weapon training, rifle shooting, foot drill, military fieldcraft, physical obstacle course training, map/compass navigation, camp craft, first aid, climbing, abseiling, kayaking, rafting, sailing, team dynamics- all undertaken in a disciplined, structured and highly enjoyable framework. The CCF is the School’s provider of Outdoor Education, and offers superb opportunities for everything from climbing, mountain biking, kayak, sailing, to orienteering and marksmanship awards – the limit really is a pupil’s initiative and willpower. All activities are run by qualified and experienced staff. The RAF section cadets have regular opportunities to fly, the option to glide, and our pupils regularly gain Sixth Form and Gliding Scholarships from the RAF.
All A Block Cadets are required to attend either the Annual Camp (Army or RAF) at the beginning of the summer holidays, or an Adventurous Training week at the start of the Easter holidays- these are outside of term but have long been an outstanding shared experience of generations of Reptonians- parental support is expected.
After A Block, continued membership of the CCF is voluntary – it is testament both to the quality of Repton pupils and to the experiences on offer, that so many take up the challenge. In O Block, Cadets undertake Advanced Military training, and then Method of Instruction Cadre. It is eminently possible to do the DofE Silver and Gold award, as a CCF Cadet. (If pupils choose to leave the CCF, their second option is to join the civilian Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Wednesday training sessions. A third option, for those not drawn to either CCF or DofE, is the school-run Skills and Service activity).
In the Sixth Form the pupils volunteer as a cadet NCO and it is in the CCF where many of the pupils are first able to experience being responsible for, and leading, younger pupils.
Every year at the end of the Lent Term CCF run competitions for all the pupils involved in the CCF and Duke of Edinburgh Schemes. The commitment, enthusiasm and team spirit that show through reinforce the benefits of the CCF. In alternate years the Contingent is inspected by the military, and a report given- the Biennial Inspection day is an opportunity for Cadets to demonstrate their skills.
The CCF gives the pupils an experience that they would not get elsewhere in the School: many are surprised by the enjoyment and satisfaction that they have gained from participating in an activity that they would not otherwise have considered. I commend it to you.
J C Wadsworth