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Schoolkids in Reading to be given bikes to combat lateness

Council teams up with Network Rail and British Transport Police for initiative aimed at minimising classroom disruption

Children at a school in Reading are to be given bicycles in a bid to curb disruption to lessons through lateness – and they will be allowed to keep them should they hit attendance targets during the academic year.

The initiative, operated by Reading Borough Council in partnership with Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP), goes by the name Ride On Time and is being piloted by Katesgrove Primary School.

If the scheme, targeted at Year 5 and 6 students, proves successful it will be rolled out to other schools in the area, with five or six children selected at each to take part.

The bicycles will be ones that have been abandoned local railway stations, and participating schoolchildren will be given a lock, helmet and hi-visibility vest. The bikes will also be security marked.

They will be given Bikeability training by Avanti Cycling, which has the contract for the Reading area, and will also receive advice about railway safety, such as at level crossings.

Reading Borough Council’s lead member for education, councillor Tony Jones, said: "There can be a variety of different reasons why children are late for school but the result is they miss the start of lessons and disrupt classes.

"Ride on Time is an imaginative way of tackling attendance problems at schools while also helping children to get daily exercise and reduce the number of parents dropping off children in their cars.

"I'd like to thank all the partner organisations which are supporting this excellent project and to wish it every success."

Inspector Paul Martin of British Transport Police commented: "We are delighted to be involved with this initiative, which will hopefully give local children new skills, improve their attendance and give them a better feeling of self-worth, while also teaching them important lessons in railway safety.

"It is also satisfying to know that discarded bikes will get a new lease of life under this project and we look forward to supporting the scheme throughout the school year," he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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mrmo | 7 years ago

How does this work, i know it will take 30mins to walk so i give myself 30mins and might be late, if i now have a bike and it is going to take 15mins, i am going to stay in bed for an extra 15mins???? and i might still be late!

Rod Marton | 7 years ago

I hope this is coupled with a Safe Routes to Schools initiative (if this still exists) because I certainly wouldn't let my child cycle around that part of Reading. It's not exactly cycle-friendly. On the other hand, the children are probably late due to their parents taking them to school by car and being stuck in the interminable traffic jams. So maybe there would be an improvement.

In answer to DaveE, I wouldn't leave my bike at Reading station anyway - it's a major hotspot for bike thieves.

Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago

Surely alarm clocks are cheaper?

DaveE128 | 7 years ago

Hmmm, can't quite work out what I think of this one. A few thoughts spring to mind:

  • Hope they're refurbishing the abandoned bikes!
  • They'll may still be late, quicker travel may just mean they leave later
  • Perhaps the incentive of keeping the bike could be effective
  • Is a discarded bike likely to be adequate incentive to get up in the morning?
  • If it means more cycling, that's good, so long as the state of the bikes doesn't put people off permanently!
  • How long can one leave a bicycle at the station before it is donated to a habitually late school child?!
dafyddp | 7 years ago

My daughter left school earlier this year, and unfortunately she is one of those people who are always late. Didn't matter whether she was catching a bus or cycling, she would always leave at least five minutes later than she should. In contrast, my son hates being late, so always leaves ten minutes early. Mode of transport isn't really a factor.

oozaveared | 7 years ago

Lesson for the day.

Be late for school a few times and you get a free bike.  Genius!

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