Compulsory Cycle Training

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Bertie Wiggins, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Given a recent dearth of non-troll, topical arguments, here is one to
    consider.

    For the last year I have been running National Standard cycle training
    courses for pupils, parents and staff at the 500 pupil and staff Inner
    London primary school where I am a teacher. Last week I counted the
    number of bikes in the cycle storage area during a visit by a
    represenative from the Cycle London Promotional Partnership (CLPP),
    who partially fund cycle training, there were 35, suggesting that 7%
    of staff and pupils cycle to school, up from 1% (5) a year ago. I
    fully expect that percentage to double to 15% by the end of the Summer
    Term.

    So far, only Year 6 children (11 year olds) have had cycle training,
    next term it will be Year 5 (10 year olds) and in the Summer Term,
    Year 4 (9 year olds). Cycle training is optional, and about 50% of
    children choose to take part in the training.

    Training is split into four categories:

    Level 1A - absolute beginner
    Level 1B - control skills
    Level 2 - on-road cycling
    Level 3 - "advanced" on-road cycling

    It is school policy that all children, Year 2 (age 7) and over, be
    entitled to Level 1 training; all children, year 4 and over, be
    entitled to Level 2 training; and some children in Year 6 be offered
    Level 3 training.

    Implementing this policy is hard work: Year 6 children need Level 1,
    2 & 3 training; Year 4 & 5 children need Level 1 & 2 training; Year 2
    & 3 children need Level 1 training before the policy is fully
    implemented. Thereafter, it will be easier to sustain the policy.

    The school policy is not due for review until June 2007, and by then
    the current policy should be fully implemented. I am already thinking
    of ways to increase the uptake rate from 50%. One change I'm
    considering putting to the governors is making Level 1 training opt
    out, rather than opt in. Thus, instead of asking parents if they want
    their child to have Level 1 training, they are asked if they don't
    want their child to have Level 1 training. This would put cycle
    training on a par with swimming lessons and sex education, and just
    below that of religious education, where parents aren't specifically
    offered a choice, but can withdraw their child from RE lessons.

    Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    objections am I likely to come up against?
     
    Tags:


  2. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 14:36:24 +0000, Bertie Wiggins
    <[email protected]> said in
    <[email protected]>:

    >Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    >probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    >objections am I likely to come up against?


    Honestly? I have no idea. It's a brilliant notion. Actually I think
    you should let us know what objections you /do/ get, so we can help
    you counter them.

    Guy
    --
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    "To every complex problem there is a solution which is
    simple, neat and wrong" - HL Mencken
     
  3. > Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    > probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    > objections am I likely to come up against?


    Practicalities: have you enough staff, bikes, space, time, equipment etc
    for the increase in numbers?

    Insurance-y fears: Does opt out change anything?

    Insecure, control-freakery, conservative objections: You're suggesting a
    <shudders> *change* </shudders> in policy.

    Informed objections: None.
     
  4. wafflycat

    wafflycat Guest

    "Bertie Wiggins" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Given a recent dearth of non-troll, topical arguments, here is one to
    > consider.
    >
    > For the last year I have been running National Standard cycle training
    > courses for pupils, parents and staff at the 500 pupil and staff Inner
    > London primary school where I am a teacher. Last week I counted the
    > number of bikes in the cycle storage area during a visit by a
    > represenative from the Cycle London Promotional Partnership (CLPP),
    > who partially fund cycle training, there were 35, suggesting that 7%
    > of staff and pupils cycle to school, up from 1% (5) a year ago. I
    > fully expect that percentage to double to 15% by the end of the Summer
    > Term.
    >
    > So far, only Year 6 children (11 year olds) have had cycle training,
    > next term it will be Year 5 (10 year olds) and in the Summer Term,
    > Year 4 (9 year olds). Cycle training is optional, and about 50% of
    > children choose to take part in the training.
    >
    > Training is split into four categories:
    >
    > Level 1A - absolute beginner
    > Level 1B - control skills
    > Level 2 - on-road cycling
    > Level 3 - "advanced" on-road cycling
    >
    > It is school policy that all children, Year 2 (age 7) and over, be
    > entitled to Level 1 training; all children, year 4 and over, be
    > entitled to Level 2 training; and some children in Year 6 be offered
    > Level 3 training.
    >
    > Implementing this policy is hard work: Year 6 children need Level 1,
    > 2 & 3 training; Year 4 & 5 children need Level 1 & 2 training; Year 2
    > & 3 children need Level 1 training before the policy is fully
    > implemented. Thereafter, it will be easier to sustain the policy.
    >
    > The school policy is not due for review until June 2007, and by then
    > the current policy should be fully implemented. I am already thinking
    > of ways to increase the uptake rate from 50%. One change I'm
    > considering putting to the governors is making Level 1 training opt
    > out, rather than opt in. Thus, instead of asking parents if they want
    > their child to have Level 1 training, they are asked if they don't
    > want their child to have Level 1 training. This would put cycle
    > training on a par with swimming lessons and sex education, and just
    > below that of religious education, where parents aren't specifically
    > offered a choice, but can withdraw their child from RE lessons.
    >
    > Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    > probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    > objections am I likely to come up against?
     
  5. wafflycat

    wafflycat Guest

    "Bertie Wiggins" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    >
    > Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    > probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    > objections am I likely to come up against?


    As a parent who encouraged her offspring to cycle, the biggest objection I
    came across from other parents has been that my parenting skills are somehow
    lacking as I am allowing my offspring to do something that is so obviously
    dangerous... I mean, all that dangerous traffic out there means they could
    only see that transporting their little darlings by car was the right thing
    to do... I think you *might* come across a similar attitude that it's far
    too dangerous a thing to be encouraging our little darlings to do.

    Best of luck.

    Cheers, helen s
     
  6. p.k.

    p.k. Guest

    Bertie Wiggins wrote:
    > Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    > probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    > objections am I likely to come up against?



    As an ex-governor:

    1. Sex ed, RE and swimming are there because Schools HAVE to provide these
    as part of the National Curriculum. Cycling is a "good thing" and to be
    encouraged. But curriculum time is full as it is. An op-out activity would
    have to be done in normal curriculum time not out of school hours. Taking
    time out of curriculum time for cycling cannot be justified


    2. You would be setting a dangerous precedent for the school. You are there
    and driving this, you move on and the school would then be faced with
    staffing or dropping something they had defined as so important is had to be
    opt-out.


    pk
     
  7. wafflycat wrote nothing.

    Boosting your on/off topic ratio by 'accidentally' pressing the send button
    are we?

    On the other hand a link to .jpg's of Norfolk's famous Cycling Christmas
    Tree...
     
  8. wafflycat

    wafflycat Guest

    "Mark Thompson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > wafflycat wrote nothing.
    >
    > Boosting your on/off topic ratio by 'accidentally' pressing the send
    > button
    > are we?
    >
    > On the other hand a link to .jpg's of Norfolk's famous Cycling Christmas
    > Tree...


    oops, pardon i ;-)

    Haven't got any .jpgs of the bent avec tinsel, but as the tinsel is
    remaining on my trusty Mr Norbert Frosty for the duration of the festive
    season, there'll prolly be a pic of it at some time...

    Cheers, helen s
     
  9. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, p.k.
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > 1. Sex ed, RE and swimming are there because Schools HAVE to provide
    > these as part of the National Curriculum. Cycling is a "good thing" and
    > to be encouraged.


    Then should we not be campaigning to have cycling put /on/ the National
    Curriculum, perhaps bundled with a package of 'road safety skills'? It
    would be a damn' sight more useful and practical than many of the things
    we teach our kids!

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ;; I'll have a proper rant later, when I get the time.
     
  10. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    > Honestly? I have no idea. It's a brilliant notion. Actually I think
    > you should let us know what objections you /do/ get, so we can help
    > you counter them.


    In view of the thread topic (and I had to read the OP twice to
    distinguish the actual proposal from that) ...

    Don't prejudge the issue - you'll only get backs up. The child who
    already knows it all (and maybe already has some formal training such
    as cycling proficiency) could get very p***ed off, making it
    counterproductive in exactly the same way as silly hats.
    Being treated as a baby (because someone in authority required it)
    was a bugbear of my childhood, and only serves to alienate.

    School example: at the end of primary school (age 10), we all had
    to read one of the school's own books. But they were nearly all
    "baby books", of the large-ish print and pictures type; horribly
    demeaning to a ten year old (the few exceptions, such as Biggles
    books, were quickly snapped up and unavailable). Being told at
    that age one absolutely must read a baby-book and any alternative
    is not allowed was deeply humiliating.

    Travel example: at around the same age, I travelled a number of
    times between different parts of the family in England and Sweden.
    As an "unaccompanied minor", I got some ghastly nanny-state-mandated
    adult designated to look after me. Again, humiliating and alienating.

    If cycle training had appeared in a similar context, it might
    have *provoked* me to rebel by riding courier-style or somesuch,
    or just put me off riding altogether.

    That's a generation ago, and I can only imagine things have got
    worse for todays children. Don't make it worse than it already is!

    --
    Nick Kew
     
  11. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:01:22 GMT, Mark Thompson
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    >> probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    >> objections am I likely to come up against?

    >
    >Practicalities: have you enough staff, bikes, space, time, equipment etc
    >for the increase in numbers?


    We currently have 4 bikes suitable for 7 year olds. This would need
    to be increased to 10 at a cost of about £400 (the trade price for a
    Raleigh Striker is about £60, Raleigh Hot Rod about £75).

    I expect that compulsory training would involve 10 children at a time
    being withdrawn from normal physical education lessons for two
    consecutive weeks. As cycle training is still physical education, I'd
    expect that withdrawing them from normal PE lessons would not be an
    issue.

    Space and other equipment are not an issue. Staffing costs are.
    Releasing a class teacher from normal class teaching costs about £40
    per hour. Using instructors who are not qualified teachers with
    younger children may raise other difficulties, however, non teacher
    instructors can work with a teacher/instructor.

    >Insurance-y fears: Does opt out change anything?


    No. This was looked into in some detail when the policy was first
    discussed. The local authority's public liability insurance is very
    comprehensive. The only gap in the insurance is when a child borrows
    a pool bicycle and damages property while practicing in their own
    time. Below is an extract of the response I got when I enquired about
    insurance:

    1. A bicycle is stolen - covered.
    2. A child is injured out of school as a result the handle bars
    falling off - covered by LBL's/School's liability policy
    3. A child is injured during the cycle training - covered by
    LBL/School's liability policy.
    4. A child runs into the side of a parked car when practicing at home
    - not covered by LBL/school.
    5. A child runs into a pedestrian and knocks them over when practicing
    in the street - not covered by LBL/school.

    >Insecure, control-freakery, conservative objections: You're suggesting a
    ><shudders> *change* </shudders> in policy.


    It is usual for policy to be reviewed bi-annually.

    >Informed objections: None.
     
  12. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:06:28 +0000 (UTC), "wafflycat"
    <w*a*ff£y£cat*@£btco*nn£ect.com> wrote:

    >> Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    >> probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    >> objections am I likely to come up against?

    >
    >As a parent who encouraged her offspring to cycle, the biggest objection I
    >came across from other parents has been that my parenting skills are somehow
    >lacking as I am allowing my offspring to do something that is so obviously
    >dangerous... I mean, all that dangerous traffic out there means they could
    >only see that transporting their little darlings by car was the right thing
    >to do... I think you *might* come across a similar attitude that it's far
    >too dangerous a thing to be encouraging our little darlings to do.


    Level 1 training is playground based. At the moment, I am not
    considering making Level 2 training compulsory, that would be for the
    distant future - but a nice idea.
     
  13. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:47:21 +0000, Nick Kew
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    Nick,

    >If cycle training had appeared in a similar context, it might
    >have *provoked* me to rebel by riding courier-style or somesuch,
    >or just put me off riding altogether.


    What I am proposing is compulsory (well, nearly) cycle control skills
    for six and seven year olds. At the age of seven children spend PE
    lessons balancing bean bags on their heads. Riding a bike for a
    couple of lessons is not going to put them off cycling.
     
  14. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:08:06 +0000 (UTC), "p.k."
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >1. Sex ed, RE and swimming are there because Schools HAVE to provide these
    >as part of the National Curriculum. Cycling is a "good thing" and to be
    >encouraged. But curriculum time is full as it is. An op-out activity would
    >have to be done in normal curriculum time not out of school hours. Taking
    >time out of curriculum time for cycling cannot be justified


    My reply to that argument would be that PE is part of the national
    curriculum and teaching someone to cycle is as much physical education
    as teaching someone to play football.

    >2. You would be setting a dangerous precedent for the school. You are there
    >and driving this, you move on and the school would then be faced with
    >staffing or dropping something they had defined as so important is had to be
    >opt-out.


    I think that's an important point. I found inspiration for cycle
    training from STA Bikes:

    http://www.stabikes.org.uk/

    They train their own instructors. It is one of my aims to become an
    instructor training centre for the local education authority. Once a
    critical mass of committed instructors are at the school, the project
    should become self sustaining.
     
  15. p.k.

    p.k. Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 14:36:24 +0000, Bertie Wiggins
    > <[email protected]> said in
    > <[email protected]>:
    >
    >> Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    >> probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    >> objections am I likely to come up against?

    >
    > Honestly? I have no idea. It's a brilliant notion. Actually I think
    > you should let us know what objections you /do/ get, so we can help
    > you counter them.



    ..... or understand why there might be valid objections?

    pk
     
  16. p.k.

    p.k. Guest

    Bertie Wiggins wrote:
    > On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:08:06 +0000 (UTC), "p.k."
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> 1. Sex ed, RE and swimming are there because Schools HAVE to provide
    >> these as part of the National Curriculum. Cycling is a "good thing"
    >> and to be encouraged. But curriculum time is full as it is. An
    >> op-out activity would have to be done in normal curriculum time not
    >> out of school hours. Taking time out of curriculum time for cycling
    >> cannot be justified

    >
    > My reply to that argument would be that PE is part of the national
    > curriculum and teaching someone to cycle is as much physical education
    > as teaching someone to play football.
    >


    Sorry while you may well be right, check the curriculum. Best reference I
    can find:

    "The National Curriculum does make swimming slightly optional (it's one of
    three PE activities of which two must be taught); however, the NC also
    clearly states that "Swimming activities and water safety must be chosen as
    one of these areas of activity unless pupils have completed the full key
    stage 2 teaching requirements in relation to swimming activities and water
    safety during key stage 1," so it's clearly not something that can be simply
    dropped." Dfee message board

    Cycling is not a compulsory element of the Curriculum. Swimming is. The
    primary PE curriculum is focussed on skill acquisition (ball control,
    balance, team work, tactics) not specific sports, in preparation for more
    formally structured sports & team games

    the schemes of work for KS1 & KS2 PE are at ;
    http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/schemes2/phe/?view=get

    Our primary did (probably still does) run a Korf ball club to encourage the
    only mixed sex/equal terms team game and gender equalities. Equally
    important, but out of school time not eating into the curriculum time

    >> 2. You would be setting a dangerous precedent for the school. You
    >> are there and driving this, you move on and the school would then be
    >> faced with staffing or dropping something they had defined as so
    >> important is had to be opt-out.

    >
    > I think that's an important point. I found inspiration for cycle
    > training from STA Bikes:
    >
    > http://www.stabikes.org.uk/
    >
    > They train their own instructors. It is one of my aims to become an
    > instructor training centre for the local education authority. Once a
    > critical mass of committed instructors are at the school, the project
    > should become self sustaining.


    In that case, sell the project to the LEA and get funding!

    pk
     
  17. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 17:06:36 +0000 (UTC), "p.k."
    <[email protected]> said in
    <[email protected]>:

    >>> Putting Level 1 cycle training on a par with swimming lessons will
    >>> probably be uncontroversial here, but, playing Devil's Advocate, what
    >>> objections am I likely to come up against?


    >> Honestly? I have no idea. It's a brilliant notion. Actually I think
    >> you should let us know what objections you /do/ get, so we can help
    >> you counter them.


    >.... or understand why there might be valid objections?


    I don't discount the possibility they could exist, but I can't think
    of any.

    Guy
    --
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    "To every complex problem there is a solution which is
    simple, neat and wrong" - HL Mencken
     
  18. On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 17:06:36 +0000 (UTC), "p.k."
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Cycling is not a compulsory element of the Curriculum. Swimming is. The
    >primary PE curriculum is focussed on skill acquisition (ball control,
    >balance, team work, tactics) not specific sports, in preparation for more
    >formally structured sports & team games


    I do not dispute anything you say. However, schools have the
    flexibility to make many activities part of their curriculum. They
    could make learning the recorder a compulsory part of the music
    curriculum, for example. What I propose is that cycle training be
    made a compulsory part of the PE curriculum.

    Parents would have the right to withdraw their child from cycling,
    just as they do from any non-statutory part of the curriculum, such as
    learning to play the recorder. As you suggest, swimming may still
    have a slightly higher status - but parents can and do withdraw their
    children from swimming lessons for cultural and other reasons.

    >> I think that's an important point. I found inspiration for cycle
    >> training from STA Bikes:
    >>
    >> http://www.stabikes.org.uk/
    >>
    >> They train their own instructors. It is one of my aims to become an
    >> instructor training centre for the local education authority. Once a
    >> critical mass of committed instructors are at the school, the project
    >> should become self sustaining.

    >
    >In that case, sell the project to the LEA and get funding!


    The process has started. I've had over £10,000 of funding in this
    first year of the project. More is promised for next year - and I'm
    giving a presentation at the TfL School Travel Conference on 26
    January.
     
  19. p.k.

    p.k. Guest

    Bertie Wiggins wrote:
    > On Sat, 17 Dec 2005 17:06:36 +0000 (UTC), "p.k."
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Cycling is not a compulsory element of the Curriculum. Swimming is.
    >> The primary PE curriculum is focussed on skill acquisition (ball
    >> control, balance, team work, tactics) not specific sports, in
    >> preparation for more formally structured sports & team games

    >
    > I do not dispute anything you say. However, schools have the
    > flexibility to make many activities part of their curriculum. They
    > could make learning the recorder a compulsory part of the music
    > curriculum, for example. What I propose is that cycle training be
    > made a compulsory part of the PE curriculum.
    >
    > Parents would have the right to withdraw their child from cycling,
    > just as they do from any non-statutory part of the curriculum, such as
    > learning to play the recorder. As you suggest, swimming may still
    > have a slightly higher status - but parents can and do withdraw their
    > children from swimming lessons for cultural and other reasons.
    >


    Withdrwaing from simming for cultural or religious reasons relating to
    modesty is well established. Or from RE for religious reasons ditto.
    Withdrawing form other parts of the curriculum is not the norm


    Anther issue: If you make it part of the curriculum, you need to suppy the
    bikes!

    That is not a glib point but from a govenenace perspective (eqaul access to
    all, no child disadvantaged in school due to parent not being able to afford
    etc etc) an important issue. If cycling is so important that it must be
    compulsory, then the school must provide the necessary equipment. You would
    not ask parents to pay entrance to the swimming pool. why shopuld they have
    to buy a bike? do you want to commit school funs to buy a stock of bikes and
    maintain them?

    pk
     
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    p.k. wrote:

    > Withdrwaing from simming for cultural or religious reasons relating to
    > modesty is well established.


    Did anyone else misread the third word for all n's?

    ...d
     
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