• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

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Students get ready for military life at academy’s new cadet unit taster day

STUDENTS have been given a taste of military life as their academy prepares to launch its own Royal Marines cadet force.

Personnel from the Royal Navy Tyne reserve centre brought a range of activities to The King’s Academy for students to experience.

The academy, in Coulby Newham, is one of just four schools in the North East to be given approval and funding to establish a cadet unit under the Ministry of Defence’s Cadet Expansion Programme.

Up to 35 students will have the chance to be among the first cadets when the unit opens officially in the spring, giving them access to prestigious training, an annual camp, overseas expeditions and courses from scuba diving and sailing to mountain leadership.

Nearly 70 students signed up for the taster day including Amelia Farrow, 16, of Linthorpe.

She said: “I love outdoor adventure and was very excited when I heard about the academy having its own cadet force as it would be a great opportunity for me as a sixth former. If I get selected I’m hoping it will help me develop my leadership skills and give me the chance to do military training.”

The students got to try out equipment including carrying a day pack and weapons, and experienced laser shooting and physical tests.

Alex Beattie-Lewis, 13, of Coulby Newham, said: “My dad used to be a Queen’s guard so I’m interested in the army and this will be a good way to try it out at my own school.”

Kristin Wilson, 13, of Hemlington, added: “I think it will help us during our lives because of the skills we’ll be able to learn.”

The academy’s head of Year 9 John Stewart is the contingent commander and has under gone training at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon.

He said: “All the students in the academy have been told about the cadet force and the aim of the taster day was to give those who have expressed an interest a chance to learn more about it.

“We will have ranks in our unit so the day has also helped us identify possible students for officer cadet roles.”

The unit will make full use of the academy’s facilities, which include a high ropes course, climbing wall and fields for escape and evasion training and fieldcraft. The cadets will also receive weapons training in the sports hall, which can be repurposed as an indoor rifle range, and do drill on the playgrounds.

They will share resources with local Air Force and Army cadet units and Middlesbrough Council has supported the initiative for its wider benefits for social mobility, inclusion, reduced exclusions, and improved attendance, engagement and attainment.