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Army Training Centre Pirbright (ATC (P)) delivers the 14 week training course known as the Common Military Syllabus (CMS) which is completed by all adult recruits (age 17+) when they join the Army.

The course is designed to develop individual and team skills with the emphasis over the 14 weeks on robust fitness, operational shooting and fieldcraft, which is conducted in a progressive manner, preparing recruits for their Phase 2 training, where they learn the specific skills for their chosen trade in the Army.

Recruits coming to ATC Pirbright may find the following notes and the downloadable exercise on the right useful.


Recruits will learn how to live and operate stealthily in the field during the day and at night. Recruits start with the basics of constructing a shelter, feeding in the field, maintaining themselves and their weapon, and personal camouflage. As the course progresses, recruits master locating the enemy and how to indicate targets, patrolling skills, obstacle crossing, and fire and movement as an individual and as part of a four man team.

Skill at Arms

Recruits will learn how to safely handle the 5.56mm Rifle, how it works and how to strip and clean it, they will be taught marksmanship and fighting at close quarters with a bayonet attached. Most people will never have fired a weapon before, however, once the basic skills are mastered, recruits will be fully proficient in engaging targets up to 200m in different Combat positions and at Close Quarters 3 – 12m.

Physical Development

Throughout the course recruits carry out a wide range of physical development activities which challenge them at a workable pace. Lessons are varied and progressive, with Strength & Conditioning, Aerobic Development, Load Carriage, Endurance Runs, swimming sessions, Combat PT and Battle PT where you will tackle the Assault Course. Recruits also have the use of a fully-equipped gymnasium during the 14 week CMS.

Qualities of a British Soldier

The Army operates by a set of strict values and standards which instills pride, professionalism and discipline in our men and women. Recruits learn not only what the values and standards are, but more importantly what they mean, and how they apply to their conduct. Our values and standards are what make the difference between a civilian and a soldier, and are a pivotal part of Army life.

Military Knowledge

Recruits are taught about the varied roles of the Army in deployed locations across the world. This helps recruits understand their own role and those of the cap badge they have chosen to join, and allows them to see the many different places they can look forward to seeing in the future.

Battlefield Casualty Drills

This part of the syllabus introduces recruits to basic first aid as well as treatment of injuries specific to the battlefield. Recruits learn in a classroom before practicing their skills in realistic training. Many of the skills learned can help save lives, either in the Army or while off duty.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN)

Recruits will learn how to recognize the CBRN threat, hazards and Identify weapon characteristics, capabilities and effects and will learn how to carry out individual protection measures necessary to survive a CBRN attack.

Individual Health

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows recruits to function well and minimises the chances of illness or injury. During this part of the course recruits receive advice on diet and nutrition, looking after themselves in hot and cold environments, and how to prevent injuries.


The education support recruits receive is designed to prepare them better for military training. Recruits are encouraged to apply what they have learnt in the classroom to practical problems. For those who already have good English and Math’s skills, there are opportunities to improve their learning skills and gain a better awareness of the military and its many roles in supporting the Government. Learning is relevant to the recruit's future job and supports their chances of success in training and promotion throughout their Army career.