The Combined Cadet Force at Rugby School was formed in 1860 and to this day plays an important part in the life of the School. Although it runs primarily on Thursday afternoons, there are at least two activity days each year that may involve overnight camps. The cadets make good use of the School’s extensive grounds up at Springhill, but many activities take place off site such as live round firing, obstacle courses, sailing and climbing. In addition, cadets can pursue the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, initially by attending the annual week-long camp during the Easter break for the E-Block.
While the CCF is run along military lines it is not a precursor to military service or seen as a promotional organisation for the regular army. What is provided is an environment and focus whereby our pupils can acquire leadership skills, team working capabilities and camaraderie through discipline, service and adventurous activities. Pupils usually enter in the E Block (Year 10), after passing a short trial at the end of the F Block (Year 9), and sign up initially for two years. Some of our senior cadets stay for four years and it is also possible to join in the D Block (Year 11) or LXX (Lower Sixth).
All cadets undergo a rigorous first term of training where they learn a variety of essential skills such as weapon handling and camp craft. All lessons are taken by more senior cadets who have worked their way up through a structured hierarchy. This enables the better cadets to lead sections of up to eight cadets or platoons of three sections in the full range of CCF activities. Senior cadets will be responsible for much of the training of their younger peers.
Towards the end of their first term cadets have the choice of three branches of the CCF. These are the Army, the RAF and the Royal Marines. Each section has its own proud history and set of traditions. The Army make up the bulk of the contingent and are affiliated to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Those cadets joining the RAF get the chance to fly during their time here and the Royal Marines provide an opportunity for the more physically minded to prove themselves and enter the prestigious Pringle Competition.
Whichever area the cadets choose they are sure to have some exhilarating experiences and most have great pride in what they do. Above all, the CCF is what the cadets make it.