Instructor/pupil ratios

For discussions within the Cycle Training profession.
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moultoneer
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Instructor/pupil ratios

Postby moultoneer » 11 Aug 2007, 10:55am

I recently started training schoolchildren (10/11 years old) in a London Borough. Generally we have been conducting level 2 training on the road with 2 instructors for 6 pupils.

Now we are being pushed to accept a ratio of 2 to 12 (as mentioned on the Bikeability website), but we instructors think this is unsafe in a borough with one of the highest car ownership level in London, and where child casualty rates are not reducing.

We think it is unsafe also because not all pupils have completed level 1 beforehand, and we often get pupils who are difficult to control.

What are your opinions on this?

Jules
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Instructor/pupil ratios

Postby Jules » 23 Aug 2007, 1:48pm

I don't think those ratios are right 1:12 is for Level 1 but an assistant instructor is recommended as well (this could be a parent/teacher not necessarily a NS instructor). 1:6 is onroad ratio but again, there should be at least 2 people for health and safety reasons. But surely the pupils should be assessed as all being competent at Level 1 BEFORE being allowed to proceed to Level 2 training? - this is my understanding of how NS works, anyway. For confirmation contact Greg Woodford at CTC, Senior Cycle Training Officer

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towedhaul
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Postby towedhaul » 26 Sep 2007, 8:45pm

I wouldn't take kids on the road if they haven't completed level 1 to my satisfaction. And, while I hesitate to tell people what to do, I don't think you should either. You can't know they can control their bike properly if you haven't checked.

The only other thing they've got to be able to do is follow my instructions. If they can't they don't come. If they behave badly while they're out with me they don't come next time.

I've taught some pretty rough kids over the last 6 years in London, Bristol & Merseyside. I've only refused to take 2 for not being able to complete level 1 satisfactorily. I've returned 3 for behavioural issues. That's out of a total of around 500 trained.
You need to have high standards & expect the trainees to live up to them & then they do.

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moultoneer
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Postby moultoneer » 26 Sep 2007, 10:57pm

Thanks for the responses.

We've beaten the authority down to 2 to 8 for level 2, but still feel this is rather high. Apparently the BikeAbility site actually states 2 to 12! I think we need to lobby them to change this.

When we get those who haven't done level 1, we check them out in the playground first to ensure they can control their bikes sufficiently, including riding one-handed.

pops

Postby pops » 19 Oct 2007, 9:21pm

I don't have a problem with 2 to 12 for level 2. That is not to say that there wont be situations - either because of the traffic conditions or a particular group of kids where that ratio is too high - but in general I think it's about right.

L Spyers-Ashby

Instructor / Pupil Ratios

Postby L Spyers-Ashby » 29 Nov 2007, 11:29pm

I agree with the 2:6 ratio for Level 2. Sometimes I increase this to a maximum of 2:8 but I always have two instructors working together, regardless of whether it's a Level 1 or 2.

My understanding is that the National Standard is a progressive standard, i.e. trainees must achieve all Level 1 outcomes before progressing to Level 2. If it were me, I would not accept a trainee on Level 2 unless I was satisfied that they'd demonstrated the necessary level of competence at the previous Level.

Jules
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Postby Jules » 30 Nov 2007, 12:10pm

I agree with L Spyers-Ashby. 12 cyclists of any kind is a pretty big group to have out on the roads at one time, you would wonder how much actual instruction each child would be getting (although I believe cycling proficiency operates with similar ratios.)

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moultoneer
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Postby moultoneer » 30 Nov 2007, 4:25pm

Our authority finally agreed to a ratio of 2 to 8 at most, though we'd prefer 2 to 6. They also now insist on level 1 before going on level 2.

Apart from anything else, I can't imagine having to "snake" 12 kids along the road. It would be almost 100 yards long after allowing two bike lengths between each of the total of 14 cyclists. Also, when riding one at a time at a training site, the others become bored and difficult to control.

adinigel
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Postby adinigel » 1 Jan 2008, 10:41am

You don't need to 'snake 12 pupils' along the road together. The ratio for level 2 is 1:6. Yes there is the h&s argument that there should be 2 people involved, but two groups could quite easily work in close proximity of each other but not be all in the same group, giving you the 2 adults for h&s but smaller workable groups of 6 pupils.

Nigel

billynibbles
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Postby billynibbles » 14 Feb 2008, 8:50pm

moultoneer wrote:Our authority finally agreed to a ratio of 2 to 8 at most, though we'd prefer 2 to 6. They also now insist on level 1 before going on level 2.

Apart from anything else, I can't imagine having to "snake" 12 kids along the road. It would be almost 100 yards long after allowing two bike lengths between each of the total of 14 cyclists. Also, when riding one at a time at a training site, the others become bored and difficult to control.


We also operate on an approximate 2:8 ratio, since we always seem to get about 14-16 kids (half a Yr 6 class) and there are at least four of us per session. Sometimes we have a fifth 'floater' who can deal with specifics, like further level 1 tuition for kids who didn't quite make it past day one on the playground, or to escort specific riders on short one-to-one rides to create extra interest or ram home a particular point.

Bikecat
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Postby Bikecat » 24 Feb 2008, 2:09pm

Yes we ride 1 to 6 using shepherding and we only ask one bike length between the bikes! We used to do 12 to 2 and yes the kids get bored. 6 is just about enough to keep the interest going between riding the drills. But the kids absolutely love the riding altogether on roads and just having 6 means you can coach them to a certain extent. And level one is essential to check that they can do all the skills prior to going on roads. Why not do that as the first hour of your course?

John Ball Cycling

Re: Instructor/pupil ratios

Postby John Ball Cycling » 4 May 2008, 9:23pm

[quote="moultoneer"]I recently started training schoolchildren (10/11 years old) in a London Borough. Generally we have been conducting level 2 training on the road with 2 instructors for 6 pupils.

Now we are being pushed to accept a ratio of 2 to 12 (as mentioned on the Bikeability website), but we instructors think this is unsafe in a borough with one of the highest car ownership level in London, and where child casualty rates are not reducing.

We think it is unsafe also because not all pupils have completed level 1 beforehand, and we often get pupils who are difficult to control.

What are your opinions on this?[/quote]

I also work in an inner London Borough. I feel totally confident taking out 12 children with another instructor, I prefer to work with 15 children, another instructor and a parent volunteer.

I have various hand signals for the children. For example, approaching a busy road to cross - and by busy I mean some of London's major arterial roads, such as the A20 through Lewisham, I hold up my index and little finger to tell the trainees to organise themselves into pairs.

With three instructors I can organise drills where trainees cycle a three road left turn circuit, or three road right turn circuit. Trainees are set off at intervals, and all 15 cycle at once. They tend to bunch up, but that is easily resolved by the instructors at the junctions. That way trainees can often manage 5 circuits - that's 225 assessed left or right turns (15 per trainee)![code][/code]

cross bill

Postby cross bill » 10 Jul 2008, 8:20pm

I'm a recently qualified instructor, although I have considerable experience teaching to Year 5 and 6 children in class sizes ranging from 5 to 50 (ex Music Teacher). Considering the scope of Bikeability training, from completion of Level 1 outcomes in the playground, to progressing through those specified for Level 2 road training, I have found that the ideal instructor:trainee ratio is 1:4. We generally provide Level 2 training on a 1:6 basis, once Level 1 has been achieved, but I often find that there is insufficient time to cover the outcomes to a satisfactory level. Trainees are presented with the theory, using visual aids and demonstrations and are then expected to immitate the instructor.Being one of six trainees in a group means that much of the time is spent standing around waiting your turn, listening to another trainees' feedback. While this does present an opportunity to reinforce the theory, both to the individual and the whole group, in my experience children at this age are far more likely to absorb information by "Doing" rather than "Seeing". Reducing the number of trainees to 4 means that they are kept 'on the boil', so to speak, and for reasons only a qualified child psychologist may be able to expound, four kids in a group just seems to work.