Bikeability instructor wins national award for work with Littlehampton schoolchildren

Rob using a tandem to help teach pedalling techniques to a River Beach Primary pupil
Rob using a tandem to help teach pedalling techniques to a River Beach Primary pupil

A Bikeability instructor has won national recognition for his work with hearing-impaired schoolchildren in Littlehampton.

Rob Piatt won The Association of Bikeability Schemes’ Instructor of the Year award for his tuition at River Beach Primary School’s Special Support Centre.

Rob, who lives in Lancing and has been a Bikeability instructor for two years, said: “The children have benefitted massively from the chance to ride a range of bikes and to have dedicated, focused training. The sense of pride and satisfaction I’m feeling at the end of every session is as much as I’ve ever felt in my life.”

He worked with all 13 children from the centre who range from reception age to year six, with varying degrees of ability.

Johnan Bannier, who runs the Special Support Centre, said: “The children gained huge amounts of confidence through this chance to improve their cycling skills. Rob’s approach meant that no matter what their capability or previous experience, every child felt successful and had fun.”

Bikeability, which used to be known as Cycling Proficiency training, is designed to ensure children gain practical skills and understanding of how to cycle on today’s roads. It gives them the skills and confidence for all types of cycling and is governed by national standards.

Rob said: “We had several two-wheelers, ranging from small, 12inch balance bikes to nearly full-sized 26inch machines. However, the issue with having hearing impairments when it comes to cycling is balance. Some were generally OK but some needed more assistance.

“One pupil could only balance through sight and had big problems walking on uneven ground. Thankfully, we also had the use of the Wheels for All adapted trikes which meant everybody could have a go.

“We also had a tandem to help learn pedalling techniques. This proved especially popular.”

Roger Elkins, county council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “I would like to congratulate Rob on this award, which is well-deserved recognition for his inspirational work with the school, its staff and children.”

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