Cycling Proficiency Scheme
The Cycling Proficiency Scheme (CPS) has been running in Northern Ireland schools for 50 years, training more than half a million pupils during that time. It helps pupils develop their cycling 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 park and ride, public transport and car share. It also encourages increasing the amount of physical activity (communally walking, cycling, running) you do for all, part of or for an 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 gives 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 the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Active Travel team and made possible 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 needed (in exceptional circumstances for children with balance issues), the child can be trained and a certificate of competence given, if assessed as proficient using either mode of transport.
Training and assessment takes place in the school playground.
Where suitable, there can be an on-road training element for proficient cyclists at the end of the playground scheme. However, the CPS instructor must first contact the Active Travel Team to make sure that a risk assessment is carried out and safety equipment delivered.
The CPS is delivered by instructors at primary schools that take part and who are approved by and registered with DfI Active Travel. On the registration form, schools list the names of teachers planning to deliver the scheme for that particular academic year. Any teachers not yet on the instructor register should be listed on the registration form so that Active Travel can arrange the necessary training.
New instructors take part in one-to-one training with a member of staff from Active Travel. They explain the course content, look at the playground, give a suggested layout and help prepare for the lessons.
Schools should list the name of teachers who would like to become instructors on the registration form sent to Active Travel.
For more information, contact the Active Travel Team: