We sat down for a chat with Sixth Former Ed, who has recently been promoted to the role of Cadet Sergeant in the Bloxham CCF (Combined Cadet Force), to find out more about what the CCF means to him and why it’s so popular at Bloxham.

What made you first want to join the CCF?

I finished scouts when I was about 13 and I’ve always loved the outdoors and doing adventure and survival activities, so CCF seemed like the right next step for me when I joined the school.

What’s your favourite activity you’ve done whilst taking part and why?

That’s a tricky question because we do such a wide range of activities! We often do overnight stays on Hob Hill, with night exercises like night stalking, and we can do up to a week in the summer camp doing longer exercises like battle drills and sentry duties. My favourite of all the camps I’ve done involved Six Section Battle Drills (military action procedures). I was on course for my first promotion and I was away on a camp at an army base, and I was doing Six Section Battle Drills with three former NCOs (non-commissioned officers) who have now left. It was a really good opportunity to progress my leadership and my teamwork and gain valuable skills, and that’s why I loved that camp.

What does it mean to hold the rank of Cadet Sergeant? What extra responsibilities does it bring?

Being Cadet Sergeant is the most senior NCO, so I have three main duties: on Thursdays, we have parade where all of the cadets line up in ranks and perform drills. My job is to lead that and make sure all the cadets are properly turned out and that their uniform is all straight and up to standard. The second thing I do is training, so I train the cadets to improve their skills. Last week, I was training the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Form on how to set up a triangular harbour (fortified encampment for resting soldiers). I also organise formal events like the school remembrance service together with Mr Smithson, and I led the CCF at the village remembrance service. I was really proud to be promoted in my final year. CCF is something I really love and it’s a great honour to do this.

Why do you think CCF is so popular at Bloxham?

I think that it provides something different from what you get in other activities and in the classroom. It teaches you lots of key skills like leadership and discipline. Many people, myself included, learn a lot better outdoors doing practical things, and I think that’s what people love about CCF. One of my former sergeant majors said that CCF uses military exercises as a platform to teach students life skills they can take into the workplace, which is so useful. Discipline, leadership and teamwork are essential for all walks of life.

What does the CCF mean to you?

CCF means a lot to me. It was set up in 1911 to train students to become British Army Officers, and what I want to do in life is to become an officer in the British army. Even if going to Sandhurst doesn’t work out though, CCF will have given me so many useful life skills to apply in other spheres.