How schools can support parents to get children on a bike

Dan Keefe is a parent to two and was a deputy head teacher at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College in Wirral. Now teaching in Qatar, he blogs about using HSBC UK Ready Set Ride and how schools can engage parents.

I have tried for years to help my own children to ride a bike but up until now had never found a simple resource to support them which gave me the confidence and understanding to get them on two wheels.

Cycling and swimming are essential life skills giving children and young people an independent and fun means of getting physically active and mentally healthy.

I have been using British Cycling and HSBC UK’s Ready Set Ride developed with support from the Youth Sport Trust to engage not only my own children but also in school. Last year, we introduced the programme to all Year 7s with top up programmes for pupils in other years who couldn’t ride.

It has been fantastic and hugely encouraging to see at least 10 young people learn to ride in this last academic year (when parents had previously given up). Twenty other pupils have gone on to participate in their Go Ride Level 1 and 2 Awards.

‘It is what parents have been crying out for’

HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is something that has been needed for years. It is something that every parent who has ever tried to teach their children to ride has been crying out for. We have used the resource to show parents at family sport night how they can engage their children to get on a bike and feel confident in their own abilities and they’ve loved it. Parents from other primary schools have also shouted loudly about the success of the scheme.

Speaking from both a parent and teacher perspective, I have found the resource very sociable and a great way for families to bond. My children have loved it!

‘Progressive and easy to follow’

One of the things that is unique about HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is that it is accessible to anyone. The programme is progressive and easy to follow. When teaching at my school, I was lucky enough to have a fleet of adapted bikes, three-wheelers, hand-bikes and scooters suitable for children with physical disabilities, so everyone could be involved. HSBC UK Ready Set Ride has given many children who had previously accepted ‘I can’t ride a 2-wheeler’ to give things a go. They can now ride.

It is also great for children with learning disabilities. The skills helping pupils balance are open to all. The pupils like the simplicity and colours of the resource cards, and the videos are a great accompaniment, helping them to visualise what they need to do.

Cycling at lunch

Even though most pupils get a bus into school the resource has created a real buzz about cycling. The kids all want to practice on bikes at lunch, in PE and in community sport night, it’s brilliant.

It’s nice to see children excited by the activities and feeling empowered by clear steps to follow to improve. I fully believe in the YST vision of creating a future where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport.

Empowering young people and communities

This resource is a prime example of an organisation that listens to parents, pupils and professionals and finds ways to empower them to take responsibility for their own physical and mental health through learning to ride and the pleasures / experiences that brings.

For more information about HSBC UK Ready Set Ride you can read more here or resource packs are avilable for schools to buy here