Cycling Proficiency Scheme

The Cycling Proficiency Scheme (CPS) has operated in Northern Ireland schools for over 45 years, training more than 450,000 pupils. It helps develop their skills, increase their confidence as cyclists and identify risks they may come across on the roads.

Sustainable and active travel

Sustainable and active travel is making transport decisions that do not harm the environment, promoting the use of public transport, park and ride, car share and encouraging increasing the amount of physical activity (communally walking, cycling, running) we do for all, part of or entire journey.

The Cycling Proficiency Scheme is the first step in teaching children this important life skill.  By  promoting safe cycling, children will have a sure foundation should they decide to continue cycling into adulthood.

Scheme teaches children

The CPS teaches children who can already ride a bicycle, how to do so more safely. It covers what to wear, bicycle maintenance and the rules of the road.

It also allows children to practice cycling manoeuvres in a safe environment. Manoeuvres include starting off, slowing down, stopping and parking, turning right and left, overtaking parked cars, passing side roads and carrying out emergency stops safely. The CPS also provides information on the different types of cycle routes available.

As well as the practical aspects, pupils must pass a theory test on relevant sections of the Highway Code.

Joining the scheme

The scheme is best suited to children in primary years six and seven. Primary year five pupils can also take part; however, those who do not reach their ninth birthday by the end of the scheme will be awarded a certificate of training rather than a certificate of competence.

To take part, a child must have a roadworthy bicycle and be able to ride it. Where stabilisers or tricycles are required (in exceptional circumstances for children with balance issues), the child can be trained and a certificate of competence issued, if found fully competent using either mode of transport.


Training and assessment takes place in the school playground.

Where appropriate, there can be an on-road training option for competent cyclists at the end of the playground scheme, however, the CPS instructor must first contact the Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach office to make sure that a risk assessment is carried out and safety equipment issued.

Contact your Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach office:

  • telephone 0300 200 7838


The CPS is delivered by instructors who are approved by and registered with DFI Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach.

New instructors

New instructors take part in one-to-one training with a member of staff from Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach who explains the course content, looks at the playground, provides a suggested layout and helps prepare for the lessons.

Contact your Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach office if you are interested in becoming an instructor.

  • telephone 0300 200 7838

Existing instructors

Trained and registered instructors receive a review appointment through the Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach office every four years.

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