Fascinating visit to the Combined Cadet Force unit at the Ipswich School. They have about 140 pupils between years 10 and 13 who do this as a Thursday afternoon activity, evenly split between the army and RAF section. It has been operating at the Ipswich school for well over a century.
I have a real interest in the cadet forces as a result of being on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme for the past year. I really believe that the cadet forces provide fantastic experiences for young people and also helps them to gain invaluable skills and confidence which they can take forward into military and civilian life.
It was great to see the cadets enjoying command tasks, and their skills at arms training and shooting. It is all overseen by Squadron Leader Richard Welbourne and a hugely experienced and dedicated staff team including four regulars, and it also benefits from the support of the Royal Anglians and RAF Regiment.
It’s massively encouraging to hear about ambitious plans to expand the ccf to more state schools. This has already started at Westbourne Academy where the army section is in its third year with 75 cadets already signed up. I’m really keen to see the cadet experience rolled out to more schools in Ipswich so more young can benefit and have offered my support on this.