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Member since May 2010 • Last active Feb 2013
  • 4 conversations

Most recent activity

  • in Cycle Training
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    1. Make it compulsory in the curriculum, as swimming is.
    2. Headteachers who don't cycle often make poor advocates. If not 1, then maybe it should be a compulsory part of Headteachers training qualification or CPD to do Bikeability.
    3. Obtain a list of schools in a LA who don't provide cycle training, via FoI request, and challenge Governors and Councillors as well as the Head for their reasons not to give training. Take to press if no success.
    4. Provide bikes.
  • in Cycle Training
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    Just stumbled across this rationale I wrote earlier in the year for paying a professional rate to cycle trainers, and thought I'd share it here:

    a) The headteachers we work for (and the parents they report to) expect the people responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their children to:
    know their subject inside out;
    be reliable, responsible and professional;
    have an excellent rapport with pupils and staff;
    be positive role models;
    be skilled communicators with the ability to maintain discipline, and enthuse and motivate the pupils.

    b) The pupils and schools benefit from a low turnover of trainers, enabling:
    a continuing rapport with schools and strong trust and enthusiasm from school staff;
    efficient delivery and adaptability, as the trainers know the local area well and the characteristics/needs of the school.

    c) The above results in a sustained increase in the amount and quality of cycle training. There is a virtuous circle where headteachers and staff want to host the activity; pupils and their parents want to participate due to word-of-mouth from previous participants; and pupils gain higher cycling skill, a higher (genuine) level 2 passrate. High quality trainers are more likely to instil a lifelong passion for cycling.

    d) Improved Health and Safety: We avoid trainers working so many hours a day/week, to scratch together a living wage, that the edge is taken off their mental alertness. We recognise the demanding nature of the job in a challenging and potentially dangerous environment, with full responsibility and duty of care for pupils and other road users of varying emotional and intellectual ability, vehicle control skills and road sense. Significant pressure is put on our trainers in Central London as it is a busy environment, where many drivers are working professionally to a time deadine and have little expectation of children using the roads or patience with them so-doing.

    e) We recognise the fact that, in contrast to employees, self-employed trainers have to cover all pension contributions, holiday pay (including Bank Holidays), sick pay, insurance,CPD costs & time, and delivery material costs out of the income, and have no job security.

  • in Cycle Training
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    I don't see why collective agreement among the self-employed is a no-no. As a self-employed speciality act I used Equity's 'Act as Known' contract which, while it didn't have a standard fee (as a five person singing act is very different to a one person sword swallowing act), did have standard cancellation terms which were equitable to the act and the theatre/person making the booking. I would think that fully accredited instructors should be able to agree on a fair 'standard' fee, or at least a fee range, for delivering level 1 and 2 Bikeability in schools, part in the morning and part in the afternoon.
    It might be on the basis on an acceptable level now, and a target rate for 2013/14 academic year.

  • in Cycle Training
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    If you have worked for a company that is planning to bid to TfL for these big contracts and don't want them to get it because they're planning on paying peanuts then get in touch with them NOW and get them to confirm to you that they aren't submitting your CV to show their quality.

    I believe TfL's tender says cost is 70% of the scoring and quality is 30% (they're only kids after all being trained). If cheapskate companies don't have quality CVs there's a slim chance they won't get the contract.

  • in Cycle Training
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    That represents the providers, not the trainers themselves. I don't doubt that many of its members are reasonable employers, but a trade association is not the same as a union.

  • in Cycle Training
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    I understand that Transport for London are currently inviting tenders from cycle training providers to deliver 'Bikeability' courses in schools across central London boroughs (tender d/l 6 June).

    I am told that the brief is that a lead instructor and a support instructor do a morning and afternoon playground session (2 hours each, with 15 pupils per session) on the Monday, and then from Tuesday to Friday do three 1 1/2 hours on-road sessions per day with 10 pupils each session.

    I have three concerns:
    Firstly, that ten pupils on road with two instructors for an hour and a half won't result in decent training
    Secondly, that companies bidding may squeeze instructor rates to get the contract.
    Thirdly, that some companies may impose a contract where they can cancel a booking made months before at a couple of days notice and not pay you.

    A company recently said the following in a letter it sent out:
    "It is with great regret that we have to inform you that we will be implementing some rate reductions in freelance pay rates for both cycle instructors and external Dr bikes.

    The reasons for having to make this difficult decision are two fold. In recent years there has been severe downward pressure on contract prices from local authorities as a result of public sector cuts. Secondly there have been many more competitors coming in to the market place. The result of this has been a sustained cut in contract rates for cycling services. We have already absorbed a significant reduction in contract rates and have tried hard to minimise any impact of this to our staff pay rates.

    We simply have to make these rate cuts in order to remain economically viable and ensure the organisation survives. Furthermore we hope that our now reduced contract rates will make us more financially competitive and enable us to win more business in the future and be able to offer more work to you."
    Their new rate of pay for Schools cycle training is:
    Lead cycle trainer £13.50 p/hr
    Co instructor £12.00 p/hr

    I consider this to be a nonsense rate of pay for a self-employed person with good sklll and experience, insurance, CRB, excellent communication skills with pupils and the ability to manage a potentially deadly workplace in central London.

    The company blame competitive forces within the business that means they have to squeeze the workforce. It seems to me it is time the workforce stood up to the companies and TfL and said that the MINIMUM daily rate of pay for delivering cycle training in schools should be £100 and, should a school course be cancelled another course should be provided or the payment should be honoured unless it is cancelled a half-term in advance.

    What do other instructors here think? It would be useful to say if you're fully or provisionally accredited.

  • in Rider Down
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    Neighbour reports his cyclist son-in-law is in St Thomas's Hospital with a broken femur following a collision with a lorry near Blackfriar's Bridge yesterday.

  • in Cycle Training
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    Too late for your talk, but maybe for the next time: