November 10, 2023
Lionheart School Senior Leader appointed to top Army Cadet Force RoleEvery year on Remembrance Day, over 900 students and staff at Lionheart’s Humphrey Perkins School in Barrow-upon-Soar, fall silent as they remember those lost in conflict and soldiers currently serving.
It’s an important day for everyone, that benefits from the guidance of Team Leader for Holistic Development, Kris Cross, alongside the school’s 50-strong Army Cadet Detachment, which Kris also supports. The school come together for an outdoor service, with pupils in the Army Cadet Force (ACF) proudly wearing their ACF uniform. They observe a two-minute silence which is initiated by the poignant playing of The Last Post.
As a teenager, Kris benefited from joining the Cadets, gaining much-needed direction for his future and experiencing fantastic opportunities. This later led him to become a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer in 1996, seeing Kris continue to support ever since, both ‘on the ground’ and, in recent years, more strategically.
Kris joined Humphrey Perkins School as a staff member 12 years ago, setting up a Cadet Detachment to offer affordable and inclusive opportunities for young people, as well as use its guiding values to improve behaviour and positive engagement in school.
In recent years, Kris has enjoyed a more strategic voluntary role with the ACF - outside of his day-to-day role at Humphrey Perkins - as Regional Sergeant Major-HQ Central, East Midlands & East Anglia. Coupled with his many years of experience volunteering for the ACF, it’s the success he’s achieved in supporting Cadet units around the region to deliver the experience to young people that has now earned him a prestigious role.
From December 2023, Kris will proudly take up the voluntary role of Army Cadets National Command Sergeant Major Instructor, supporting the leadership of the entire Army Cadet Force in the UK. He will help to support 1600 Cadet units, 9500 adult volunteers and 41,000 Cadets across the UK. What’s more, Kris is the first non-regular serving soldier appointed to the post and will undertake the role voluntarily, in his own time, while continuing to dedicate himself to Humphrey Perkins School and its pupils.
Kris said: “I am honoured to take up this role and look forward to making an even bigger impact across the UK, ensuring young people continue to benefit from such rewarding experiences that come with being part of the Army Cadet Force.”
Opportunities for young people
With over 30 years of involvement with the ACF - as a teenage Cadet and latterly an adult volunteer - Kris is understandably a huge advocate of the opportunities it brings to young people. Available for young people aged 12-18, the Army Cadet Force enables participants to experience a range of activities in military-based skills, such as first aid, youth leadership and volunteering, allowing them to gain many skills that transfer well into educational success and later help with getting into employment.
The ACF also leads young people through a set of values and standards, which Kris acknowledges are not only a fantastic guide for young people, but also qualities that he benefits from sharing with pupils at Humphrey Perkins through his daily work. They are courage, respect for others, discipline, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.
Kris has many success stories to tell, that demonstrate how he uses his experience with the Army Cadet Force in ensuring the holistic development of pupils at Humphrey Perkins School. Over the years, when Kris has identified pupils struggling with direction, or in need of behaviour guidance, he’s recommended the ACF in addition to in-school support, which has helped give them a renewed focus and passion to succeed.
Reflecting on his own early years as a Cadet, Kris commented: “As a young teenager from a single parent family, a free school meals student and someone who initially struggled socially at school, the Army Cadet Force brought me a sense of belonging and purpose and helped me develop many skills for life. It helped to develop my confidence and inspired me to achieve and develop my leadership skills.”
He continued: “The ACF not only offers inclusive activities that are military themed, but it also provides experiences and qualifications that are recognised in the wider working world, such as community service, BTEC qualifications, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, First Aid and much, much more! Simply put, the Army Cadet Force helps to develop young people to be the very best they can be!”
What’s more, the ACF are dedicated to ensuring it is accessible to all young people, with each weekly session typically just £1 to attend. Cadets are also supplied with two sets of uniform, free of charge, and have opportunities to experience activity camps and trips which are heavily subsidised through Army funding.
Fun. Adventurous. Affordable. Guiding. Value-developing. Skill-building. Friendship-making. What more reason does a young person need to give it a go?
Find your nearest Cadet unit, to join or to volunteer at, by visiting https://armycadets.com/
As for Mr Cross, we’re immensely proud of his achievement outside of work and thankful for all he does for Humphrey Perkins School and its pupils each day.