Relationships between staff cadets


With the move to staff cadets being more staff, my opinion is it should be:

18+ + >18 = fine
<18 + >18 = not fine
<18 + <18 = fine

Those relationships between people <18 when one turns 18 cease = one swaps squadrons or they don’t become staff.


So what the difference between staying on the same squadron and moving to another; still a case of an over 18 in a relationship with an under 18.


Well they won’t be directly influencing each other if they’re not parading at the same squadron. I appreciate it wouldn’t be perfect at wing events but day to day it would remove the issue.


I am curious as to precisely what “the issue” is, in real, practical terms.


Also, I should have added that I meant for relationships where one is 16+ and the other turns 18. If one is under 16 then I wouldn’t have them as a staff cadet.


Fair point.


I can say for people who want to seem progressive etc, there seems to be some very staid and if not puritanical in their views about teenage relationships.

How many here spouting the ‘it shouldn’t ever happen’ line have sons/daughters who are in the ‘offending’ age groups and do their views of what should and shouldn’t happen, happen at home. Believe me when I say try the puritanical approach here at home, be prepared for a tantrum and defiance. There is no difference between your 15/16 yo daughter’s head being turned by an 18/19 yo lad with a motorbike or car, or, your 21 yo son going out with a 17 yo, than the same situation happening in the ATC, ie adults in relationships with minors. Except in real life we don’t have people making up some rules based arbitrary notions, of positions of trust etc. TBH these relationships blow over after a little while, so let them run their course. Since having girls in the Corps I can’t recall a situation where one or more boys/girls haven’t ‘gone through the sqn’ and back again in terms of teen relationships. Mind you that happened at school and 6th Form so why the ATC is going to be or expected to be different, when the age groups concerned are a cauldron of hormones, I don’t know. It would be abnormal if it were.

I just hope the stone throwers here were as ‘pure’ in their early relationships and didn’t find themselves in a relationship outside the boundaries they see fit to impose, because the club suggests it. Otherwise the glaziers will be busy.

The ultimate guidance in all of these situations is parents not us.

It is also worth pointing out that we only control about 2% of their week so what happens outside of this has nothing to do with us. Which is why it’s about the parents and not us.

What would be people’s reactions if an 18/19 yo or either gender was ‘going out’ with a 16 yo of either gender, and said it was inappropriate, but then they just carried on outside the sqn?


Well the issue as we’ve said isn’t one of law, it’s one of morals and organisational rules.

If it happens outside of the squadron and is legal, I potentially wouldn’t know and definitely wouldn’t care.

If it breaks an organisational rule, I’m aware of it on squadron then I’d follow our ruleset.

Ultimately if people are sensible they can just not let me see or find out and this doesn’t crop up.


Morals are a sketchy thing at the best of times and in order for us to be moralistic we ourselves need to be beyond reproach.

Organisational rules are equally sketchy and have to be applied scrupulously in all things, not just as and when it suits.

I’ve known of a number of staff in extra marital relationships. Could someone if they were a CO, WSO, RSO, Wg Cdr etc through the CoC in one of these apply notional club rules about cadet relationships or anything on rule / moralistic basis, as there is a definite do as I say, not as I do perspective.

The best we can do in these situations is say ‘leave it at the gate’.


Whilst the situation you describe is immoral (providing it’s deceitful and not all parties are aware or happy of course), the ACO doesn’t have any rules on that other than it maybe falling under some loose thing like bringing the organisation into disrepute or conduct unbecoming (I’m being silly).

The ACO does have a policy for adult/non adult people in relationships however, which is why we follow it.


Quite a number of years ago, I was a member of Young Farmers (yes, I’ll own up to that one; that’s why I was never in ATC but it definitely had its fringe benefits :wink: ). An organisation for individuals aged between 13 and 26, not necessarily with a farming background. Yes it had a dubious reputation, especially for drinking and the National Convention. Was anything ever said about relationships between teenagers and twenty-somethings, no as it was just taken in their stride, within reason.

Even now, there nothing on their website about DBS clearance, check of any sort. This is an organisation with over 25,000 people involved in over 600 clubs around the country.


I know there are some oddballs out there who like “open relationships”, the majority would be less than impressed.

I think it is far worse than inter-cadet relationships, because of the potential fall out and breaking up of families.


Just to throw something into the mix here - we’re all looking at relationships in the ATC here, between Cadets and Staff Cadets.
What about our brethren in CCF(RAF)? AFAIK, they don’t have Staff Cadets, but still have Cadets aged 18.


Are you saying this is a good thing?


Far from it pEp, just that there is an inconsistency across organisations where minors are involved. In this age of tinterent, it is surprising just how many individuals fall foul of modern rules and regulations.

What happened back then, whilst known about, was not controlled. For us the rules are straight forward, abide by them or leave; simple. No trying to read between the lines or make individual interpretation of what they think it says/or might say.

If a relationship between an over 18 and under 18 is not allowed, then its not allowed and moving to another squadron is also not allowed. An over 18 cadet signs on under certain stipulations and if they form a relationship, they should be reminded of their duties as an over 18 cadet; if that means being blunt (break up or leave) then that has be put on the table during discussions. The only caveat to this is if one of the parties turns 18 during a long term relationship and the second is still below 18; then that has to be managed with OC Sqn being fully aware of situation and content in case questions come down CoC.

This brings into focus the whole ‘over 18’ cadet issue. Topping out at 18 resolves the whole issue. Cadets are cadets and staff are staff.


Ending at 18, still doesn’t stop the relationships forming, but you can end up kicking them out, to what end?

If they were kicked out, would it be put into the hands of the constabulary to take action? Thus ensuring they, potentially can’t join a similar organisation?

Does it stop the relationship, probably not, it only means it’s not in the organisation and we can sleep easy. We’ve aligned our moral compass and everything is fine.

It does seem when there is so much wrong with the organisation is general, that people still get excited about this, when all that is needed is a fatherly or motherly chat, as long as those administering them are experienced enough to deliver that chat.


I agree with Teflon - we get too wound-up in our own self importance here. Let’s take an extreme example where you could have two cadets who are married and the moment one of them reaches 18 are we really going to kick him/her out? Get real. (Yes, there’s the bit in ACP 4 about positions of trust)

This is all about being sensible, measured, balanced or whatever.

PS. When I was first a cadet we a) didn’t have girls b) had cadets (CWO) up to the age of 22.


A few years after I left 6th Form there were 2 students (girl 16, boy 17) who had got married in the summer hols. It raised a few eyebrows according to one of my old teachers, but the college took it in their stride.

The CO would seek guidance and HQAC would implode, suspending the pair while they decided what to do.


Would we not comply with Article 8 by not allowing one of them to be a member of the Corps equally?


Wouldn’t Article 14 be more appropriate (Prohibition of Discrimination)? That’s an Absolute article but Article 8 is a Limited one.