Get Your School Cycling
Making sure that your school has the opportunity to take part in Bikeability is an important part of teaching your class that cycling is great way to get about, but there are lots of ways in which to make sure the training is only the start of your school’s cycling journey. Read on to find out how you can bring Bikeability to your school, then follow our simple guide to help you encourage pupils and adults in your school community to enjoy all the fun, freedom and health benefits of cycling.
Get Started with Bikeability
First, find out from your headteacher if Bikeability is already delivered in your school, and ask when it is scheduled for. If there aren’t any plans yet, get in touch with the cycling team at your local authority to get some sessions booked.
Your school can also access Bikeability through its School Sport Partnership links. Have a look at our school sport partnership page to find out how your school can get involved in this way.
Once pupils have learned the basics and are keen to use their new skills the next step is to help create a school cycling culture to make sure they get a chance to use the skills every day.
We’ve put together some ideas that should help you to get started in your school.
Teach the facts
Start by talking through these key facts with your pupils:
- Cycling is a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly way to staying fit.
- Cycling is an efficient form of transport so you spend less time sitting in traffic jams and arrive on time.
Use the interactive game Cycling top trumps to explore the benefits of cycling with your class.
- There are more cycle routes available than ever before.
- Teachers say that pupils who cycle to school are energised, excited, ready to learn and can travel safely and independently.
- Once pupils have been involved in Bikeability they are far more likely to become regular cyclists.
- Many schools have benefited from School Travel Plan grants and other Local Authority Safe Routes to School funding to install cycle storage.
- Cycle locks get better all the time, and more and more schools are providing secure storage for bikes at school.
- If parents choose to cycle to school with their children on the way to work they’ll be less likely to be late, and will feel sharper and fitter when they get there – they might even lose weight too!
- Most pupils live close enough to school to cycle comfortably – the average journey in England is 2.3 miles.
- Apart from snow, ice and fog, which in fact doesn’t happen for many days a year, you can cycle comfortably on most days of the year.
Discuss the issues
Talk to pupils about this key puzzle: If cycling is so good for children and adults alike, why don’t more people leave the car at home and cycle to school?
Some of the arguments adults often use about why they are not keen to let their children cycle more are:
- It is too dangerous on the roads these days
- I’m worried about their skills on the road
- It’s too far
- There’s nowhere to leave the bike once you get to school
- The bike might get stolen
- They have too much kit to carry
- They might get lost
- I just think it’s easier to drop the children off at school on the way to work
- The weather in this country is too bad for cycling
How do the pupils feel about these points? Do they share the views of adults?
Do some market research
Ask pupils to conduct a survey to investigate how their friends and families feel about cycling. Include a section asking for ideas about how to encourage people to cycle more. You can use the survey template or ask pupils to help create their own survey sheet.
Download Survey Template (1598)
Create a school cycling policy
Ask pupils to contribute to the creation of a school cycling policy. This is an excellent project for the school council to get their teeth into.
The Government will award a grant to English state schools that implement a STP to help fund measures identified in the plan. This could include things like cycle parking and lockers. Details are available from local authority school travel advisers.
Here’s a checklist of points to include in a school cycling policy:
- Bikeability training
- Cycle storage
- Secure lockers for helmets and bikes
- Cycle permit scheme – granted on agreement of rights and responsibilities of the cyclists and their parents
- Roadworthiness of bikes – cycle maintenance
- Car parking around the school
- Road design around the school
Work out a realistic timescale for implementation of your cycle policy, and try to consider the following:
- Who will be responsible for what?
- How will you know your cycling policy is successful?
- How will you monitor and review the policy?
Make sure your school has the opportunity to get Bikeability training – find out from your headteacher about when the training is scheduled for or, if there aren’t any plans yet, get in touch with the cycling team at your local authority to get some sessions booked.
Take a look at our Bikeability near you search to find out if Bikeability is already delivered in your school.
Make yourself heard!
Use some of the communication tools provided below to help you make the case for regular cycling.
Spread the message by holding a cycling awareness event for parents and carers. This could include:
- A short talk from a member of the senior management team explaining why the school has decided to get involved in Bikeability and to promote cycling
- Short presentations from pupils about what they like best about cycling
- A cycle maintenance and repair workshop