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 managed and overseen by Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch and facilitated via the Northern Ireland primary schools network. It 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 assessed as proficient 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 proficient cyclists at the end of the playground scheme, however, the CPS instructor must first contact the Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch to make sure that a risk assessment is carried out and safety equipment issued.
Contact your Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch:
- telephone 0300 200 7838
The CPS is delivered by instructors; at participating primary schools, who are approved by and registered with DFI Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch. In the first instance, schools list the name/s of teachers intending to deliver the scheme for that particular academic year on the return. Any teachers not yet on the instructor register should be listed on the return so that Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch can arrange the necessary training.
New instructors take part in one-to-one training with a member of staff from Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch who explains the course content, looks at the playground, provides a suggested layout and helps prepare for the lessons.
Schools should list the name/ s of teacher/ s concerned on the return submitted to the Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach office.
For more information, contact the Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach Branch:
- telephone 0300 200 7838
Trained and registered instructors receive a review appointment through the Safe and Accessible Travel Promotion and Outreach office every four years.