Parent & Carer FAQs

Frequently asked questions about your child becoming a cadet with the ACF. Click a question to see the answer.

Will my child have to join the Army if they become a cadet?
No. The Army Cadet Force is sponsored by the Army, but there is absolutely no requirement on cadets to join any of the armed services at any time.
How do you make sure my child will be safe in your care?
Every adult volunteer is required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (or its equivalent from Disclosure Scotland in Scotland or Access Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland) and is not left unsupervised with cadets until this is complete.

We also have a full-time Training Safety Advisor in every ACF county to ensure all our training is conducted as safely as possible, while still being exciting and challenging.

The Army Cadet Force does not tolerate any form of abuse or bullying and we have clear policies and practices to defend against them. If you have any concerns about your child's treatment please get in touch to voice your complaint.
Are there any security issues I need to be aware of?
For the latest security advice for parents and carers, please see our FAQs.
How old do I have to be to join?
You need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school to join the cadets. So, if you are aged 12 by 1 September at the start of year 8 at school you can apply to join the cadets.

If you are aged 18 or above, you can join as an adult volunteer.
What does it cost to be a cadet?
Most detachments will ask cadets to pay a small sub (of maybe 50p or £1) on attendance but not always. The only other cost is buying a sturdy pair of boots.

Thanks to the support of the Army we are able to keep the costs of attending annual camp extremely low. Ask your Detachment Commander to find out more about camp costs.
Which days and times do the cadets meet?
Most detachments meet one or two evenings a week with occasional weekend camps and competitions. The days and times vary depending on the detachment but normally it starts at 7pm or 7.30pm and runs for two hours.
How old do you have to be to join the ACF?
You need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school to join the cadets. In Northern Ireland cadets need to be aged at least 12 years old and in year 9 at school.

Those aged 18 or above can join as an adult volunteer.
How much does the uniform cost?
All cadets are provided with a uniform free of charge for their time in the ACF, though you might be asked for a deposit. All you need to buy is a good pair of boots.
Where can I buy a good pair of boots for my child?
Your child can ask the Detachment Commander for advice and recommendations of local suppliers when he/she joins. Some members of the ACF find useful for purchasing equipment.
Will being in the ACF help my child if they want to join the Army in due course?
Yes. Joining the ACF provides a good insight into life in the Army and helps young people decide whether it is the right path for them. Cadets in the ACF get some military training and spend time on military training areas during annual camp. This gives them a great advantage over those new soldiers that have not had any cadet experience.
What is annual camp?
Annual camp is when everyone within your ACF county has the opportunity to go away for either one or two weeks during the school summer holidays to a military training camp somewhere in the UK. For many it is the highlight of their ACF year, when they can put into practice much of the theory they have learned during the previous 12 months.
Does my child have to have short hair?
It is not necessary to have short hair but if someone’s hair falls below collar length it will need to be tied back for cadets.
Does my child have to be a UK citizen to join as a cadet?
No, a child does do not have to be a UK citizen to join as a cadet.