I've just finished the local P7's course, and this has involved fairly constant pointers about riding position. It's been entirely common for children to be able to put both feet flat on the ground while on the saddle, and of course they can't pedal properly. So... do we stop the lesson and spend time bringing their saddle up, often something they are quite resistant to? That's probably not a good idea, and of course puts us in the firing line if they find not being able to put two feet flat when they have to stop suddenly causes a nerve-jangling stagger (and I don't really mean in terms of legal liability, though there's that too, but in terms of you are someone seen to help them, and you've just made it hard (because they won't remember how much easier the pedalling was when they can remember how awkward stopping was)).
So while I'll put the really low-slung ones up a little
, to take us from worse to bad, mainly it's a case of telling them to get a carer to move it up a little at a time and practice and get used to a higher seat. And sometimes something happens, but at least as often nothing does: you can lead a horse to water, but sometimes even inserting a high-pressure hose in its mouth won't get it to drink
There was one case where a pupil was absolutely resistant to the idea of the seat going up (main problem on a bike is he's very nervous, that his knees are up round his ears can't help but what can you do if he's not receptive to change?), but I know his folks so I called them up and said he'd really benefit from a higher seat. Next session the seat is higher, and the riding is better, but later on that day it's back down. Why? because it's a BSO and you can't actually do up the clamp so as to keep the saddle in place.
If I spent the time I'd like to sorting out riding position we'd lose a substantial amount of the time we can actually ride bikes. And helmets... Local council insists they wear them so the school has no choice but to enforce, so they all wear them, and the NS Outcomes state that if they wear them they have to knnoe how to fit them properly, and they generally aren't fitted properly. So the amount of time wasted faffing about with the damn things eats up considerable time that could be spent on something of actual benefit to them.
We are increasing the amount of notes home with information, and the next time we're going to have not only a checklist on mechanical soundness before they come in to be checked for mechanical soundness, but there'll be a photo with how to set an approximate saddle height. I suspect it will only really penetrate to the ones who already have it right, however...
Vorpal's point about available time doesn't really apply in our case: I'm a current parent, the CTA working with me is a parent of a former pupil and both of us are happy to give spare days (he has shifts, I work a 4-day week) and we've hacked on until we're happy and the school have been very good in letting things drag on a bit. But we still
didn't have enough time, even ignoring all but the really shocking cases.