The Army Officer Selection Board identifies leadership potential, and the purpose of the 44-week Commissioning Course is to develop this by expanding an Officer Cadet's character, intellect and professional skills. At the end of the course a newly-commissioned Officer will be qualified to lead and manage soldiers while at the same time upholding the British Army's core values of selfless commitment, respect for others, loyalty, integrity, discipline and courage.
The days of Sandhurst being full of cadets educated at private schools have passed and now more than 50% of cadets come from state-funded education, with around 90% holding university degrees. There is normally one female platoon per intake. Military training is infantry-based so that everyone, no matter what their eventual regiment or corps, will have mastered the core essentials before they go on to more specialised training after Sandhurst.
Overall, the core objectives of the Commissioning Course are:
- To develop commanders of courage and willpower, with the temperament for decisive action in difficult and dangerous circumstances.
- To foster attitudes to integrity, selflessness and loyalty which set the soldier apart from others.
- To teach Officer Cadets how to think and communicate as commanders and to foster a deep interest and care for the individual.
- To achieve a grounding in British Military Doctrine and its significance in all forms of conflict.
- To encourage the analysis of strategic and war studies as a foundation to military thought and wisdom.
- To train Officer Cadets in the basic skills and battlefield disciplines of soldiering.
The Commissioning Course is accredited by various academic and professional institutions.