Government U-turn on school cadet force funding

The Telegraph, 10/12/14, the Government has abandoned plans to reform school cadet force funding after outcry from private schools that increased costs would shut long-standing units. HMC CCFs spokesperson Thomas Garnier, Headmaster of Pangbourne College and HMC member Simon Davies, Headmaster of Eastbourne College are quoted.

Headmasters earlier this year warned dozens of private school cadet forces could close because of a “disastrous” cut in funding aimed at boosting representation in the state system.

The cut in funding would mean individual schools having to find tens of thousands of pounds for costs including equipment and adult volunteers, it was claimed.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has now decided to keep the current funding and keep paying for adult volunteers, he said.

He said: “Cadet Forces offer young people the chance to develop essential skills and CCF units play an important role in providing this experience in schools

“I’m pleased to announce that all school cadet units will receive the funding they need to make this opportunity available across the country.”

At present, 260 schools run cadet forces and receive more than £26 million a year to cover staff training, uniforms, rifles, facilities and volunteer expenses.

Around 200 units are in private schools. The units are seen by many in the military as vital links between the armed forces and young people, as well as allowing them to broaden their skills and outlook.

Headmasters had been "very clear" about what they thought of the proposed changes, one Whitehall source said.

Thomas Garnier, head of the independent Pangbourne College, Reading, who represents the CCF for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, said he was "delighted" with the about face.

He said many schools already made large sacrifices and commitments to keep their CCF units running.

He said: "We are really, really pleased that we were listened to and it reflects well on the MoD. I think there was a lack of understanding about the commitments that the schools with CCF units were making. I think they now have a clearer understanding."

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