The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) programme is split into Army, Royal Marines and Royal Navy sections and is invaluable in helping students gain self-discipline and learn to work together in a team to achieve objectives. The aim of the programme is to provide students with something completely different from what they are used to. There is also the opportunity for students to take formal qualifications, such as sailing qualifications, within their particular specialism.
The students involved in the programme wear uniform and march, which ties in with the ceremonial traditions of the school, and the programme is designed to make the pupils better citizens and give them the chance to do something different to what they usually do.
There are around 220 students involved in the CCF – approximately 140 in the Army section, 55 in the Marines and 20 in the Royal Navy – with the programme compulsory for all students in Form 4. The CCF is compulsory for students in Form 5 during their first two terms, after which it is a voluntary activity, and Sixth Formers can choose to continue in the CCF as a voluntary activity also.
As an activity, it takes place once a week on Thursday afternoons with those in the Royal Navy able to do nautical boating and work towards sailing qualifications, Marines taking part in fieldcraft and shooting, and the Army engaging in field work and soldiering.
The CCF organises a Field Day each term where students go to a military unit, such as HMS Raleigh, Bramley, Longmoor and Bisley, to do training with Royal Navy or Army personnel and use their facilities.
Pupils are given ranks, such as Lance Corporal, and this helps build their self-discipline and moral courage.
The programme is an MOD-funded and sponsored activity and students are able to go on courses, summer camps and mountain bike trips, while there are many opportunities to gain qualifications in areas such as diving and sailing.
The College has a partnership through the CCF with Denefield Academy and Luckley House, whose students join the Pangbourne CCF for weekly activities and field days.