This is the page for Parents. Even though it is your child joining the Air Cadets, there are a few things that you should know, so that you can understand us as an organisation and to help you support your child throughout their cadet career.
- Your child will learn how to use an iron. The way they turn themselves out in their uniform, is very important and there is a way to do it. It is their responsibility to iron their uniform and polish their shoes. Surprisingly, there is a way to do it wrong! (You can put it in the wash though, but check the pockets, many a logbook have died a watery death…) However, take advantage of the fact they now know how to use an iron…
- We’re not like school and we don’t send letters home for everything. (We like to save trees where we can!) Your child should always have a notebook with them when they are at the Squadron and any activity briefs will be given at an appropriate time, where they will be expected to take notes. Should you need anything clarifying, please return your child to the Squadron and get them to ask.
- It is their responsibility therefore, to tell you if an activity is happening that they want to go on. This organisation is about teaching self-discipline and promoting individual responsibility- if they miss something because they didn’t tell you soon enough- that’s a lesson learnt.
- We will aim to tell your child about upcoming dates as soon as is practicably possible. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen beyond our control and we may have to cancel, or sometimes things crop up pretty quickly. We understand that cadets won’t always be available, but please help us by keeping some of the important dates free. For example, Wing Training Day, Wing Cross Country, Wing Athletics and Wing Swimming, as well as ATC Sunday, Battle of Britain Parade and Remembrance Sunday. These dates will be given to cadets and parents at the beginning of the year when they have been confirmed by Wing.
- As staff, we recognise the importance of parental support to the cadets during their time with us. Sometimes, they might not enjoy a particular aspect-please encourage them not to give up to soon- perseverance is a skill and it is important to learn that there is value in things even though sometimes it’s tough. We also thank you for driving them to places and getting up early in a morning with them to drop them off.
- The staff are all qualified, DBS cleared and dedicated volunteers, who give up their time twice a week and on rather a lot of weekends to provide activities and training for your child. Please give them the respect they deserve when conversing with us. Very rarely, you may be unhappy about a particular aspect of the Squadron. If this is the case, please make contact with the Squadron to arrange a time to come and speak to a member of staff and we will endeavour to resolve the matter quickly.
- We understand that there are certain times of a cadet’s career where exams may become a more pressing matter. Whilst we fully understand the importance of education, we find that cadets benefit from attending the Squadron regularly during those times as a respite from school and revision, allowing them to continue as normal a life as possible. Of course, should they require exam leave from the Squadron, please submit in writing so that we are aware of the dates when your child will be absent. During this time, subs are still due each month.
- The Air Cadets provides a massive range of opportunities and training. The old cliché ‘The more you put in, means you get more out,’ really rings true with us. We can keep them busy for a potential eight years of cadet career, with activities that enhance a CV and make them stand out from the crowd. In theory then, that’s a lot of weekends you can be free of them…
Throughout the year, there will be a number of events where we invite our parents down to join in with the Squadron and celebrate the successes of the cadets who parade with us. The staff hope to see you there and thank you once again for supporting your child, as they start their journey as a Royal Air Force Air Cadet!
The awkward bit: Quitting.
There’s no getting away from it…whilst we would love every young person who joins to stay with us until they age out, we know that sometimes a cadet will decide that the Air Cadets is no longer for them. Priorities and preferences change. Once you are sure that they no longer wish to be a part of the Squadron, we ask that they ‘quit’ in the right way.
- Return loaned uniform (and other equipment if applicable) to the Squadron.
- Get their log book signed by the boss to confirm their service.
- Ensure that all monies owed are paid. A cadet will not be discharged if there is outstanding money due.
- Remember it is your responsibility to cancel the standing order set up to pay subs on a monthly basis. The Squadron takes no responsibility for this once a cadet has been discharged.
And if they ever change their mind back again and decide they’ve missed it (this does happen) we’ll be happy to reinstate them after speaking with them.
So there’s a few questions you bound to have so we’ve put them here and hopefully we will have answered them! If not, just ask!
Q- How much does it cost a month and for camps?
We aim to keep costs as low as possible. Monthly subscriptions are currently £10 a month to be paid by standing order. Weekends camps range from as little as £15 to £60 depending on the activities on offer. Week-long Annual camps on RAF Stations are usually around £60 for the week. Adventure training camps at NACATC Windermere or Fairbourne can be up to £100 for the week. They offer great value for money, with food, transport, accommodation and activities included.
Q- What uniform does my child need?
Your child will be measured and issued with their Blue RAF uniform when they join. The only piece of this uniform that is self purchase, are the parade shoes and in your joining pack you will be given information on where to purchase them from.
Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP or Greens) uniform is also a self-purchase item and cadets will require this for many activities, like shooting, fieldcraft and road marching. Again, information on where to purchase this kit, is in the joining pack. This kit is not essential straight away; it can be purchased once your child has enrolled, as we do have coveralls for them to wear in the meantime.
Q- Do you recruit for the RAF?
We are not a recruiting party for the RAF, although a number of our cadets do go on to have careers within the Armed Forces. We do invite RAF Careers down twice a year, where they talk about the opportunities available and cadets can contact them if it is something they wish to pursue. However, many of our cadets do not go on to join the Armed Forces, and the skills they learn through cadets can help them with whichever Civilian career they choose.
Q- What checks do the staff go through before becoming a volunteer?
Safeguarding the young people in our care is very important to us and all potential volunteers are interviewed by the Officer Commanding and the Wing Sector Officer, before they are recommended to join as a volunteer. This is to ensure that they are the right fit for the organisation and that they fully understand the expectations that will be placed upon them when working with young people. They must also undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check before they can attend the Squadron and supervise cadets. This check is completed every five years, by all staff.
Volunteers also undergo specific training in Child Protection, and uniformed members of staff go to RAF Cranwell for a week, where Child Protection is a key subject area.