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Folkestone Academy Launches Combined Cadet Force to Instil Notion of Service

Top military brass gathered in Folkestone Academy today to celebrate the launch of Folkestone Academy’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF).

Folkestone Academy is the only school in Shepway to have CCF and the cadets marked the occasion with a formal parade in front of VIPs and parents. Also in attendance was the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Brigadier Trevor Minter; Lieutenant Colonel Peter Ellis, Head of Cadets and Youth for the South East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association; Major Rodney Gray, Brigade Commander of the Cadet Training Team; and the Mayor of Folkestone, Councillor Ann Berry.

The Academy’s CCF has launched with 31 army cadets in Years 8, 9 and 10, with a waiting list of 10.  Students take part in CCF on Thursdays, and begin the day with morning inspection of uniform at 8.50 before they attend morning lessons. After school, the students learn basic marching drill and the ethos of being a Cadet.

Dr Jo Saxton, CEO of Turner Schools said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Folkestone Academy is launching the first CCF in a Shepway school today, and I am especially pleased to have Deputy Lord Lieutenant Trevor Minter OBE with us – a former Brigadier, who is Keeper of Dover Castle and Founding Trustee of Folkestone Academy. There is a proud military tradition here in Folkstone with the Royal Engineers and Royal Gurka Rifles, so it is only fitting that we honour that heritage, giving our young people the opportunity to develop the skills and discipline that run deep in the Forces.”

Paul Shilling, Contingent Commander at Folkestone Academy said:

“It has been a long process to get where we are today – nearly two years from application to staff training to recruiting cadets. Very often schools try and run before they can walk but we have taken our time to make sure we come out on top. I feel a great sense of achievement seeing our pupils in uniform and each of them taking pride of wearing it. I also think that in a few years' time we can achieve the status of being the biggest CCF within Kent. A bold statement, but something we think is achievable.”

Samantha Tipler, Year 10:

“The army has always been an interest of mine and I haven’t had the opportunity to get involved before so I wanted to join. I will gain discipline: it is like a family and will teach me teamwork and how to work on my own too. When we go out into the world of work we will find it easier to work as a team, listen to others and think outside the box. I am looking forward to the camping weekends and the summer camp and meeting other cadet forces.”

Jack Elliot, Year 10

“I signed up as it will give me a sense of whether I would consider joining the forces for my career. We have been doing drills and I am looking forward to doing a greater variety of things such as camping. We are going to be learning how to act in different scenarios, how to present yourself and talk respectfully to people. We’ll also be learning leadership skills. I think that employers will like that we have had different experiences and have learnt to work in a team and to be a leader.”

Brad Elliot, Year 10:

“I think it will open doors when I get older, whether that is in the military or not.  It helps you develop listening skills and team work … I’ve also learnt to iron much better too!”