Parent & Carer FAQs

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

When can my child join the ACF?
They will need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school in England and Wales or year 9 in Northern Ireland and Scotland to join the Army Cadets. So, a child aged 12 on 1 September at the start of year 8 at school can apply to join the ACF.
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.
What does it cost to be a cadet?
Thanks to the support of the Army we can keep the costs of being in the ACF very low. There will be costs for attending weekend training camps, annual camps and other activities, but we try to keep these as low as possible. Parade nights in detachments are free, but some detachments may request a small weekly subscription to go towards detachment events and visits.
How much does the uniform cost?
All cadets are provided with uniform while they are in the ACF which is returned when they leave. There is no charge for this, although you may be asked for a returnable deposit. We do not provide boots and you will need to buy a pair for your child when they join. Your local detachment volunteer team will be able to advise on where you can find these.
Which days and times do the cadets meet?
All of our detachment meet for two hours on one or two evenings a week throughout the year. These are called parade nights. The days and times vary, but most detachment evenings start between 7pm and 7.30pm.
Cadets will also meet for weekend camps, competitions and other training. Your local detachment volunteer team will be able to give you more information on what activities your child can get involved with.
What is annual camp?
Each year, ACF cadets are invited to join an Annual Camp and go away with other cadets in their ACF County for up to two weeks during the school holidays. For most cadets, Annual Camp is the highlight of their year with the ACF.
Each Annual Camp is different, but all cadets will get to learn new skills as well as put into practice some of the lessons they have learnt in detachments.
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.
How do you make sure my child will be safe when with the ACF?
We have processes in place to keep our cadets safe when they are with the ACF. Each adult volunteer undergoes an enhanced disclosure check (previously known as a criminal records check) when they join the ACF and at regular intervals while they remain with us. We also have strict rules about how cadets are supervised, and every adult volunteer receives training in how to deal with safeguarding incidents when they happen.
We do not tolerate any form of bullying or discrimination in the ACF and have simple methods in place for cadets to report these to our volunteers who are trained on how to deal with incidents.
The safety of cadets on events and activities is supported by a team of national and regional training teams, as well as a full-time Training Safety Adviser in every ACF County, who together make sure that training is conducted as safely as possible while still being exciting and challenging.
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.
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.