September 17th 2018

Five year success for a Northamptonshire CCF

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The CCF Contingent during their Annual Camp at Warcop in 2017

A Combined Cadet Force (CCF) that launched as an independent CCF under the Government’s School Expansion Programme in 2013 is proud to be entering its fifth academic year.

Brooke Weston Trust is a multi-academy trust in Northamptonshire and currently has 70 cadets training each week to develop valuable new personal and team skills.

Brook Weston Trust Northamptonshire CCF article (1)

Brooke Weston Trust CCF Combat Cadet Team 2017

The UK’s Cadet Forces are among the most successful youth organisations in the world, with a long history of developing young people’s team-working skills, confidence levels and ability to solve problems in a practical environment.

In 2012 the Government announced its cadet expansion plan, which aimed to have up to 100 more cadet units in state-funded schools by 2015.

The objective was to allow more state schools to access the cadet experience, resulting in a positive effect on both the young people and the school or academy as a whole.

Brooke Weston Trust CCF began in 2012/13 with a close partnership with Oundle School CCF which provided the ‘parenting’ role, where, during that first year the adult staff underwent familiarisation and preparation training. Academic year 2013/14 saw the first cohort of Brooke Weston Trust cadets parade alongside their counterparts from Oundle School. The experience of partnering with a school such as Oundle proved to be invaluable, with the Brooke Weston Trust CCF granted independence as a ‘solo’ contingent from September 2014.

Since then it has gone from strength to strength with cadets taking part in annual camps at Barry Buddon, Beckingham and Warcop; successfully competing at ‘Combat Cadet’, holding regular Field Training Exercises at the Yardley Chase Training Area and participating in the Sovereign’s  Parade and annual Remembrance parades..

Brooke Weston CCF Contingent Commander, Captain Matt Isherwood, who is also Estates and Facilities Director at the Trust, said: “Our cadet unit provides a stimulating environment of challenging, adventurous activities within the framework of a progressive training structure. We have had a strong focus upon fieldcraft and are confident that this element of the Cadet Syllabus is where the development of our young people as leaders has the steepest trajectory.

Brook Weston Trust Northamptonshire CCF article (2)

Brooke Weston Cadets during the Combat Cadet Fieldcraft exercise

“My fellow officers and I are extremely proud of the progress that our cadets have made with many of them considering joining the military after they complete their studies.”

The contingent at Brooke Weston Trust is an Army section only and students must apply to join and, if successful, they are enrolled for a minimum of two years. The CCF operates as part of the overall curriculum offer.

Capt Isherwood continued: “The CCF provides cadets with opportunities to develop new skills through the use of proven military themed training. Former cadets who have spent a few years training with us now have extra qualifications to put on to their CV.  Their exposure to developmental leadership training has ’lifted their CV to the top of the pile’and once in the job they quickly shine as natural leaders and team players.”

A critical function of any sustainable Contingent is the recruitment and retention of adult staff. Next academic year, the Contingent will induct three new adult staff as they join the cadet movement for the first time. This is coupled with ongoing investment in existing staff through access to courses, qualifications and mentoring from more experienced staff.

Brooke Weston Trust CCF is starting on the next chapter of a 10 year programme. This will entail continued collaboration with local partners; other local Cadet Expansion Programme CCF contingents, the Army’s Cadet Training Team and local Reserve Forces to deliver exciting and challenging field-training-exercises.

The CCF also plans to grow an inter-contingent shooting competition for North-Northamptonshire and seeks to develop opportunities for Adventure Training.


“My fellow officers and I are extremely proud of the progress that our cadets have made with many of them considering joining the military after they complete their studies.”