Cadets Go Gliding

At 7:15 on a cold Sunday morning, 9 Cadets embarked on and adventure to Tern Hill airfield and 632 Volunteer Gliding School (VGS).  

The mission: To learn about the function and effect of flight controls in a glider, and put them into practice.  All looked good until we hit a fog bank on the A41, which stayed with us until Tern Hill.  On arrival, the Cadets were put through a training session on fitting the parachute and exiting the Glider in an emergency.  Once completed, the Cadets received a briefing on the effects of the Elevators, Ailerons and Rudder on an aircraft.

Training complete we waited, and waited, and waited for the mist to clear.  As 11:00 drew near we were invited to attend an impromptu parade with the VGS to support the Cenotaph parade for Remembrance Day.  At the end of the parade, and as if by magic, the fog became mist and then disappeared.

Once on the airfield, the Cadets were shown around a glider, including how to attach the tow cable and support the glider on launching.  Soon the Cadets were in full flow, launching and recovering the Gliders as each started their trip to the stars (well 1000 feet at least).  By 3:00pm, all was looking good for all Cadets to fly when we were told that a wind at 400 feet meant that we needed to reverse our launch direction.  So, with all hands to deck, 1 caravan, 2 winches, 1 minibus, 3 gliders and a tractor were all relocated on the airfield ready to restart operations.  At this point, a sudden downturn in temperature caused flying to cease, as it caused the canopies on the gliders to mist up in a similar way to cars on a cold morning – the key difference being that the gliders don’t have windscreen wipers or heating.  The effect was that 2 Cadets didn’t fly.  Undaunted, plans were immediately made to return these Cadets at a later date to get their flights.

Once all the kit had been recovered to the hanger, the Cadets who had flown were then presented with their blue wings as a symbol of their progress on the aviation training package.

The military and poetry have a long history going back thousands of years, through to the famous poets of the First World War and right up to modern engagements. It is therefore very fitting that Sgt. Bew was inspired to pen these lines which tell the story of the day…

A Glider’s Tale

Twas the 14th November

And not a sound to be heard

‘Cept 9 young Cadets

Who sought to be birds.

For today was the day

That they hoped to fly

Up in the air in a glider to distances so high

Mother Nature reminded us, that she is the boss

For a ground mist descended, we are at a loss.

Fear not said the pilots, learn how flight is done.

Then cometh the hour, the mists came undone

And gliders went soaring 

And Cadets had much fun.

Connecting the cables and running the wing,

Recovering an overshoot,

They took part in everything.

One by one, they went soaring 

High into the sky.

“It’s like a rollercoaster”,

I heard Cadets cry.

Mother Nature again descended

Her hand once again,

And with two fledglings left, 

She decried: this must end.

So two must return, in a week or few

And venture the mist and stand in the dew.

For they will once again

Hear “take up slack” and “all out”, those most shouted words

And go hurtling skywards

In those plastic birds

And see earth from a height and other great things.

And also to earn those precious blue wings.


RAF Cadets go Green, then Brown

Over the weekend, 39 Cadets took the opportunity to learn some basic military skills.  These included looking after yourself in an outdoor environment, communication in a tactical environment, formations and tactical movement.  The days were challenging as it rained during the two days, causing a small stream to form and meander across the training environment, generating the potential for the ultimate mud bath.  This however did not deter the cadets, as they threw themselves (some quite literally) into the activities.

Looking after yourself in an outdoor environment.  This included packing your rucksack, looking after your equipment and personal hygiene.

Communication in a tactical environment.  This involves using hand signals to pass messages between people.

Formations.  How groups of people move in a tactical environment.

Individual Tactical movement.  How to move across terrain whilst trying to avoid detection.

Halloween came early!

The day culminated with a stalk where half the cadets used the skills they had learnt over the day to try to get as close to an observation post as they could without being seen.  This involved moving as stealthily as possible through the terrain. 

Can you see them?


Examples of Boots suitable for Cadet activities

The following images indicate the type of boot suitable for cadet activities. This is an indication only: as long as the boots are above ankle length, laced, preferably made of all leather (but a leather/fabric mix is acceptable) and either brown or black then they are suitable. 

Any queries please contact Sgt Bew at


RAF Lossiemouth

Over the past few months, a selection of cadets had the opportunity to experience life on an RAF Station where 7 Cadets spent a week at RAF Lossiemouth. 

During this time they visited sections around the station to see the roles of different trades in the RAF including No 1 Fighter Squadron who operate the Typhoon Air Craft, Survival Equipment who look after all the safety gear that pilots use. Another role was the 2622 Sqn Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadron who demonstrated all their weapon systems and allowed the cadets to gain hands-on experience with them and the Fire Section who enabled the cadets to use the water cannon mounted on the front of their fire engines. 

In addition, the cadets had a cinema night, went bowling and go-karting and had the chance to practise their marksmanship skills on the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer. We finished by demonstrating our marching skills to the Station Warrant Officer.

Back at School, other cadets have been using the indoor air rifle range to practise their marksmanship skills and two cadets joined the Staffordshire Wing Air Cadets on a range day to fire the Cadet Small Bore Target Rifle.

Most Year 10 and 11 Cadets have now flown at least once, though the weather recently has twice thwarted the SSI’s efforts to get the remainder of Year 10 and the Year 9 Cadets airborne.

As we head towards spring and summer we look forward to taking the Year 10 cadets to participate in Adventure Training Activities and the recruitment of Cadets from the current Year 7 and 8s to enable our cadets to have an extra year to experience what the cadets can offer.


Armistice Day – Poppy Veil

Inspired by the original artist, Paul Cummins, we decided to commemorate Armistice day with our own version of the famous ‘Weeping Window’. The whole school project included every pupil and student at Barr Beacon contributing to the installation by making a grand total of 3800 poppies. 

The poppy veil was formed by various pupils, Including five young boys who have a parent currently serving in the forces. This was a special time for them to reflect on their parents’ contribution to the welfare of our society and the boys thoroughly enjoyed being part of the creative process. 

Aldridge Remembrance Service
We are very proud of our Head Boy Harjodh and our Deputy Head Girl Edna who represented Barr Beacon School at the  Remembrance Service that was held at Aldridge War Memorial on Sunday 10th November 2019.    During the service, they laid a wreath, on behalf of the school


CCF Biennial Review

On Monday 16th September, our Combined Cadet Force carried out their Inaugural Biennial Inspection at DTE Swynnerton Training Camp in Stone.

The cadets took part in a number of exercises across the day, such as First Aid Training, Radio and Cyber Training and Rifle Training. The day then ended with a Final Parade, which was conducted by Flt Lt Muller.

The inspection went smoothly and all of our cadets performed to a very high standard. We are extremely proud of how every pupil represented the school and showcased everything that they have accomplished over the last couple of years.


Cadets Go Rifle Shooting

On Saturday the 18th May, a selection of Year 9 and 10 Cadets came back to school to learn how to use a rifle. Places for this tremendous opportunity were soon filled as people were keen to get stuck into what they would never be able to achieve if it wasn’t for the RAF CCF, or at least not for free.

This started at 9am in the training room where we were briefed on safety, the power of the rifle, when to carry out an NSP (Normal Safety Precaution) and how to operate this weapon by Flight Lieutenant Vahter, a highly qualified instructor for this opportunity. 

After this, groups took it in turns with the weapons, remembering the sequences and parts of the weapon you should operate at certain points of the task. Some found this less easy than others, mainly because some of us were left-handed and we were using right-handed guns, but we all agreed that the challenge made us even more determined to pass the weapons handling test we had to carry out before being able to shoot with a target. Once passed, you have this Cadet qualification for 6 months. 

Those who were struggling came together to help each other which was lovely to see the cadet solidarity and togetherness of the contingent. Many cadets passed the Weapons Handling Test first time, and we helped the few that needed a slight recap before doing it again. Soon enough we were out on the school field putting everything we had learned into practice, only this time using targets. 

This was also another opportunity to see where Cadets’ individual talents lay, as those who struggled with the weapon previously were hitting the targets rather successfully for first time attempts. We all loved this experience and those who were deemed talented enough will be picked for our next Air Squadron Trophy team. We cannot wait until our whole contingent has the opportunity to shoot as this was an extremely rewarding experience!

By Corporal Payne (Year 10)


RAF Air Squadron Trophy

On Saturday 16th March, Barr Beacon cadets attended their first RAF Air Squadron Trophy (RAST) competition at Queen Mary’s Grammar School. The competition included: knowledge on the RAF, Air craft recognition, Drill and uniform inspection, first aid, a command task and rifle shooting.

The team (who were hand-picked by CPL Guest) were praised for their efforts and improvements by SQN LDR Taylor personally. A shooting certificate was presented to SGT Mellor (who was also promoted by SQN LDR Taylor that day) for the highest shooting score of the competition 95-100.

The Team consisted of: CPL Guest, CPL Lawlor, SGT Mellor, LCPL Preece, Cadet Dunn, LCPL Stone, Cadet Broadmore, Cadet Ellison, Cadet Smith and LCP Janse Van Rensburg.

Staff present (FLT LT Knight, PLT OFF Baker and SGT Bew) were extremely proud of the team’s efforts and are hoping to take part in the national competition in November.


Shooting Practice

Shooting Practice by L-CPL Preece
On Sunday 10th of February, Lance corporal Preece, Lance corporal stone, Lance corporal V. Rensburg, Corporal Mellor and Corporal Lawlor travelled up to Buxton to learn how to shoot ready for our air squadron trophy. On the first session we sat in a class room and learnt about:

  • How to do a NSP (Normal Safety Precaution)
  • How to Dismantle a rifle ready for daily cleaning
  • How to put a rifle back together
  • How to complete a stoppage
  • How to clean a rifle
  • How to shoot in the prone position
  • The marksmanship principles
  • Basic handling drills
  • What different components of a rifle are
  • When to carry out a NSP

At the end of the day all five of the cadets had to go into a room on their own and complete a test, we all passed.

Then on Sunday the 24th of February the same five cadets travelled up to Buxton to shoot a L144 small-bore training and target rifle on the shooting range but first we sat in the classroom and learnt about grouping and zeroing. Then we all went on to the shooting range two at a time and shot five rounds each at four targets, then we all shot nine rounds each at a single targets and then we all shot three rounds each at another single target and after Lance Corporal Preece finished shooting his three rounds at the single target he was told that he successfully passed.

At the end of the day Lance corporal preece, Lance corporal Van Rensburg, Corporal Mellor and Corporal Lawlor were chosen to shoot at the AST competition on the 16th March at Queen Mary’s. And to make the day even better H.Preece was awarded the Trained Shot Badge for the L144A1. To achieve this he achieved: A grouping size of 38mm in the first practice and a grouping of 25mm in the second. The badge awarded is bronze rifle to signify it is L144A1.

Shooting Practice by Corporal Mellor

Some of our cadets who are attending the Air Squadron Trophy where chosen to attend fire arms training. This took place over 2 full day sessions. The first day on February 3rd 2019 consisted of basic safety around fire arms also how to hold and position yourself properly while using them. We also learned how to clean the rifle before and after use. This is to ensure that the rifle is always safe before shooting. The cadets surprisingly found this very interesting and all enjoyed learning about how rifles actually work to gain a better understanding of what they will be handling. Towards the last part of the day a test was held to make sure everything we had learned had sunk in. As a result of the cadets hard work through the day it was no surprise that everyone passed the firearms safety test allowing the cadets to move to stage 2 where they will be firing live rounds on a range.

Two weeks later on February 24th 2019 the cadets returned looking confident to get onto the range. During the first hour we learned about groupings and zeroing. In simpler terms we learned how to aim at the target and hit it consistently. After that we moved onto the range where throughout the day we all were able to fire 32 rounds each. In pairs, we went into the range and were able to have a go at shooting the rifles. While in the range the cadets followed orders from the range commander and were complimented on how well they followed the commands given. We also had Sgt Bew beside us on the first time shooting to run us through the steps. He also helped all the cadets to tighten there groupings and even got the chance to adjust the scopes on the weapon to personal preferences. These were all noted down by each cadet in preparation for the air squadron trophy. Overall the cadets really enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to the next time on the range. 

Contact Info

Barr Beacon School
Old Hall Lane
Aldridge, Walsall
West Midlands

T: 0121 366 6600

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

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