Every child in England to be offered Bikeability cycle training
On 7th February 2020 the Government announced ambitious plans to significantly expand its Bikeability training programme, so that every child in England can be offered Bikeability Level 1 and Level 2 training by the end of Year 6 at Primary/Junior school.
The commitment will be to provide increased funding for an additional 400,000 training places each year, providing children with the core skills to cycle safely and confidently on the road. Surveys have shown that more than 80% of children between 8 and 10 years of age own a bike and since its launch in 2006, more than 3 million children have taken part in the Bikeability scheme.
Here in Wokingham (where we have been running Bikeability training for 10 years) we have funded Bikeability training in 90% of our Primary and Junior Schools in the past year, thanks to a Bikeability Grant from the Department for Transport and we currently train around 1,600 children per year which represents 80% of the Year 6 population.
With the extra funding on offer, we want to make sure that 100% of Wokingham schools offer Bikeability Level 1/Level 2 training and at least 90% of pupils receive Bikeability training by the time they complete Year 6.
Bikeability Level 1/Level 2 training can be run in either Year 5 or Year 6. Several schools have now opted to run courses in the Spring or Summer of Year 5 and this then gives us the opportunity to introduce some Bikeability Level 3 training in Year 6, for the more confident cyclists, to prepare them for cycling on busier roads before they begin travelling independently to secondary school.
Following a recent highly competitive tendering process, Wokingham Borough Council have appointed a new company to deliver Bikeability training in schools namely Avanti Cycling. Avanti Cycling will take up the challenge to work with schools in Wokingham Borough and aims to get more children cycling, more safely, more often. They are based locally and already deliver Bikeability in Reading and Oxfordshire. Visit their website for further information at: www.avanticycling.co.uk
Greg Woodford, Director of Avanti Cycling says, “We are really excited to take up the challenge of delivering Bikeability Level 2 to 90% of all children within Wokingham Borough, we are especially excited to increase the delivery of Level 3 to pave the way for children cycling to secondary school.”
Unfortunately several schools had their Bikeability courses cancelled at the end of last term and beginning of the Summer term, due to school closures during the current COVID-19 crisis. It will be a challenge to catch up once we are able to resume training but we still hope to achieve participation of 100% of schools by 2022.
Meanwhile we have loaded some Bikeability resources here. This includes information on checking your bike and helmet to get ready for Bikeability training and also a checklist of Bikeability Level 1 skills, which your child can practice at home. There are also some Highway Code quizzes to prepare for Level 2 training. Why not have a go and give your child a head start before their Bikeability training at school?