Birkenhead High School Academy held their formal Inauguration and Banner Blessing Ceremony on Wednesday the 16th of January within their school theatre to launch their Combined Cadet Force Contingent in front of parents, single service representatives and other dignitaries, including the Mayor, Councillor Geoffrey Watt.
The school was approved to form a Combined Cadet Force Contingent under the joint Department for Education and Ministry of Defence Cadet Expansion Programme in May 2018 and since then the school have been working towards beginning parading, through the recruitment of staff volunteers, training and recruitment of over 50 cadets. Birkenhead High School Academy joins 24 other schools in the North West that have begun parading since 2012 when the expansion programme started.
The service was led by Army Padre, Andy Earl following a welcome from the school’s principal Mrs Mahony, who said “The formation of this cadet unit is very special to us, it promotes the leadership that we are striving to develop in our girls. Our unit is one of very few all girls units that are in existence in the UK and this is something to be very proud of.”
The Contingent Commander, Dr. Barry Nelson thanked all those that attended the event and said how excited he was to start the CCF within the school and how being in cadets was something that had given him some of his best memories as a young person and hoped that the new cadets will take every opportunity to make the most of the time they have in the unit.
The cadets will now begin a wide array of training delivered by their Adult Volunteers, supported by the Cadet Training Team and 208 Field Hospital, to whom the unit will be affiliated.
The new banners, had been funded by The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for the North West of England and the Isle of Man and the Schools Cadet Expansion Officer, Flight Lieutenant Jez Kent was in attendance to see the dedication of the Banners. He said “It is a privilege to see the dedication of the banners and the inauguration of the unit and it marks a key milestone in the establishment of the Combined Cadets Force within the school”.
He added “The North West has been a hotspot for the Cadet Expansion Programme and Birkenhead High School Academy is one of 34 new units approved since 2012. I look forward to seeing how the unit grows and succeeds over the coming months and years”.
For more information on the Cadet Expansion Programme, see here.