In the RAF section we strive to give the cadets the best experience of being in the CCF: the sky is the limit!
As cadets enter the RAF they learn the basics about drill and dress. The cap badge worn by RAF cadets is the same as that worn by service men and women, therefore it and the uniform that accompanies it must be worn with pride. Upon entry in the Third Form they will be assigned one of three flights: Typhoon; Harrier or Spitfire, all competing for the title of 'Best Flight' in the Summer Term. They will all be judged regularly on turnout as well as the different training syllabuses they complete.
So what typically goes on in the RAF section?
By the end of Lent Term all Third Form cadets should have passed their Part I test, which encompasses basic aviation knowledge, including details about the Grob Tutor – the aircraft in which they can learn to fly, for free! Most cadets will say it is the aerobatics that are best. We occasionally have a Chinook land on our playing fields and cadets are given a different view of the School and surroundings as they take to the sky!
In addition, cadets learn all of the field-craft skills the Army does, such as camping out with just a canvas for a tent; surviving on a ration pack; camouflage and patrolling. It is also the aim for RAF cadets to pass the basic weapons-handling test so that they are eligible, if they wish and are good enough, to shoot for the School team.
In the Fourth Form the cadets will further their knowledge of life in the RAF and complete their Part II test, encompassing airfields and aircraft recognition, to mention two. It is in the Fourth Form that we will give those cadets who have shown an interest a chance to attend one of two cadres available in the South East region; suggesting their suitability to become a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), giving them the chance to lead their flight. On top of the hard work they are given the opportunity to fly, either in the powered Grob Tutor, or in one of the gliders at a local RAF base.
Upon completion of their Part II tests, cadets will be further trained in leadership, each being given the reins when it comes to inter-flight competitions such as Command Tasks and Drill. It is in the Fifth Form that we encourage the cadets to complete the next level in their leadership training. If they have completed these successfully one or two may be invited to attend the Air Cadet Leadership Course (ACLC), which is the top leadership course offered to cadets by the RAF. This happens over the summer and they will be expected to come back and impart their knowledge to the younger years, leading to becoming head of section in the Upper Sixth Form.
The Sixth Form have always been looked up to by the younger members of the RAF and, as such, our returning cadets will all gain promotion to at least Lance Corporal and be expected to turn out regularly with a high standard of deportment,ready to lead the troops through to the next level of their training. They are an invaluable link between the cadets and adult staff.
And finally, as cadets move through the section, their level of proficiency increases and their knowledge broadens with further development of communications, first aid and leadership skills.
There are several camps held each year, including an annual camp in the summer based at a station in the UK. Here cadets have the opportunity to meet cadets from different schools, participating in activities outside the norm, for no fee whatsoever. There are also camps available in Cyprus and Germany, sometimes even America or South Africa!
A team from the section regularly participates in the Ground Training Competition against other RAF sections. Here they will have the opportunity to prove their fitness levels, shooting skills, aircraft recognition, first aid and drill. As a senior cadet in the RAF the possibilities are boundless; there are navigating, gliding and flying scholarships, leading to cadets being able to display the highly-coveted wings emblem on their jumpers.