How gaining leadership training can help students to take their next steps

By scanning school websites, it is clear that the main emphasis of most schools is on academic achievement. However, beyond school, whilst the academic focus is inevitably important, supplementary skills are becoming more important to help an individual stand out from the crowd. One of the most relevant skill sets is training and experience in quality leadership, which is an essential feature of modern life, regardless of field or industry.

Character, Competence and Confidence

At West Buckland School, the purpose of the CCF is to provide high quality leadership training which complements the academic studies of students. Leadership is defined as the ability to make good decisions in difficult situations.

boy leadership training

To be an effective leader requires a certain character – a character that West Buckland aspires to for all its students through the school values of the Seven Cs. Such character is to be learnt and then consciously practised in the various activities. The leadership character encouraged by the CCF involves moral courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty, and selfless commitment. Such character provides young people with a moral compass and the ability to make good decisions on behalf of others in difficult situations.

Effective leadership also derives from being competent – the knowledge that you can undertake an activity to a high standard. Such competence enables the individual to focus on others and enables others to be confident in the leader. For example, an individual who is competent at navigation is able to develop the team’s navigation skills and to lead them confidently and effectively regardless of the weather.
Such character and competence produces an effective self-confidence rather than arrogance. The individual is confident in their own skills and character and confident in leading a team to achieve the objective.

Leadership training as students progress up the school

These elements – leadership, character, competence, and confidence – are taught within the CCF in the classroom but develop more fully in the associated activities. This is because high-quality leadership requires adversity, or difficult situations, to develop properly. Such leadership then also addresses effective mental resilience.

mixed group CCF students on camp

Leadership training in the CCF is progressive from Year 9 to Year 13. Training in Years 9 and 10 is about developing character, competence, and confidence and being able to work effectively as a team, complemented by an introduction to leadership.
Year 11 provides the opportunity to undertake the nationally-recognised CVQO award in Leadership and Management, as well as embarking on the teaching of younger cadets, command tasks, and leadership roles. In Years 12 and 13, cadets become part of the CCF leadership team alongside the adult instructors. These students have opportunities to take a further CVQO in leadership. This course includes listening to senior commanders within the Armed Forces, assuming leadership roles in fieldcraft exercises, and taking a First Aid at Work award with associated casualty simulation practises. They also have the chance to undertake leadership courses in the UK, the Baltic States, and Canada.

Of course, there are wider opportunities. These include listening to OWBA currently serving in the Armed Forces, visits to The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and RAF Cranwell, adventure training in the UK and Bavaria, as well as cyber, signal and STEM courses. In a world where we need to stand out, this provides a chance to be noticed.

Cadet trip to Canada for West Buckland School  ILM