Larbert High School’s interest in Mountain Biking started in May 2008 when they offered two single day trips to Glentress as part of the school's activity days in the summer term. These trips were hugely oversubscribed and it was then that they knew there was an enormous demand for more Mountain Biking and cycling within the school.
At this time they had to use external providers as no staff in school were qualified to take groups away. This was the beginning of the club as they wanted to take groups away more regularly as the demand for cycling was so high yet they were restricted by having no qualified staff to lead groups.Back
Following the success of the two single day trips in May 2007 two members of staff wanted to offer more regular trips at least once a month so they became TCL Qualified. In early 2008 the trips were only after school as they were unable to transport bikes at that time. The school offered its first residential MTB trip where they took 16 pupils to Dumfries and Galloway. This trip was only open to pupils with their own bikes as the school had none and they had to hire a van to transport the bikes. This trip was only open to S4 and was oversubscribed.
The school set up a BUG (Bicycle Users Group) to promote the development of cycling in the school and community. School staff and pupils, school police, Recyke-a-bike, Outdoor Ed, Transport Planning, Parents, Falkirk bike club all worked with Sustrans and Local Authority to develop cycle routes in the area. One of the main projects the BUG group set up and one that is still successful was the S1 cycle days. This allowed all 300 S1’s to access mountain biking, skills development, bike maintenance and safety workshops. The BUG group has continually monitored cycling in school by consulting with pupils and other agencies regularly. The school purchased an 18 bike burteck trailer which was a great acquisition as they were now able to travel to Glentress with the extra-curricular club at weekends. Each year since 2009 the club has organised its week long residential summer trip to Dumfries and Galloway which is the highlight of the year and is only open to the senior pupils. The BUG group were also responsible for receiving a grant for cycle shelters to be built at the school. These are fully covered and are locked during the day. This has encouraged more cycling to school while raising the profile of cycling.
The school received a grant from transport planning which they used to buy two mountain bikes so they could offer cycling to pupils who did not have their own bike. This allowed them to offer MTB to pupils with no previous experience in the sport. Previously they had to turn down pupils without bikes and since the purchase of the two bikes these were used on every trip which highlighted how they were targeting new people to the club and the sport. The MTB club felt that they did not have enough girls cycling and through a quality assurance process they discovered that the main barrier for the girls was they felt intimidated by boys on the trip. Taking this on board they started offering girls only MTB trips. They are now delighted that between 25-30% of all extra-curricular trips are made up of girls and they are looking for this number to continue to rise. A Cycle to School Day was established in 2010 to promote sustainable cycling to school.
In 2011 the school offered an Outdoor Education Class in the curriculum and as a result purchased eight hard tail mountain bikes. These were used for the Outdoor Education class and also allowed the club to offer an MTB experience to 10 pupils without bikes. This really helped the club open up to new members who previously were not able to attend the club. The school in this year also started an S2 Life Skills class which included a programme of MTB. This was a real hit with the group and caused 50% to then come along to the after school MTB club. Having access to 10 bikes and a few they bought from their Outdoor Education department, they were now in a position to offer cycling as part of the junior Health and Wellbeing curriculum. These classes were able to use the local trails around the school and they were able to offer a new experience to the junior school. For their 2001 S1 cycle to school day they wanted to offer something different. So they designed an assault course including ramps, drop offs and see-saws which their CDT department built for them. This was really popular and it is still being used within lessons and sessions today.
As the club was now very popular they wanted to offer a different MTB experience so staff sat and passed their Night Biking Assessment so they could offer night biking sessions. These sessions are offered to the pupils during the winter months straight after school where they tend to use Callander Estate or Carron Valley. These night bike sessions allowed them to continue the interest in MTB throughout the year and also allowed them to target pupils that were not able to come away on the weekend trips due to other sporting commitments. This was also a big year for the school as they were awarded the Cycle Friendly Secondary School Award with distinction. In addition they were awarded Falkirk Councils Helix award for Promotion of cycling within the community. This award was given for all the work, development and cycling opportunities that the school has provided. Building on the success of cycling in the junior HWB programme they offered a cycling option as part of the senior HWB programme. Again this was something different for the pupils and something they fully engaged with. Offering cycling as part of the curriculum really benefitted the club as they were now seeing more pupils interested in cycling who previously had never tired the sport.
The school trained twelve members of staff in the Cycle Trainer Assistant award so they could offer more cycling within curricular time, given the success of the previous year. The school were also successful in a grant application of £10,000 to promote cycling in the local community. This grant was used to purchase additional bikes and train more staff in school and the local community. They set up a partnership with Community Education so they could offer cycling to families they are working with. With the grant they were able to train two of their staff and they now have a fleet of bikes they use when working with families. As Community Education work with younger children they supplied them with child seats, tagalongs and small children’s bikes so they could introduce the whole family to the health benefits of cycling. They also purchased two GoPro cameras which they take away on every trip. The pupils really enjoy being filmed and it is also used a great coaching method. Pupils share videos on social media which highlights the club to a wider audience. They also share video footage on the school website and on the plasma screens at the front of the school after each trip for all visitors to the school to view. They also employ a former member of the schools MTB club as a mechanic who services and maintains the fleet of school bikes. With access to more bikes and more school staff trained the school offered a new initiative: wider achievement awards. These WAO’s were created for pupils to develop their softer skills and the WAO’s on offer varied greatly. The MTB club offered a MTB WAO where pupils had the opportunity to complete an assistant cycle trainer award and a GoMTB qualification. These WAO’s were so popular that two classes had to be set up.
The School was also successful with a grant application from Bike club for £3,400. The money was used to target participation of girls in cycling and allowed them to purchase smaller bikes that were more suitable for females.
The club was successful in a Cycling Scotland grant in October which was a pupil lead initiative. The pupils came up with an exciting initiative of encouraging more pupils to cycle to school. As part of the successful bid six pupils from the MTB club went to Dalguise for a week-long camp where they could be supported with their initiative. The school was awarded £3000 and the pupils decided to use £2000 to buy road bikes and use the remaining £1000 to use as rewards and incentive prizes and to train more members of staff. They are also looking to tie cycling in with the school's Duke of Edinburgh scheme in two ways. They want to offer the DoE expedition through cycling rather than walking as this will target a new audience. They are also setting up a bike maintenance programme this year which the DoE pupils can use for their volunteering aspect of the award. Six senior pupils completed an Assistant Cycle Leaders course and delivered a 5-week block of Bikeability sessions to 20 pupils from the Cluster primary schools. This is an area which they will continue and develop over the next few years once the community facility is complete. They held an inaugural triathlon this year for one of their cluster primary schools which was very successful. 30 pupils participated and for this session they intend to roll this out as a whole cluster competition.Back
Larbert High School promoted their club through the school bulletin, website and local paper. They now advertise their club and any cycling information through their twitter account @LHScycling which has over 150 followers. They also use footage from trips and share this on social media as well as on the school's plasma televisions. They advertise their Bikeability sessions to all of their seven primary schools who have also been involved in designing the logo for the new pump track.Back
Since the club started in 2008 they have offered cycling to over 1400 pupils as part of the S1 cycle days. Cycling is now offered in the junior and senior HWB as an activity. The extra-curricular club has taken over 1000 pupils away on day trips and has had over 100 pupils on the residential trips during the summer. A number of pupils have purchased bikes as a result of participating in the Cycle Road Shows.Back
Currently they are also setting up a partnership with the Falkirk Bike Club so they can offer road cycling as well as Mountain Biking. They are intending to develop the club in the future and offer cycling to our seven cluster primary schools once the community pump track has been opened with the intention of setting up a cycling hub on a Saturday morning.Back