Passing Out / Graduation Parades

Hello all,

A while back I mentioned I was implementing quarterly intakes for new recruits on the Sqn. We had 23 cadets come along to the induction nights, 16 came back for the first training night and all 16 are still with us. It’s was a challenge getting them all in uniform at once and fun getting to grips with the new first class logbooks but we’ve somehow managed it.

Anyways, the Training Flight have nearly completed their basic training and we would like to hold a Passing Out Parade for them on the last parade night of the year. Does anyone do this and have you a particular format you follow for it?

We would like to get them all to say the cadet promise, award them with their First Class Badge and Certificate and award a most improved student and best overall student. Parents are being invited this week to come along too.

Interested to hear your takes on it.


We run an entry system also, taking cadets twice per year. We have some of these parades on our YouTube account:

To give you an idea of format etc.

We do the cadet promise earlier on however, not at the same event

Your idea sounds good. I have seen these done as a stand alone parade, or as an extended final parade and both can work well.

One advantage of the final parade is that you are more likely to be able to have the whole squadron present to see the new recruiits pass out and join the mainstream sqn. Something I used to try and arrange was for the next intake to arrive a week before, so that they would winess the previous intake pass out, and have something tangible to aim for / look forward to.


We have 3 passout parades a year to the same general format:

Recruits & Parents/Family/Friends arrive into main hall
Parents receive briefing from Cdt Recruit Flt SNCO on the format of evening and H&S
Welcome from the OC
Cdt SNCO give a brief on their career and activities in ACO
Parents then watch drill display by their offspring
Parents watch Band display
Tea and cake with civllian committee
Presentation by uniformed staff on what recruits have done and what opportunities will be open to them, who the staff are, what to do when problems arise, finance etc
Chat from Civcom Chair about their role and invite to join committee
Outside for formal Final Parade
Recruits marched on as a Flight, fall out to receive 1st class badge from OC (they will have been enrolled some time before) fall into new Flight.
Award of Best Shot, Drill, Sports, Exams and Recruit
OC final address to Sqn and parents

Recruits will have been on Sqn around 6 months before the passout.
We use this as a big sell to the parents of the ethos and aims of the Sqn, what their offspring will get out of it, and what we expect. from them, and for the cadets to join the main Sqn.

I would have thought that the promise would have been done on enrolment.

What I would suggest is saying you’re dismissing early that night, do it on final parade and drag parents in out of their cars, as in my experience, sadly few parents are actually that bothered to turn up if invited, even if there is the promise of tea and stickies. I’ve done it like this and the parents are chuffed to see it, but I know had we invited them and laid on refreshments, they’d have been too busy letting us babysit.

We do it quarterly on OC’s parade. We use the first half of the evening for Padre’s hour, then the second half is the parade. This gives the padre the chance to go through the promise with them and explain the choice they have in it, as well as brief them on the ceremony.

We get them to fall out and march to the front in a line. They salute me, then the Padre explains to people watching the format (we do invite parents, but it will depend on space!). The cadets then say the promise after the padre, she says a few prayers and then they get given their 3822s. The march back in and bob’s your uncle.

We don’t get them to first class until 3 months after they enrol. It gives us some breathing space and makes sure we’ve got enough time to go through all junior cadet training with them.

I think the idea of ceremony is a really big deal. It’s their first chance to be on the receiving end of a formal parade, and it nicely formalises the process.

Thanks for the input so far. The cadets have already technically been enrolled on paper after their first uniform inspection. It just didn’t tie in well with when the padre was available to come in so they haven’t yet said the promise. This may not be the case the next time around. They are going to be issued their 3822s next week ahead of the parade the week after so right away they will already have an event to write into their activity log and I won’t have to give out too many things on the day.

One of the main reasons we decided to switch to quarterly intakes was to stop the staggered learning that the cadets working towards first class were undergoing. It made it difficult to stay on top of it especially when some cadets weren’t regular attendees. I also gave the training flight staff a challenge to complete the first class syllabus before Christmas. Keeping the pressure on has actually motivated them to start planning their lessons properly because they knew that they didn’t have buckets of extra time available. Especially with Drill which for some reason in the past seemed to take a very long time (4-6 months+) before they were ready for assessment. This new intake have their Drill Assessment this coming Tuesday and they are already at a much higher standard than previous cadets at this time.

It just so happens now that I’ve decided to drop from quarterly to 3 intakes a year. It means it gives us some time in between to ensure that we catch up on other things and a little chance to relax.

We originally planned to have a formal night and an informal Christmas celebration which parents were invited to both but we didn’t think that was very practical for them. So we have one parade night to do the passing out parade, nibbles and refreshments, then our annual quiz. The whole squadron will be present for the parade. Due to the dark winter nights we are using one of the school halls for the parade. I have dished out invitation letters to the training flight’s parents with a reply slip enclosed so we get a rough idea of numbers.

1900 Parents, cadets arrive, roll call.
1905 Brief for parents / Cadets form up.
1915 Squadron Review with Sect Cdr as RO.
1930 First Class Certificates and Badges awarded, awards for best recruit and most improved and short speech. (I don’t want too many awards for when we have smaller intakes)
1945 Parade fallout, tea, coffee and finger buffet
2000 Quiz
2055 Final words, pack up
2100 Squadron Dismissed