Schools are in a great position to facilitate their pupils learning to balance and ride, something which fits in extremely well with a number of aims and initiatives they’re already pursuing.
If looked at purely from the PE/Sport perspective what better way of developing and strengthening gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, with an outcome that is very tangible, lasts a lifetime and delights both children and their parents!
From a broader perspective too, helping children learn to ride a bike offers important benefits:
- It can help build confidence and a sense of achievement.
- It encourages participation in sport/activity, particularly amongst those who may not be very ‘sporty’ in the traditional sense. Everyone can take part and succeed.
- It can be used as part of the school’s sustainability and road safety activities.
- It supports healthy living initiatives.
Not every child has access to a bike on which to learn or parents who have the time, patience, skills or money to help them. Organising a course at the school gives every child an equal opportunity to learn this really important life-skill.
What Herts Balance and Ride offers
Herts Balance and Ride delivers playground-based sessions at schools to help children learn to balance and ride. Principally aimed at children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 these sessions are normally an hour to an hour and a quarter in length. I work with a maximum of five children per session and each child is provided with a balance bike and quality pedal bike.
The most economic way of organising these is to book a whole day when 4 sessions involving 20 different children can be run. Part-days or after-school sessions are also possible.
The majority of children will be riding after two sessions though for a small number it may take more. For optimal results I recommend a gap of one day between a child’s first and second sessions though up to a week is normally fine.
Year 1 and 2 children can be trained at any time in the academic year but for Reception age children the best results are achieved if training is delayed until the Summer Term.
The starting point is to ascertain how many children can’t yet ride without stabilisers and whose parents are interested in their child participating in the training. Experience suggests that the vast majority are very keen indeed! Draft parental consent letters are available to help in this process. Once the numbers are known dates can be scheduled in the diary.
Some schools fund the training through their PE and Sport Premium whilst others choose to pass on some or all of the cost to parents. A two-day course (20 children who each receive two sessions) costs in the region of £550 to £600.
At the end of the training you may like to invite parents along for a ‘showcase’ event where, at the end of the school day, the children show off their new found riding or balancing skills. This can be a very positive way of engaging with parents who, from experience, are absolutely delighted that their child can now ride and are extremely grateful to the school for organising this activity.
A short written report on the progress of each child is also provided at the end of each course as well as verbal updates during the course.
For those who can already ride I have a course, Developing Better Bike Control (DBBC) which focuses on the key control skills necessary to ensure safe riding. It can also be used as a follow-on course for those who have recently learned to ride, or as preparation for a Bikeability Level 1 course. Children can use their own bikes if they wish though it’s often useful to have a Dr Bike session in advance so that their bikes are in a roadworthy condition!
If the school wants to develop its own capability to train children I’m happy to provide training for school staff and/or provide balance bikes, pedal bikes and helmets. This is often the best approach for early years children, aged 2 to 3.5 for whom fairly intensive, one-off structured sessions aren’t always the best option.
Special Needs Schools
In 2022 I delivered Learn to Balance and Ride sessions at two schools for pupils with ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder; MLD – Moderate Learning Difficulties and issues with SLCN – Speech, Language and Communication. One of these was for children aged 11 to 16 and the other for children aged from 4 to 11.
Both weeks were very successful and hugely enjoyable with a significant number of children learning to ride. Not everyone could ride and possibly may never do so but they had the opportunity to try and at least experience being on a bike.
I’m keen to work with more special needs schools so please give me a call if this is something you’d like to explore.
To discuss your requirements call me on
T: 07941 061717 or email me at