The general aim of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is to develop character, confidence and leadership in the cadets by means of a wide variety of challenges and opportunities. The CCF is voluntary and is available for Year 9 and above.
The CCF is split into the three service sections: The Royal Navy (RN), the Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF). Each section offers different activities relevant to that particular service: The RN focuses on drill, shooting and teamwork leadership tasks, navigation rope work and studying the role of the RN, as well as sailing, diving, fire fighting, flying and power boating; the Army is the largest section and offers ongoing training at an annual camp and numerous weekend exercises; and the RAF, which like the other CCF branches follows a prepared syllabus laid down by its parent establishment and includes powered and glider flying from RAF Benson.
The highlight of the CCF year is the Remembrance Day parade when the whole Contingent marches past the school memorial, having had the 55 names of the Fallen read out.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary, non-competitive and flexible programme of cultural and adventurous activities for Year 10 and above. The DofE is committed to providing pupils with an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of goal setting, learning new skills and personal development. Blue Coat offers the Bronze Award starting in Year 10 – and the Silver and Gold awards from Year 11 onwards. All three involve expeditions within the United Kingdom.
The School has strong links with the wider community and pupils have many opportunities to engage with the world beyond the school gates. The Sports Leaders programme is particularly popular, as it prepares Sixth Formers to go out into primary schools in Sonning, Caversham and Maidenhead to coach a number of sports. Our Primary Schools Placement programme also gives students the opportunity to assist with tuition in Maths, English and languages in local primary schools and A Level Philosophy students have delivered an introduction to Philosophy in a nearby school. Through the Community Service programme, pupils also help out in old people’s homes and assist in local charity shops, while an environmental group undertakes projects in and around Sonning.
We are keen that Blue Coat pupils understand their role within society and that they build an awareness of the importance of helping those less fortunate than themselves. There are, therefore, many events designed to raise awareness of and funds for charities. The pupils themselves choose which charities should benefit from these events, which include concerts, sponsored events, cake sales and non-uniform days. The four Houses choose a different charity to support each year and organise large-scale events where the focus is participation, fun and fund-raising. The 2014-15 House charities were: Hall: Macmillan Cancer Support; Aldworth: Ella’s Home; Malthus: Movember and the Prostate Cancer Trust; Rich: Leukaemia Research. Regular events are held to raise funds for our partner school in Ghana. Blue Coat has raised almost £20,000 for charity through a wide variety of projects in the last 18 months.