The Combined Cadet Force at the City of London Academy Islington was formed in 2012 under the Cadet Expansion Programme. The cadets is voluntary and provides unique opportunities and experiences for students in Year 9 and above.
The CCF is a unique educational partnership that operates in schools across the UK. Through enjoyable military themed and adventurous activities, cadets have the opportunity to take responsibility, develop skills such as leadership, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance. Some contingents have Naval and Air Force sections. However our CCF contingent has only an Army section, of which we promote the aims and values of the service it represents.
The CCF has one of the longest histories of all the cadet forces sponsored by the MOD, dating back to the 1850s. Since the 1950s, however, the CCF has been recognised as a voluntary youth organisation, the aim of which is to provide an opportunity for young people to exercise responsibility and leadership in a disciplined environment.
Today the CCF contingents form a vibrant, inclusive youth organisation for pupils aged between 13 and 18, offering significant developmental opportunities in a unique educational partnership with the schools in which they are based. Through the use of military-orientated and adventurous training, cadets also have the opportunity to develop their sense of responsibility and the qualities of self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance, perseverance and a sense of service to the community. The acquisition of these personal attributes at a formative stage will remain of value throughout the cadets’ lives and will be relevant in whatever career they pursue.
We are incredibly proud of the support we receive from our affiliated Regiment, The Honourable Artillery Company. As well as the support given by the Honourable Artillery Company charity.
The CCF is delighted to announce that our former cadet Regimental Sergeant Major, Kelvin Mustafa, was awarded a DL certificate from Islington’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant. The Deputy Lieutenant is the King’s representative in the Borough of Islington and the certificates are awarded to the young people who volunteer their time freely to participate in extra-curricular activities, and who work with other young people in the Borough. Kelvin’s award represents his tireless commitment to the cadets and to bettering his peers. The award was presented in conjunction with the Mayor of Islington and Kelvin was delighted that his family was available to attend the event to celebrate his achievement. Kelvin, having also achieved excellent A-Level grades at the Academy, has gone on to study Journalism at City, University of London. The contingent is proud to have had such an upstanding cadet within its ranks and we salute Kelvin’s achievement.
As part of the Cadet Basic Training Syllabus, all cadets complete a basic First Aid training course. This covers what to do in an emergency from initial response to specific responses to injury, to CPR. All cadets are expected to have a basic understanding of how to deal with a casualty and it is one of the most satisfying parts of Basic Training. While we hope the cadets will never have to use their training in this way, it is reassuring to know that they can be competent in a casualty situation.
During half term, a current Year 11 cadet, Leon Acord, used his training to save his little brother’s life. When his brother was choking on Lego, Leon calmly went up behind him and started abdominal thrusts, having realised his little brother’s life was at risk from choking. He did this without panic or alarm, relying on his basic training to tell him what to do in this situation. We are delighted to report that he cleared the blockage, and his little brother was able to breathe freely again. After a subsequent assessment from a doctor, he was deemed to be in good health. The family got in touch to express their pride in their son but also to attribute his CCF First Aid training to saving the life of his family member.
Every year, St Paul’s Cathedral holds the National Service of Remembrance with The Commemoration of the Fallen. This special service, televised for the whole country to see, is a part of the National Day of Remembrance and it specifically remembers those who have lived and died in defence of justice and freedom in the service of humankind. Every year a cadet from the COLAI (HAC) CCF is chosen to give a reading at this service. It is an honour to be chosen and a great responsibility. This year, Cadet Derin Ciba, also the winner of our Yager Award for the best cadet from Haine Troop, delivered a reading to over three thousand guests. Cadet Derin Ciba’s reading was positively commented on by all those in attendance, with his clarity and enunciation particularly noted. Cadet Derin Ciba is pictured here with his family who were also in attendance.
We trained at the HAC for the weekend. Haine Troop did skill at arms, learning to safely use the Cadet GP rifle. This will allow them to use the rifle and fire blank on Easter Camp.
Pollard Troop did the Advanced subject of Royal Artillery, learning how to fire the 105mm light gun in a ceremonial role. This also meant the cadets completed their Cadet Advanced Proficiency Certificate.
This camp was the culmination of training for the new Year 9 cadets and their first residential cadet camp. If you remember back to the beginning of December of 2022, it was just as the weather had taken a turn and it became a lot colder. This meant that the camp was glazed with a lovely frost. Despite the frost, it was mild and did not rain, we kept active and suitably warm. We started by doing a round-robin of activities. First was Military Knowledge. We learnt about our sponsor regiment, the Honourable Artillery Company, as well as cadet badges of rank. Next, we refreshed our map and compass skills, learning how to walk on a compass bearing as well as using the length of our strides to measure distance (pacing). After a nice warm lunch in the cookhouse we moved onto Air Rifle skill-at-arms, learning how to safely fire the rifle. Then was the Obstacle course, as a section we travelled over obstacles including a 30ft A-Frame scramble net and an 8-foot wall! After dinner, we put our fresh navigation skills to test, as the evening activity was walking a route, at night, using only our pacings and compass bearings. We did this in our sections. Navigating across the dark countryside with your friends in the moonlight so bright it cast a shadow, was fun. On Sunday we were able to fire the air rifle and were tested on our skills towards the Cadet Basic Proficiency Certificate. We then returned home, exhausted!
The Year 10 cadets (Pollard Troop) completed the assessment for their advanced subject of Engineering. Following training throughout the term, this was a chance to demonstrate our knowledge. On Friday night we made a small model of the project, to use as a reference for the build on Saturday. We made A-frame structures utilising knots and lashings. Attached pulleys to the a-frames and tensioned the structure to create an aerial walk-way. All cadets went over the obstacle, as a confidence check! In the evening we even found time to watch the England vs France football world cup match. All cadets passed their Engineering assessment and earned a new badge to wear on their uniforms.
We were invited for the second time to St Pauls for the launch of the garden of remembrance. We were the group of Army Cadets on parade, alongside Royal Navy and RAF cadets from the City of London School. 6 of our cadets also read prayers in the service. The City Livery companies and Lord Mayor led the service, and spoke with the cadets afterwards. The organisers were grateful for our attendance and gave each cadet a £10 gift card for Greggs bakery, as a token of thanks. For the recently promoted cadet Regimental Sergeant Major, this was the first time they wore their newly issued “Barrack Dress” uniform, as ever, their turnout was immaculate.
The lady Mayoress of Islington invited the contingent to join her acknowledgment of Armistice day from the Town Hall. A small number of cadets attended, alongside members of the Honourable Artillery Company, our sponsor regiment, and Islington’s veteran community.
We attended the Lord Mayors Show, with 50 cadets parading as a part of the HAC entry. The CCF were formed just behind the “rank and file” marching detachment of the HAC. Marching the route is quite long, however you stop at the half-way point for some lunch. But with so much support from the public who line the roads, it is a wonderful experience.
The contingent turned out in large numbers for Remembrance Sunday, enabling us to pay our respects at Islington Green in the heart of our borough, and at Spa Green the home of the HAC memorial.
This also gave Cadet Officers an opportunity to proudly wear their recently presented Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. The contingent was commanded by our RSM, keeping the cadets in step.
A COLAI Cadet was selected to read a lesson at St Pauls during the Remembrance Sunday service, representing the youth of today. They were also able to bring their family, who were given reserved seats in the front rows. They spoke clearly and with confidence, in turn we received many positive comments about “that wonderful cadet from the Academy”.
HAC Exercise Sixth formers were invited to visit a training exercise ran by 3 Squadron, HAC, a sub-unit of our sponsor Regiment. 4x cadets attended, seeing training serials including anti-ambush drills, vehicle contact drills and section attacks. The cadets also got the opportunity to fire blank rounds, participating in some serials as the enemy force. Despite the cold weather, it was an enjoyable day.
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