Establishing a new unit

This page gives schools the information they need to consider when introducing a cadet force unit in school.

Expressions of interest

Following the success of the Cadet Expansion Programme the CCF has reached its capacity.  We now have a growing waiting list of schools still wishing to join and we are operationg a; one out, one in policy to ensure we continue to provide appropriate support to CCF Contingents.  However, If you are interested in joining and are prepared to wait for a place we will be happy to hear from you, please contact our team at –


Schools that have set up cadet units have seen significant benefits for their young people, their schools and the local community. Cadet units in schools help give young people the life skills and self-confidence to take charge of their lives so they can reach their full potential at school and beyond, including in employment. All pupils whatever their background or circumstances should have access to this opportunity.

There are two main options:

  • A new unit set up by a school from scratch,
  • A partnership unit - school partners a neighbouring school with an existing cadet force unit

For both models the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will provide:

  • Uniforms and equipment.
  • Briefings for school senior management teams.
  • Access to:
    • training support personnel;
    • military training areas;
    • the MOD cadet camp and course programme;
    • military-themed events.

New cadet units

New cadet units will require the active commitment from the Headteacher and full Governing Body. They must be fully committed and enter into a memorandum of understanding, so the school makes a firm commitment to supplying cadet force adult volunteers, providing suitable facilities and giving volunteers and cadets leave to attend activities that take place during school hours

Partnership units

Some schools with strong, existing cadet units have opened their units to other pupils or one or more partner schools. There are several models that can be used. Some partners send cadets and adult volunteers to the host school for activities, while, in others, the host school sends unit staff and (in some cases) senior cadets to the partner school to support the new cadet unit. MOD has a flexible and pragmatic approach to the way that partnerships operate. Partner schools must identify sufficient funds to sustain the new unit, but must also identify sufficient adult volunteers to allow the host school to expand provision safely. 

Adult volunteers

For any new cadet partnership or unit, the school will need to recruit sufficient adult volunteers to run it. These units will require at least two volunteers with an overall ratio not greater than one adult per 30 young people, and will require both male and female volunteers at mixed schools. Volunteers wear uniforms, but do not need any form of military experience – just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn new skills. As well as being a very rewarding experience, volunteering with a cadet unit can lead to fully-accredited qualifications in a wide range of activities and disciplines..


The school will need to provide:

  • Funding – dependent on the number of cadets.
  • The Headteacher and full Governing Body’s agreement to having a cadet unit in school.
  • Full governing body commitment to sustaining the unit for at least 5 years to allow at least 1 cohort to complete the full cadet experience
  • Employ a non-teaching member of staff to provide administrative support to the contingent along side other school duties
  • Sufficient adult volunteers who will need:
    • time off for training courses;
    • time to prepare for cadet training.
  •  Access to stores, offices and other school areas (e.g. halls, classrooms).
  • Time off for adults and cadets for activities held off site (e.g. annual camps).

Support the programme

If your company is interesting in supporting this charitable programme, get in touch with Faye Meakin, Cadet Bursary Fund Programme Manager at the Combined Cadet Force Association, or read more about whycadet units in state schools are so important.