Looking for a youth group for your child? Want them to learn confidence, teamwork and leadership skills? Or simply want a couple of nights and weekends off!?!
Air Cadets could very well be for you! Have a look around the site for what the cadets get up to. Below though are a list of commonly asked questions you may find useful.
Information for current cadets’ parents
If you would like access to the Squadron Google Drive that contains information on our training programme and useful links for equipment and other information, please request access using your email address.
Note: You can use your current email address to register for a Google Account to access the drive. There is NO NEED to register for a new gmail email address.
Register for access here: https://forms.gle/FZJwqbaehVhk7ttp6
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do cadets need to be?
New cadets can join in the September they enter year 8 at school if they are 12 or over. They can join until they are 17.5, but the younger they join the more opportunities they can take advantage of.
Will they make friends?
Definitely! We run an intake system so all new cadets start as a group. On the first few nights we concentrate on ice breaker exercises, team work and communication – creating bonds early on in their cadet careers.
Will they get shouted at?
No. Unless they’re about to accidentally walk over a cliff or on to a road! Apart from that, we don’t generally shout. We certainly don’t ball in to individuals’ faces like on the movies.
We instill self-discipline in the cadets early on. Cadets learn that they only get out what they put in, so it’s in their interests to join in and co-operate.
Will they get bullied?
The Air Cadets operates a zero tolerance policy towards bullying. Any cadets caught bullying will be disciplined immediately and can be recommended for termination of their cadet career. We step in early when cadets are unkind to others in order to prevent negative behaviours.
My child is gay/trans/disabled/non-white/not a UK citizen/not christian/female… Will they be welcome?
Yes. Absolutely. We are a welcoming organisation and try and cater for all people. Obviously with some medical conditions flying may not be possible, but there’s a wide range of other cadet activities to fill the gaps. Our Squadron is fully accessible for wheelchair users, and we have an accessible bathroom for all visitors.
We have cadets from different religions including Atheists, Christians, and Muslims. We have some dual citizen cadets, and cadets from different ethnic backgrounds. We also have some Autistic cadets, and cadets with ADHD, Asthma, allergies, and other conditions. We have had cadets of different sexualities too.
We encourage cadets to be themselves, and offer an accepting environment within which they can grow in to young adults.
How much does it cost?
Membership is free to start with until a cadet is ‘enrolled’. This is when they get their uniform. This typically happens at around 8 weeks after joining. After this point it costs £10 per month if paid by standing order (as of Sep 2019). Cadets may wish to bring a small amount of change for canteen during break each evening, but this is optional.
As far as activities goes, they are generally pretty heavily subsidised. A week long adventure training camp can cost only £70. That’s £10 per day!
Flying and Gliding is free and paid for by the Royal Air Force, as is shooting and many other activities.
Will they have to join the forces?
No absolutely not. We are a youth organisation. Although we are under control of the RAF and use their facilities there is no obligation to join the forces.
Having said that, many ex-cadets do go on to join the forces and public services. We have ex-cadets in the RAF, British Army, Army Reserves, and the NHS.
When can they start going away on activities?
Many activities such as sports, flying and air base visits can be accessed after enrolment (at approx 8 weeks after joining). Others require them to be First Class cadets. They become first class and ‘pass out’ after approximately 5 months. Some activities have minimum age limits due to insurance, but there are not many of these now.
Won’t it interfere with school?
It shouldn’t do. Many cadets manage to come to Squadron whilst revising. Some do drop down to one night a week instead of two, and some take a period off around exams for study leave. This is expected and normal, and they cannot be penalised for taking exam leave.
We find that staying in contact with the Squadron during exams can be a great stress relief valve for cadets though, so would recommend popping down at least twice a month just to get away from the books and reset their brains.
The staff in consort with our Padre run stress handling sessions in the lead up to revision and exams. (These are non religious sessions. Our Padre is just another staff member that helps out.)
There was an interesting piece of research done by the Department for Education that showed improved academic results for Air Cadets. The share of young people who achieve 5 A*-C grades at GCSE, average child: 55-58%, RAF Air Cadets 69% – a statistically significant difference according to the report.
See the report in full: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-cadet-experience-understanding-cadet-outcomes
Also, the Air Cadets offer BTEC and other awards, including Leadership and Teamwork awards, that are recognised by the RAF. Some courses even attract UCAS points. These are carried out on Squadron, with some of them being gained just by carrying out standard cadets activities.
For more information see the CVQO website.
We’re also starting our own Computer Science club in Sep 2019. Many of our cadets study computer science and our Commanding Officer works in the industry for a living. We’ll be covering material alongside the cadets’ school curriculum, as well as competing in this year’s Cyber Centurion competition.