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Last week, pupils in our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) provided ceremonial support for Highgate’s Remembrance events, an important occasion in their busy year-round schedule.

As one of Highgate’s longest running co-curricular provisions, the CCF Army Contingent meets weekly to participate in a huge range of exciting and adventurous military themed activities. This long tradition at Highgate began as the ‘Volunteer Cadet Corps’ in 1892 (pictured right), being renamed in 1906 to the ‘Officers’ Training Corps’ and evolving again in 1948 to become the Combined Cadet Force we know today.

The current Sergeant Major, Y13 pupil Wren (pictured left), who joined CCF in in Y9 during his first few weeks at Highgate, explains: “Remembrance Day parades are one of the most important times of the year for senior cadets like myself, it’s a huge honour and responsibility to be an integral part of such an important event. Having had family members serve in conflicts such as the first and second world war I find it crucial to remember that millions gave their lives so we can live how we do today.”

Lieutenant D Stirling who heads up CCF at Highgate, explains: “CCF is based on the ethos of the Armed Forces, with a focus on helping young people develop the life skills and self-confidence to take charge of their lives so they can reach their full potential at school and beyond, including the world of work. It encourages the development of initiative, responsibility, confidence and assertiveness.”

Cadets follow a syllabus called the Army Proficiency Certificate (APC) which gets more challenging after passing each star level. APC is designed to be more practical, rather than classroom based, with a range of skills training within the areas of Fieldcraft, Drill, First Aid and Community activities. Members of CCF in Sixth Form can enrol on BTEC Public Services Level 2 National Diploma, equivalent to 4 GCSEs.

Wren enthuses: “The CCF, in my opinion, is one of the best pieces of extra-curricular on offer at Highgate. It teaches valuable life skills such as first aid and leadership along with a huge range of activities from shooting to orienteering. My highlights would without a doubt be the trips!”

Cadets are able to apply for additional courses with the CCF with other cadets from all around the country. These courses range from skiing qualifications to advanced leadership courses or learning how to repair and recover tanks and Land Rovers.”

“Overall, being part of the CCF is a great experience and I can recommend it without a second thought.”

Highgate Cadets at the 2022 Act of Remembrance