CEP school branches out by itself

Posted on July 03, 2018

Beccles Free School Royal Marine Cadets

Army Cadets at the Beccles School Combined Cadet Force (CCF) unit have swopped their Army cap badges for Royal Marines badges, marking a new era for the cadets and the school.

Being affiliated with the Royal Marines means they can continue with greenfield activities they’ve trained for with the Army Cadet programme, and now they’ll also incorporate sea-faring activities and other specialised training.

Fifteen cadets joined the unit when it was formed in 2014 as part of the government’s incentive to bring cadet forces to 500 state-funded schools by 2020. At the time, the new unit benefited from the experience of the Woodbridge School, which runs one of the oldest CCF units in the country, by setting up in a partnership agreement. Now the CCF unit is ready to go it alone and has ambitiously gained the official seal of approval to train as Royal Marines Cadets.

Shane Daley – Marine Society Sea Cadets Development officer said: “Becoming SCC Royal Marine Cadets continues the ‘green theme’ of Beccles Free School initial CCF (Army) partnership with Woodbridge School. In addition to the fantastic boating and sea-related training opportunities of the SCC, Royal Marine Cadets also train in the traditional fieldcraft and army style related skills of their parent service, The Royal Marines.”

Detachment Commander, 2nd Lt Felicity McAlindon is a Community Volunteer and an active member of ‘Friends of Beccles,’ raising funds for Beccles Free School and local charities. She said: “I wholeheartedly believe in the life enhancing opportunities available to students through their cadet experience. I am grateful for the support of Woodbridge CCF and their staff in getting us started. I am very excited about our continuing journey under the Cadet Expansion Programme.”

Headteacher, Mr Nigel Youngman, said: “I've personally witnessed the benefits to the students through the marvellous opportunity gifted to them by membership of the school's own cadet unit.”

Lt Cdr (SCC) Joe Meadows RNR, Officer Commanding Sea Cadet Unit 554, ‘TS Brave’ said: “Our Sea Cadet Corps Royal Marines programme will deliver training to the cadets that will continue to develop their self-discipline, leadership, teamwork and resilience.”

Andy Bovingdon, the School Cadet Expansion Officer for East Anglia, who brokered the original Cadet Expansion Programme Partnership with Woodbridge CCF and facilitated the conversion to a Royial Marines Cadet unit, said: “One of the Beccles Free School Cadets summed up the joy of belonging to the Cadet Forces, telling me, ‘I’ve been a cadet at Beccles since the beginning, it's one of the best things I’ve done in my life, the training is awesome!’”

Andy added: “Schools with cadet units, like Beccles, tell me they see benefits that go beyond the unit, propagate throughout the school and into the community. I wholeheartedly believe in the huge experiential learning advantages of the Cadet Forces for young people, equipping them with life skills that will better prepare them for life beyond school. It's a fun, practical and challenging personal development programme which extends their boundaries to be the best that they can be.” 

Andy has helped schools across East Anglia to set up their own CCF units. In some instances, he has helped schools to partner with existing cadet units nearby like Beccles and in others to be standalone independent units from the outset.

Any school wishing to express an interest in setting up a Combined Cadet Force should contact Andy at the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for east Anglia on 01245 244800 or ea-sceo@rfca.mod.u