British Cycling has called for cycling to be added to the National Curriculum in England, and is urging all cyclists to participate in an online consultation from the Department for Education (DfE).
The consultation, which is open until next Tuesday 16 April, will determine the future shape of the National Curriculum in England, with the parts that relate to Physical Education – and therefore cycling, although it is not mentioned in the draft – appearing on pages 181 to 183.
British Cycling, which says that only half of schoolchildren in England currently receive cycle training despite efforts by itself and organisations such as CTC to promote Bikeability, has also drafted some relevant text that it suggests should be incorporated into anyone’s response to the consultation:
Why cycling should be on the national curriculum – suggested wording for the consultation
I feel strongly that cycling should be included in the national curriculum. Cycling isn’t just a sport or a form of transport – it’s a life skill that children will carry with them throughout their adulthood.
At present Bikeability is only funded through a Department for Transport grant. This funding can be drawn down by Local Authorities and School Games Organisers. There is no obligation by schools or Local Authorities to take up this funding and to offer training to pupils.
Around half of children do not have access to training for a variety of reasons. Some Local Authorities do not take part in the scheme, many schools do not engage with the scheme even where the LA offers training. Parents may not allow or encourage their children to take part.
Having Bikeability on the national curriculum would ensure a much higher uptake of training and help schools and parents understand how important it is for young people to develop the skills and confidence to cycle.
There are millions of children in the UK who are currently missing out on cycling and I’d like to see that change.
Martin Gibbs, Director for Policy and Legal Affairs at British Cycling, said: “Cycling is a vital life-skill that all children should have – especially if we want to normalise cycling as an everyday activity that all people can do.
"Like the ability to swim, cycling is a skill that young people carry with them throughout their adult lives – be that cycling as a sport, a form of transport and a way to keep fit and healthy.
“Bikeability training shouldn’t just be the preserve of children whose schools or local authorities happen to promote cycling - it should be for everyone.
"We’ve taught thousands of young people how to ride bikes and we’ve introduced almost 400,000 young people to competitive cycling since 2009 but there are still millions of children who are missing out on cycling and we want to change that.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.