Providing evidence of the social impact of Cadet Forces in schools, leading to the continuation of the Cadet Expansion Programme

Impact: Public policy impacts, Social impacts, 03: Good Health and Well-Being (UN SDG), 04: Quality Education (UN SDG), 10: Reduced Inequalities (UN SDG)

Description of impact

The research provided evidence to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Department for Education (DfE) of the efficacy of the Cadet Expansion Programme in schools and its social impact. This led directly to the continuation of the programme and its support by the MOD and DfE. Additionally, the research has informed the MOD's conversations with other government departments/agencies, including OFSTED. The research has been disseminated and launched at the highest levels of government, including by two Defence Secretaries and being presented in the Prime Minister's Office, and has had a clear and unambiguous effect on government policy in this area.

For example, during questions to the Defence Ministers In the British Parliament's House of Commons, the Ministry of Defence was asked about its ambition to add 500 cadet force units in Comprehensive Schools. In response Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, praised the research, stating 'The University of Northampton’s research into the social impact of cadet forces, including those in state schools, suggests that membership can increase social mobility and help children reach their potential because of the activities they undertake. That is precisely why this has been such a successful process.'


Ministry of Defence, Combined Cadet Force Association, Department for Education, Schools, Young People

How have research outputs led to this impact?

In July 2016 the Ministry of Defence (MOD), on behalf of the the Combined Cadet Force Association (CCFA), commissioned the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact (ISII) at the University of Northampton (UoN) to undertake a four-year study designed to help understand the social impact of the spending on cadets and the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP), as well as the benefits of the qualifications provided by CVQO, a UK education charity and learning provider.

As there is no universally accepted definition of what social impact constitutes, the brief agreed with the project Commissioners, that underpins the project is: “using Government data and figures, and data gathered through original research, the project will measure and report on the economic and social benefits delivered by the Cadet Forces to individuals and society”.

The financial value of every aspect of social impact delivered by the four MOD-sponsored Cadet Forces (Sea Cadet Corps, Combined Cadet Force, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps) is not possible to quantify exactly (future reports will improve the reporting of financial benefit). However, the evidence gathered for the first interim report clearly demonstrates that the value of the social impact that Cadet Forces deliver is vastly greater than their annual cost. These benefits go across Government departments and are clearly relevant to Defence, Education, Social Services, HMRC and the Cabinet Office. Cadet Forces deliver impact that is directly relevant to the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘shared society’ and clearly contributes to increasing social mobility and decreasing social disadvantage. Future research will seek to substantiate these early findings and explore the social impact of the CEP in state schools across the UK.
Impact statusCompleted
Impact date8 Oct 2019
Category of impactPublic policy impacts, Social impacts, 03: Good Health and Well-Being (UN SDG), 04: Quality Education (UN SDG), 10: Reduced Inequalities (UN SDG)
Impact levelMature Impact