Cadet units: guide for government-funded schools
How state-funded schools can set up or join a cadet unit.
The cadet expansion programme (CEP) establishes cadet units in schools to give students the chance to learn new skills such as:
based on the traditions and values of the armed forces.
Schools can have 2 types of units:
Register your interest
Complete an expression of interest form if your school is thinking of setting up or joining a cadet force.
After receiving your expression of interest, we will decide if your school is eligible. If you are eligible, we will arrange for a regional schools cadet expansion officer (SCEO) to meet with you.
They’ll listen to your needs and advise on the options available to your school, including the possibility of entering into a partnership with an existing combined cadet force (CCF) unit in another school.
The cadet expansion programme (CEP) is open to all types of government-funded secondary schools and 16 to 18 colleges, including:
- schools maintained by the local authority
- free schools and university technical colleges
- sixth-form colleges
However, we will prioritise expressions of interest from:
- areas that are less affluent
- areas where there is currently limited access to the cadet experience
- areas where the Ministry of Defence (MOD) wants to raise awareness of the armed forces
- schools, academy trusts or school partnerships that offer education for pupils aged up to 18
What you need to set up a new cadet unit
To set up a new cadet unit, your school must:
- have full backing and commitment from the headteacher and governing body to enter into an agreement with MOD
- have enough adult volunteers to run the unit
- have access to suitable facilities
- allow volunteers and cadets to attend activities that take place during school hours
- keep the unit running for a minimum of 5 years to allow at least 1 group of students to complete the full cadet experience
All units need at least 2 adult volunteers.
Volunteers can be:
- staff from your school
- members of the local community
- ex-military personnel
All volunteers will receive training and uniforms from MOD.
Cadet expansion team
Phone 01325 340 489
Published: 25 March 2014
Updated: 10 February 2016
- Clarified which schools are eligible to join the programme.
- Removed information on the cost of setting up a cadet unit because it is free of charge.
- First published.