Running an after-school mountain bike club

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  • Running an after-school mountain bike club
  • gearfreak
    Member

    Personally I wouldn’t do it until you’ve got the relevant qualification and liability insurance. Probably the cheapest way to do this is the new British Cycling MTB leadership and then maintaining BC silver membership which gives you the required liability insurance.

    So that’s not to say don’t do, just cover your ass. (It’s really rewarding taking kids out, they love it, and it’s great to see kids doing something active)

    (Where are you based?)

    Conan257
    Member

    CRB only covers the activity you applied for it for… So be careful on that.

    Get qualified, check insurance, do risk assessments.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    The teachers at my son’s school who set up an mtb club weren’t allowed to take children off school premises until they had leadership qualifications and (thus) insurance).

    They used to ride around the grounds doing steps and banks and ‘skills’ stuff.

    You’d need to check with the schools insurance re: fixing bikes but I’d assume you’d need some specific public liability and personal insurance if you’re not employed by the school as you’re essentially an ‘outsider’?

    grum
    Member

    CRB only covers the activity you applied for it for… So be careful on that.

    I’ve got a CRB as I do youth work anyway – I thought they had changed that advice about CRB. In the process of getting a new DBS check anyway, don’t know if that’s any different.

    I’ve been told we would be covered under the school’s PL insurance. I’m in Calderdale.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    The bloke who leads our club MTB section is being sued at the moment due to a bad injury suffered at a club ride. He’s not in the frame personally, it’s being covered by the club’s BC insurance, but make sure whatever the school provides for teachers in school would cover this out of school activity.

    H&S obsessed wimp about these

    You probably aren’t, but if one of the kids got injured, could you say the same for the parents?

    Edit, Too slow – sounds like you already did all this!

    grum
    Member

    You probably aren’t, but if one of the kids got injured, could you say the same for the parents?

    Well there is a bit in the letter about ‘this is a potentially risky activity’ etc that they have to agree to but I gather those things are legally pretty meaningless.

    The teachers at my son’s school who set up an mtb club weren’t allowed to take children off school premises until they had leadership qualifications and (thus) insurance).

    This is the bit I wonder about – is there actually any kind of legal requirement to have these qualifications? Im going to try and do one I think but not sure if I will be able to complete it before the proposed start.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    It’s all about risk assessment.

    I’d try and find someone else who’s already doing this (thought CTC etc?) and nick all their documentation.

    [edit] I think it was an insurance thing – on school premesis it counted as ‘school sports’ and was covered taking them off-site and the rules got a lot tighter on who was allowed to lead etc.

    Premier Icon monkeysfeet
    Subscriber

    Hi grum. There is no easy answer i am afraid. We have been running NWMBA (north wales mtb association) for a long long time. Some of us are qualified mtb instructors, i have the MIAS award, but if you dont want to instruct, just get kids out for a ride then you are best covering yourself with the CTC. We just post rides on social media and anyone who wants to come along can, however anyone under 16 should be accompanied by an adult.
    Here is the link for the ctc http://www.ctc.org.uk/membership/affiliate-membership-for-cycling-clubs-and-groups-of-all-types-and-sizes
    This will cover you in case of incident.
    Like i said you could just organise off road rides and offer anyone to join you, but with kids you never know. It may be worth asking parents to come along too, but this depends entirely on you.
    These are just the basics, without going into risk assessments, h & s and all that stuff.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Grum – the school need to know the council policy on such activities. On school ground or further afield (park, woodland etc) then you will need to fit in with their existing outdoor learning or sport risk management policy. There will be someone in the council who can advise, but it sometimes takes some digging. Headteacher should have the file on his/her desk somewhere. What council? I could help as well.

    Within that risk assesment, you would be fine to get on and do. This is for fixing bikes and leading sessions. This may mean a qualification. Headteacher has final say in this. As you say, this would also then cover you with PL insurance.

    The fear of litigation is always worse than the reality.

    Personally I wouldn’t do it until you’ve got the relevant qualification

    There is no such thing. There are a few ways of proving competence, one of which is to attend a course and prove on one day in history that some other person thought you met a ‘standard’.

    What I would do is get as many cycling activities together and plan carefully. Wallace Warriors here ‘mountainbike’ on a flat grassy park, and seem to keep kids well engaged with a bunch of cones and challenges….

    Premier Icon 40mpg
    Subscriber

    Have a look on the BC website for your local rep and speak to them. Ours (Southampton) does exactly this at some local schools and was looking for volunteers to expand the scheme under BC, so all the hard work is done for you.

    Edit – Go Ride for schools

    Contact details

    jeffcapeshop
    Member

    I would try to arrange a meeting with the relevant council members and head/designated teacher before doing anything else to clarify exactly what’s required

    grum
    Member

    Thanks everyone – really helpful.

    Local council would be Calderdale.

    Plan would be to run some basic skills stuff on the school grounds for a couple of weeks then we were thinking of taking them to Hurstwood reservoir – http://www.pmba.org.uk/Hurstwood.htm and possibly some of the easier bits of Lee Quarry.

    My friend has run all this by the headmaster and he seems happy so I assume he has looked into all the relevant policies etc.

    jeffcapeshop
    Member

    My friend has run all this by the headmaster and he seems happy so I assume he has looked into all the relevant policies etc.

    tbh i probably would not assume this.. check with him directly explaining possible issues

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    and in these days of free schools and academies don’t assume there’s some over-arching council policy/framework you’re fitting into – there may be nothing in place.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I would suggest your first decision is your specific role in this. Are you ‘the help’ or are you the ‘activity leader’? I would imagine as your friend is the employed member of staff with responsibility for the children and access to the relevant paperwork and authority figures within the school to get permission to run this you are just ‘the help’. In which case most of this stuff goes away for you and the admin nightmare falls to your friend. ‘We’ll run it together’ is not good enough – one of you is in charge and one is ‘the help’. I suspect there will be very definite third party liability insurance issues related to this too.

    I do have some experience of this. I have run an school MTB club for older students than you are proposing for 6 years. It has not always gone smoothly – a search of my posting history will drag up a very sad story I’d rather not go into again. Suffice to say the operating authority for the school will have very specific and clear guidelines about how such an activity must be run detailing the numbers of adults, the relevant experience required, first aid qualification you must hold, details of procedures for pre-riding the routes and carrying out risk assessments.

    This year we are farming it out – we have an outdoor ed centre that is providing guides and bikes which is going to be a hell of a lot easier from my perspective – at a cost. One of the biggest hassles is kids rocking up on barely passable bikes and making the decision if they are fit for purpose. And when you do and the bike falls apart mid ride it’s a ball ache for all involved. Maintained bikes that you know will work makes life so much easier.

    grum
    Member

    I would suggest your first decision is your role in this. Are you ‘the help’ or are you the ‘activity leader’? I would imagine as your friend is the employed member of staff with responsibility for the children and access to the relevant paperwork and authority figures within the school to get permission to run this you are just ‘the help’. In which case most of this stuff goes away for you and the admin nightmare falls to your friend.

    I guess this is partly my concern – in the original letter to the kids I was being presented as a mountain biking ‘expert’ which kind of makes it sound more like my responsibility, but we did agree that ultimately the safety of the kids etc would be her responsibility. We both ride quite a bit and she is pretty good at technical riding – but I guess I’ve done a bit more and am more experienced with fixing/maintenance stuff.

    (Just read the old post – how awful. 🙁 )

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Subscriber

    Give Pedalsport at King Cross a ring. They used to run a Saturday MTB ride from Brooksbank School, and still might for the Kids that didn’t just want to do Cross. He’ll know what the requirements are. There are some great kid friendly rides starting from Elland, Copley, Stainland and West Vale, and he’ll probably be able to help with route suggestions too.

    grum
    Member

    I’ve been asked by a friend who’s a primary school teacher (and also a mountain biker) to help out with running a club where we would introduce a few kids to easy mountain biking – just wondering if anyone has any advice?

    I’m happy to help out and it could be fun – my slight concerns are:

    1) Neither of us have any kind of mountain bike leader qualification – does this matter as long as parents are aware and happy with that? I have a up to date CRB and recent first aid training (though not outdoor specific first aid), and lots of experience of working with kids.

    I’m up for doing some sort of mountain bike leader course anyway but I’m not sure if I’ll have time before the proposed start.

    2) Is that thing true about you being potentially liable if you fix someone’s bike for them and then it goes wrong and they hurt themselves?

    And any other tips etc about content would be good too. I don’t wish to be a H&S obsessed wimp about these things but also don’t want to do anything potentially daft.

    Cheers!

    turq
    Member

    Grum – I work for CTC and we have a great track record of putting together packages like this. I personally developed 3 after school clubs (High Schools) to deliver mountainbiking, the success led to them writting it into their curriculum and indeed delivering it at GCSE level.

    We helped them build pump tracks/features on their premises, put them through Trail Leader and maintenance courses. They now run completely sustainably and are self sufficient, with only occaisonal input from myself just to offer advice.

    I know I may be slightly biased 😉 and I’m not suggesting that there will be this same level of support but we have an affiliate memebership pakage (Link in an earlier post) and a bike club toolkit that would answer all your questions and talk you through the processes.

    Contact

    http://www.ctc.org.uk/contact-ctc

    For a chat about what we can offer and how it may fit your needs

    TiRed
    Member

    In your position, I’d sign up for the BC Level 2 Coaching certificate. My coaching in schools comes with BC insurance. And the skills are transferable to off-road. Then you can upgrade to their mtb coaching course.

    I am a teacher and I run a school mtb club. You can not assume anything is okay and especially not just because the Headteacher has seen the plans and thinks it is a good idea. You have to clearly define who is the person in charge. They have to be qualified to lead groups on mtbs – for example I have the SMBLA Mountain Bike Leader Award and my deputy has the Trail Cycle Leader Award. Everything has to be in place before you start. All approvals have to be gained from your LEA who will have policies governing outdoor activities. If you are lucky there maybe somebody within the LEA to help you but often they just try to stop you doing anything.
    You will need to worry about insurance because you will be covered by your local council if they approve the activity.
    If I was starting afresh I would go with the CTC to get the help to set things up.
    Good Luck!

    Oh and I forgot to mention. You are not allowed to fix kids bikes for them unless you are qualified as a cycle technician. You are usually allowed to effect trailside repairs but don’t start fixing kids brakes etc get them to take their bikes to a bike shop.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Yep, be careful with that one Grum. Perhaps offer to take a few on a ride unofficially but current regs make you idea difficult (albeit bloody sensible) IMO.

    Great world we live in. Thank goodness I taught climbing when I did and was lucky enough to avoid mishaps!

    Spin
    Member

    Perhaps offer to take a few on a ride unofficially

    I’d be very wary of that unless it’s genuinely an ad hoc thing with kids who you know and whose parents you know.

    Spin
    Member

    is there actually any kind of legal requirement to have these qualifications

    As I understand it, in Scotland there is a legal requirement that you have an appropriate qualification for any ‘adventurous activity’ with under 18’s. I thought it was the same in Englandshire but will happily take correction on that.

    stevious
    Member

    In terms of liability, you’re on safe ground as long as your working within the remit of either a qualification or a reasonable amount of experience. In this case I would say if you don’t have the experience of leading kids you’d be better to wait until you’re qualified before taking anything on. Knowing how to ride a bike well and being able to safely and effectively manage a group on bikes are very different skills indeed.

    EDIT: Just re-read OP. If you have experience working with kids in an outdoor environment then if you can document this it should be quite useful for arse-covering purposes.

    Grum – I also work for CTC and live in Calderdale.

    I’d echo what people said about obtaining a qualification, it is the easiest way of proving competence. I would also affiliate your group with one of the national cycling organisations which would give you public liability cover and the backing of a national organisation. The school probably has its own cover but it would be worth checking this (check level of cover – do they have organisers liability as well as public liability?)

    Calderdale Council also has a cycling officer – Andy Geall, it would probably be worth speaking to him about this as he is the bloke who organises most of the in-school cycling (Bikeability at least) in the area.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    As I understand it, in Scotland there is a legal requirement that you have an appropriate qualification for any ‘adventurous activity’ with under 18’s. I thought it was the same in Englandshire but will happily take correction on that.

    No it is not.
    Any outdoor activity can be led by anyone.
    However, most of the outdoor and education industry subscribes to a set of National Governing Body (or Private Company) run accreditation schemes. Most of these schemes (the better ones!) allow for Accredited Prior Learning or an alternative pathway or evidence.
    The really good ones even point out that their ‘qualification’ is voluntary, and is barely worth the paper they are written on a few months post passing an assessment.
    I have met a Mountain Leader (Summer), who passed assessment 25 years ago, and had not taken a group into the hills since, or had further outdoor leader training. She was trying to take 68 kids up a mountain by herself….
    I have also met not yet qualified, 19 year olds who I have trusted my own kids with in the mountains for a day.
    Attitude and up-to-date ness over a bit of paper please.

    You may be confusing the AALA inspection scheme, and yes if you are providing Adventurous activities, then you should be registered under this scheme – the council AALA license would cover, if you are within their risk assessment. Here England and Scotland differ….

    wwaswas – Member
    and in these days of free schools and academies don’t assume there’s some over-arching council policy/framework you’re fitting into – there may be nothing in place.

    I have to remind myself of the folly education management system now in place south of the border…. Quite right!

    In your position, I’d sign up for the BC Level 2 Coaching certificate. My coaching in schools comes with BC insurance. And the skills are transferable to off-road. Then you can upgrade to their mtb coaching course.

    I would just do SMBLA TCL or MBL straight away. Having said that, I am not allowed to coach at my local club as I have MBL
    +20 years outdoor leading experience, not BC L2 (although I do hold L3 in Paddlesports…but am not allowed to play ‘TopTrumps’ apparently.)

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Spin – that’s what I meant.

    grum
    Member

    Forgot to say, thanks again everyone. I think my friend is contacting CTC, Pedalsport and the local council cycling officer.

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    NICA is catching on in the US. And they have the best skills book too, IMO. (Available at Amazon)

    MrSmith
    Member

    You should also speak to your regional BC go-ride coach, they have a fleet of bikes on a trailer they take into schools and are obviously qualified coaches with full peado check.

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