Rockwood Academy students sign up to become Combined Cadet Force recruits

Monday 25th July 2016

Rockwood Academy is set to launch two new schemes to instil British pride in students and prevent them from being radicalised.

CCFpic12

Both an initiative called #Extre(me) and a new Combined Cadet Force unit will launch from September 2016 at the school, which is run by CORE Education Trust.

#Extre(me), a curriculum designed to protect students from online grooming, could roll out to schools across both Birmingham and the rest of the country in its next stage of development.

It will see experts in key fields, including counter-terrorism, supporting Rockwood Academy students to explore the tools and tactics used by radical recruiters such as Islamic extremists and far-right organisations.

Using a website and interactive tools, students will also learn about the conflict in Northern Ireland, as well as major international incidents at the hands of cults and lone radicals.

Meanwhile, Rockwood Academy has also become one of the latest schools to join the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP).

CEP was first launched in June 2012 by the Coalition Government, with the aim to deliver 100 new cadet units in English state-funded schools by September 2015.

 

CCFpic2

The Government has now committed to a £50m scheme to grow the total number of cadet units in schools across the UK to 500 by 2020.

More than 40 students, a mixture of girls and boys, have signed up to Rockwood Academy’s new cadet unit. They will be issued uniforms and will take part in weekly after school clubs, learning skills from navigation to first aid.

CEP is aimed at schools in less affluent areas where students would have limited access to the cadet experience – usually something only associated with top private schools. It is part of the Government’s goal to promote a military ethos in schools.

#Extre(me) and the cadet unit come after Rockwood Academy was removed from special measures in April 2016 and rated ‘good’ by education watchdog Ofsted – with inspectors praising the school and CORE Education Trust for their “pioneering” partnerships with external organisations to promote British values.

Rockwood Academy’s Principal Fuzel Choudhury said: “We are overjoyed to be part of two very exciting new projects, proving how Rockwood is positioning itself as being at the cutting edge of innovative education.

“The #Extre(me) initiative is aimed at arming students with the knowledge and understanding to make the best choices to protect both themselves and their community from extremism and radicalisation.

“Meanwhile, the response to the launch of the Combined Cadet Force unit has really been overwhelming and we are confident that the students will benefit significantly, as will the teaching staff.

CCFpic3

“Since the day I set foot across the threshold of this academy my sole drive has been to improve the education of our students – they are what it is all about.

“Initiatives such as these will undoubtedly help us achieve our vision.”

Adrian Packer, CEO of CORE Education Trust, added: “We are lucky to work with some incredible partners and we feel these two initiatives really complement one another.

“Through #Extre(me) we are giving students the tools to be able to recognise the threat of radical recruitment and show them the wider, real-life impact of extremism and terror.

“Meanwhile the Combined Cadet Force will give them a sense of pride – not only as a Rockwood Academy student, but also as a citizen of Birmingham and Great Britain.”

Cllr Brigid Jones, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Schools, said: “#Extre(me) is an inspirational project. The city’s schools and partner organisations, including the council, are fully committed to tackling the threats of all types of extremism and radicalisation, and this is a fantastic, proactive initiative from CORE Education Trust.

“This initiative shows that students and staff are standing together to minimise the risks faced in the education sector.

“Birmingham has pulled together and the message is clear. There is no place for extremism in the city’s classrooms.”

Gary Newbrook, Contingent Commander who will be based permanently at Rockwood Academy, said: “The Combined Cadet Force is designed to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country.

“This means students developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience, which will help them achieve excellence and shape their own future.”

CCFpic16

Retired Major Simon Cuthbert, Schools Cadet Expansion Officer, said: “We know from anecdotal evidence from schools which use the CCF programme that it has helped students on many levels.

“Schools have reported that students are better prepared for classrooms, they listen and engage and challenge themselves further than they would have done previously because they have learned new skills and had a big dose of self-esteem.”