Open Trail’s manager Hannah has previously worked as a Forest School leader at Franche Community Primary School, accompanying the children age 2-11 in their on-site forest 4 days a week! The school embrace child-led play, diverse education and getting the best out of the children as individuals. It boasts some fantastic facilities including its very own pool, putting life skills (like swimming) firmly on the school’s agenda. Thus it is no surprise that Franche jumped at the chance to add another life skill to their diverse curriculum: CYCLING!
After Hannah’s “Dare to Achieve” presentations at the school, during the Big Bike Revival, the children were enthused to learn more about the world of cycling from their resident GB athlete, and World 4X Series Champion. Thankfully Kidderminster is a secret haven of cycling opportunities! For instance Spokes.co.uk is a well-known refurbished bikes charity just 1 mile from the school. Franche were able to purchase a whole fleet of previously-loved bikes and their funds go towards supporting work-based training for adults with learning difficulties. A win-win for the local community!
The bikes have had to work very hard as Franche have used them every week as part of their wrap-around-care scheme “726” (runs 7am-6pm 52 weeks of the year), their Friday afternoon cycling club, and their Friday afternoon enrichment sessions where pupils engage in a variety of highly engaging but less academically focused activities. Throughout these sessions the pupils have been able to explore various cycling obstacles and challenges from riding one handed, to riding as a team, riding over different terrain, perfecting skills such as braking and cornering.
The sessions have been coached by both Hannah Escott and Craig Brookes (coach from Halesowen Cycling Club) both have seen a great increase in the children’s riding but also their confidence, determination and team skills. Many of Franche Primary’s new cyclists could not ride before the sessions began, the pupils have had to tackle confidence issues, learn how to win and how to lose, push themselves to reach their goals, and have learnt that they are much more talented than they initially perceived.
The opportunity to ride bikes in school proved incredibly popular. With only 12 allocated spaces on the after-school club over 150 pupils applied for a spot! Open Trail just wish they could do more to provide for these would be cyclists.