The Officer Training Corps at St Albans School was founded in 1902. This evolved into the Combined Cadet Force in the 1940s and is currently a Friday afternoon optional activity for all Sixth Formers and an after-school activity for Third, Fourth and Fifth Years. The CCF is made up of an army section (dating back to 1902) and an RAF section (dating back to the 1930s). There are over 200 cadets in the Corps. In 2009, the army section rebadged from the Royal Engineers to the Coldstream Guards, although it retains a section of RE cadets.
The aim of the CCF is to develop leadership and teamwork through a range of military and adventurous training. The CCF is led and overseen by 10 staff, but training is organised and run on a weekly basis by the senior cadets led by the Cadet Under Officer, the Regimental Sergeant Major, the Company Sergeant Major and the Flight Sergeant.
The military training may include fieldcraft, weapons safety, camouflage, first aid, survival skills, .22 shooting (in the CCF range) and tactics. Training often takes place at the school’s Cheapside Farm. All cadets have the opportunity to attend a series of camps and exercises, such as the Winter Camp and the Summer Camp, both of which are held at army training areas and attract over 100 cadets. Every year about ten of the senior cadets attend cadet leadership courses, putting them in an excellent position to help run the Corps.
The RAF cadets work towards their Part One and Part Two certificates while completing Air Experience Flying at local RAF bases. Opportunities exist for leadership courses and gliding scholarships while annual training camps are held in the Spring and Summer holidays.
Adventure Training Exercises are held every year and attract many army and RAF cadets. In recent years, the CCF has spent weeks in Norway and Scotland enjoying the magnificent surroundings and completing training in a series of activities, including: white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountainous trekking & camping, abseiling and go-karting. In 2007 and 2010, cadets spent three weeks on an adventurous training exercise in Tanzania. Cadets raised funds over the preceding year which they spent on renovating local orphanages in Mwanza on Lake Victoria. The exercise then took cadets across the Serengeti, up Mt Kilimanjaro and to the Indian Ocean beaches of Zanzibar. Both were “trips of a lifetime”.
A key part of the CCF is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. All Fifth Year cadets work towards their Silver Awards, with expeditions in the Peak District and Brecon Beacons. Many Sixth Form cadets work towards their Gold Award with expeditions in Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and Dartmoor.
Beyond the formal training, the CCF offers a social element. This includes paintballing trips and social evenings. After the Annual General Inspection in the summer is the Annual CCF Dinner for Sixth Form cadets, while there are also occasional Christmas Dinners hosted by the CCF for Old Albanian cadets.
The CCF offers a tremendous amount to St Albans School students. All students are encouraged to seize as many opportunities as possible.