The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at Shiplake comprises all three service sections; Army, Navy and Royal Air Force. The aim of the youth organisation, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance."
As well as helping pupils to develop these important life skills, involvement with the CCF is enormous fun. Joining the CCF is compulsory for all pupils in Year 10 and optional from Year 11 onwards, with sessions taking place on Tuesday afternoons as part of the Co-Curricular afternoon.
The CCF training programme incorporates a number of activities including physical training, first aid, field-craft, navigation and teamwork drills. Each section undertake a Field Day each term which usually involve an overnight stay followed by a day of military training exercises at host military establishments. These include flying days at nearby RAF Benson, which also invites cadets to attend a week-long training camp at the beginning of the summer holidays. Army cadets make use of the local military training areas while the Navy section make good use of the River Thames and often complete sailing drills at Reading Sailing Centre.
Regular attendance at CCF can help pupils attempting to gain the challenging and coveted Duke of Edinburgh Award, as the skills and activities covered in CCF meet many of the award’s assessment criteria.