For many schools, the battle against childhood obesity is a significant issue. A combination of a lack of funding for PE and extra-curricular activities, and a generation addicted to smartphones, computers and gaming consoles, has created an unhealthy environment for our children.
While almost 20% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) are obese, a further 14.2% are overweight…..9.1% of children in Reception (aged 4-5) are obese and 12.8% are overweight.
Just 1% of 5- to 10-year-olds cycle to school (48% are driven); these figures don’t get much better for 11- to 16-year-olds either, with just 2% cycling to school and 26% driven (Cycling UK).
Yet cycling is an exceptional calorie burner and excellent for all-round fitness – great for heart health, the building of muscle and the improvement of cardio capacity.
A successful Bikeability scheme could help your students discover a love of regular exercise, combat childhood obesity and even help reduce overcrowding on nearby roads during the school run by encouraging students to cycle to school.
Bikeability, the modern age version of cycling proficiency, equips students with the practical skills and understanding required to ride, and how to cycle safely on today’s roads.
There are three levels that range from the most basic level one for those who need to perfect balance and control, up to planning a solo journey on busy roads.
Along with a whole host of health benefits, the scheme has also been shown to contribute to pupils’ attainment in the classroom.
Resounding successes from around the country
St Breock Primary School
The boost in confidence, self-belief and interest in cycling has been so notable at the St Breock Primary School that the school has now organised a family cycling holiday in Belgium, with the pupils planning the routes, visiting historic sites and adhering to the laws and safety rules of the road.
Ings Farm Primary School
20% of year 5s now report improved confidence – so much so that they regularly ride to school, following their completion of levels one and two of the scheme.
Wheatlands Primary School
30 year 6 pupils achieved level 2 training, with 100% of the students reporting becoming more active on bikes outside of school time, and 33% saying that they regularly ride their bikes to school.
Setting up your Bikeability scheme
The Bikeability website also provides a wide array of resources (such as a range of templates, activity sheets and question sheets) that help teachers work the scheme into various curriculum areas.