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St Antony's College welcomes Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force

St Antony’s College welcomes Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force
6 April 2018
A Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force (CCF) section has been opened at St Antony’s Catholic College in Urmston.

St Antony’s College welcomes Royal Navy Combined Cadet ForceThere to officially sanction the occasion and celebrate the establishment of the Royal Navy Section was Commander Bernard Thompson, Naval Regional Command North of England, Chief of Staff.

After the opening ceremony the 17 St. Antony's cadets who have already voluntarily signed up, travelled to Portsmouth Naval Base where they went out in power boats and yachts on the Solent, toured Nelson's flagship HMS Victory and the more modern HMS Chiddingfold as well as visiting ‘Action Stations’ for an interactive experience, of what life has been like in today’s Royal Navy.

Commander Bernard Thompson said: “As we always say in the Navy, it's not just about learning to lead but about learning to be led as well and becoming a responsible citizen, who can see the bigger picture and being prepared to give of themselves for a worthwhile cause.”

Commander Thompson added: “The St Antony's Royal Navy CCF is part of a nationwide expansion programme using the fines arising from LIBOR banking funds and designated by Government for the armed services and there is no better investment than our youth, not just for recruitment in the future, but to give our young people, their families, their friends and all those they associate with a sense of the ethos of the Navy and the common values we share.”

Partnership with the Royal Navy through the establishment of a Combined Cadet Force unit offers a fantastic way to widen the horizons of our students

Lieutenant Gavin Parker, Contingent Commander at St Antony’s Catholic College

St Antony’s College welcomes Royal Navy Combined Cadet ForceThe opening ceremony saw the Royal Navy Cadets take centre stage during a parade led by the Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Gavin Parker, who has worked at St Antony’s Catholic College for nine years as a Teacher of Science and Head of Year.

In his time away from school Lt Parker also works with the Royal Navy in his role as Senior Training Officer at Manchester and Salford Universities Royal Naval Unit.

Lt Gavin Parker said: “Every teacher recognises the need to develop the whole child; however, it can be difficult, in the current climate, to find mechanisms with which to offer good character development.

“Partnership with the Royal Navy through the establishment of a Combined Cadet Force unit offers a fantastic way to widen the horizons of our students and to make them think about themselves, their peers and their surroundings in ways that only a few might without the help of the CCF.

“At this early stage I have already taken my cadets to visit Britannia Royal Naval College and MOD Caledonia. They have also been to sea numerous times on HMS Biter and HMS Charger and have spent a weekend camping in the Lake District.”

Head teacher, Fiona Wright “These young people will increasingly be working in a world of automation where robots do many of the tasks done by their parents' generation. We want to imbue them with those human characteristics of resilience, initiative, leadership, team work and loyalty that will be invaluable in whatever they do in the future, and are synonymous with the Royal Navy.”

The New Royal Navy Section joins other units across the country and is funded as part of the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP), with an aim to promote a military ethos in schools, and instil core values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and contribute to their communities across the country.

The pupils develop key qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience. The programme focuses on CCF units and ensures pupils from state schools get a chance to experience life-enriching activities as part of school life.

This creates positive benefits in all areas of school life including character skills strongly valued by employers looking for leadership, teamwork, communication skills, integrity and career progression.

Natasha Radford (13) one of the Royal Navy cadets, said: “I feel immensely proud to wear the uniform of the Royal Navy and hope I can represent my family, my school and my country with honour. It's been great fun so far.

“We've done assault courses, learned to sail, studied some of the history of the Royal Navy and even been to the ultimate Ninja experience as part of our training. All the cadets see us as a team who support each other and look forward to the next of our training.”

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