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Put cycling on the National Curriculum

Chris Peck's picture
Although cycling is the third most popular activity amongst children and a crucial life skill, only half of all children have access to good quality Bikeability cycle training. CTC members have urging that all schools provide cycle training as part of the National Curriculum.
Providing Bikeability cycle training is crucial to create a cycling culture
Providing Bikeability cycle training is crucial to create a cycling culture

CTC has urged the Department for Education to change the National Curriculum to include provision for child cycle training as part of Key Stages 2-4.

Currently the physical education section mandates that swimming is taught, with the requirement that children learn to swim 25 metres.

Like swimming, cycling is a vital life skill - if children don't learn to ride a bike properly they are highly unlikely to use a bike in later life. Cycling also provides the means for children to travel independently. Sadly, cycle use amongst teenagers has collapsed over the last few decades, mainly due to increasing motor traffic and risk-aversion amongst parents. 

As the following graph shows - cycle use amongst teenage girls has fallen by 70% since 1975; for boys it is over 60%.

Improving conditions and provision for cyclists on the road network is crucial if we want to get more children cycling. But it is also vital to be teaching them basic skills of bike handling, hazard perception and the road skills required to deal with the conditions as they are now.

Over £11m is provided to support Bikeability cycle training in England each year, yet many schools still don't offer it, while some go out of their way to ban cycling altogether

One way of improving the situation would be to ensure that the National Curriculum includes reference to Bikeability cycle training on a similar footing to swimming. This would ensure that all children in schools would at least get the opportunity to receive good quality cycle training.

But this won't be an easy ask. We know that the Secretary of State for Education has told the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group that he doesn't want "to mandate the way schools encourage cycling", so the Department will need some persuasion.

CTC provided a draft response letter to the consultation, which was sent to the Department for Education by 800 people. Thanks to all those who joined the campaign.

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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Gordon Seabright
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541
  • CTC Charitable Trust: A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.5125969. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1104324 and Scotland No SC038626

 

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