Relationships between staff cadets

I have been asked a question by two of our staff cadets. Both are 19, one due to age out at the end of the year, the other mid-way through next year. They are dating at the moment. One is a CWO, the other a Cpl. They understand completely about the rules regarding cadet association during cadet activities, to the point where no-one on the squadron has any inkling that they are going out, apart from their cadet siblings! Their question - the rules regarding relationships between cadets and staff are different and understandably so. The one who ages out at the end of the year is doing to go straight into adult staff as an NCO. So where does that leave them for the next 6 months? According to the rules, they shouldnt be in a relationship but, other than continuing to keep it very quiet, the other option is that the other cadet leaves the corp. That has been said to me, as the option of breaking up temporarily isnt one they wish to do.

Has anyone else had this on their squadrons? I cant imagine its a new problem! Any thoughts, signposting to stuff on sharepoint gratefully accepted

If your Wing follows the good practice of sending the Sgt (ATC) away to another sqn for a few months (that they can access fairly easily) for their development… Then that could help as they’re not on the same Sqn.

This is one that has come up time and again and will continue to do so and there is no exact answer and it’s another reason that over 18 cadets cause issues.

The rules are pretty rigid that it’s forbidden that being said the general options which come up are:

1 of them leaves the Corps until they are both 20.
The one becoming staff does so at another unit for 6 months.
They are both adults so continue as before as long as they are mature enough not to do anything silly on a Cadet activity.

I would tend to lean towards option 3 but tat would very much depend on the maturity of the cadets.

I’d go for Option 2 before 3.

The staff going to another unit will help get them out of cadet mode a little, and perhaps help their development if they are given something to lead.

I don’t agree that sending people to other units is necessarily a good policy, we took a stand in my old Wing against it and had it stopped as it unnecessarily disrupted the losing unit.

Let them carry on and just have the mum/dad chat about keeping it ‘down’ on cadet activities. But then that means the staff giving the chat are suitably experienced.

You have alluded to the fact that they are sensible enough already to keep it quiet, to the extent hardly anyone knows. That says to me they are sensible enough to carry on in the same vein as staff.

I don’t see that this needs any intervention at all. They are behaving appropriately, and let them continue.

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Thank you for all your replies, really helpful. The CWO is already at uni and goes to the local unit and will probably transfer there for at least 6 months. Tbh, it will do that cadet the power of good to be somewhere different for a while, a mature cadet, but would benefit from a different environment after being with us since 13!

I can reassure them that their relationship is not going to be affected, unless its by each other and it runs its natural course!

I don’t know why in the ATC we get so het up about this.
The school I work in has a 6th Form and no one bats an eyelid about student relationships, not even the CP lead.

We should take our lead from what happens outside our sphere.

I would suggest they would have an issue if it was a student teacher though which is a bit closer to this scenario.

That is just soooooo wrong on so may levels.

Your name says retired, how long ago was that?

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These are storms in teacups.

This isn’t a relationship between a member of staff and a cadet, it is two cadets. By the time the older one ages out given the fickle nature of relationships it could be historic or another few months and the younger one hits 20 and no one gives a stuff.

If either weren’t cadets would it even get mentioned, regardless of ages?

If this was someone who was say 25+ who habitually had relationships with younger people (regardless of any youth organisation connection), then I could see something to get concerned about. Tell 'em to crack on and if anyone sticks their beak in, tell them to get stuffed.

That isn’t the point though is it? While I see no moral problem with the relationship, the rules would say that a cadet and a member of adult staff cannot be in a relationship, regardless of their ages. Again it will only be for a short period of time, but it is still against the rules. When do we stop turning a blind eye? To be honest I cannot see why the old one cannot just take 6 months out after ageing out and wait for the younger one to leave.

Perhaps if they weren’t referred to as “staff cadets” it would be a bit simpler!

Well the guidance on this I got at cranwell that IF they were in a relationship prior to one of them becoming staff then the cadet becoming staff should inform their OC of this and Theo OC should note it and the 2 can continue their relationship.

The only reason the OC needs to note is that in the event they are spotted on a date and someone questions it they can then back up their story.

This was the same discussion my Wso had with one of my cadets who was becoming staff and he asked if they were in a relationship and why he asked that

Common sense needs to apply

Given that these are legal relationships between adults I am left wondering why it is of any real concern to HQAC and why they cannot simply write a footnote into their rules acknowledging the situation. We are talking about a breach of the ACO’s self-made rules, nothing else.


So turning a blind eye to people who are contemporaries is wrong? Where is the common sense?

OK if they are still an item when the older one hits 20, start report it to the police and insist commencing prosecution proceedings, as they are doing something so wrong. I don’t think the Police or CPS would bother.

If anyone made a thing of it and suggested taking a break, moving or similar the older one could just as well say stuff it. Who loses? In fact I’d expect it over something so trivial. If it were on my sqn speak to them both advise some of the small mindedness they may experience for a few months is all you’d need to say. I imagine they’re probably linked on several social media sites, for those with nothing else better to do.

Maybe if we in the ATC didn’t persist with the nonsense of cadets over 18.

I never said they were committing a crime, they aren’t. My point is it is against the rules of the organisation. I’m not saying it is right, but that is the way it is!

This has been interesting to follow and mirrors the dilemma faced by the two of them. At the beginning of 2017, CWO will have aged out and become staff and will be at a different squadron (will suit proximity to uni), in a different sector, in the same Wing. There is a slim chance that, as cadets, they could be at the same events, but unlikely, as younger cadet works full-time, including weekends, which often excludes that cadet from participation.

Thoughts? I know rules are rules, but is there not a common sense solution to what is likely to a problem occurring likely to occur again, even if not with our squadron?

My view is that their self imposed solution is entirely satisfactory, to expect people to put their lives on hold for 6 months based on a rule that is badly written (it should have contingencies like this written into it) is quite frankly silly.

If I were the OC I would be happy to let such a relationship continue as it predates the older one becoming staff, we have to use discretion and judgement in enforcing the rules and in this case the sensible solution is blatantly obvious.

It could even be argued that as long as the relationship stays outside the organisation Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (The right to a Private & Family life) could be used to tell the ACO where to go.