Newcastle-under-Lyme School CCF is one of over 250 School based Contingents. The CCF is a youth organisation that is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. Its aim is to enable young people to develop new skills, including leadership, and to give them an insight into the armed forces.
Whilst cadets wear military uniform, they are not members of the armed forces. Officers, who are mostly members of the staff of the schools, hold reserve commissions and appointments.
The Contingent at the school was formed in 1910 as an Officers Training Corps (OTC) for Army cadets. After the Second World War the CCF replaced the OTC. At Newcastle there was initially only an Army section. However by 1967 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force sections had been formed. Today the Contingent is one of the few in the West Midlands to be composed of all three sections.
Pupils can join the CCF at the start of Year 9. After a probationary half term they then opt to join one section for the rest of the year. Many cadets then choose to remain in Year 10 and beyond. In Year 11 a leadership course is run which is the first step to promotion. In the Sixth Form many cadets undertake a BTEC CVQ course in Public Services which is based on the activities they undertake in their section. Sixth form cadets provide the NCOs who undertake much of the training of the cadets.
CCF training has a common core in all three sections. This includes drill and turnout, map and compass and shooting. Each service has its own proficiency syllabus which cadets follow in years 9 to 11. This is supplemented by activities such as adventure training, command tasks, obstacle course training, sailing, flying and gliding. Training takes place after school on Friday afternoons, on termly Field Days and at weekends. In addition all sections attend an Annual Camp each summer. This is the highlight of the year. Usually a week in length the Camps give the cadets the opportunity to put into practice the skills they have acquired during the year. Much of the training here is carried out by regular personnel from cadet training and liaison teams.
The CCF is not a recruiting organisation. However their membership has encouraged some cadets to join the regular forces. At present there are ex cadets in all three services. Their appointments range from high level MOD policy, active service in Afghanistan and the Gulf to undertaking their basic training at the start of their career. At the annual CCF dinner in February a number of ex cadets are always in attendance including some serving in the regular and reserve forces.