In June 2012 the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister announced the Government’s Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP) to increase the number of state funded schools with their own cadet force unit. The programme has been given £10.85 million by the Department for Education (DfE) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) so that more young people can benefit from the cadet experience in school, and to increase in the number of state schools benefiting from having a cadet force as part of school life.
The CEP is part of the Government’s aim of promoting military ethos in schools; to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country. This means pupils developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience which will help them achieve excellence and shape their own future. The programme focuses on Combined Cadet Force units ensuring that as many pupils from a state school have the chance to experience the life-enriching activities of military cadets as part of school life – this mirrors the military activity offered in many of the best independent schools in the country.
The programme has reached its target of 100 new schools. The milestone was reached at the end of March 2015, 6 months ahead of its September deadline.
Some of the ‘early adopters’ of the scheme have been established for nearly a year, and there are a number of pioneering schools in the North West. The Albion Academy have nearly a full year of cadet activities under their belt, as have the King’s Leadership Academy in Warrington. Other schools have started to deliver or are gearing up for their first parades at the start of the next academic year.
In addition, there are 13 schools from the region out of 90 nationally who are still keen to achieve integration into the programme. Those schools that are good candidates face the frustration of waiting to see if the scheme is to be extended and, if so, under what conditions.