Cathkin High School

Find out more about this South Lanarkshire high school that has achieved tranformational outomes. 

Transformational outcomes

This South Lanarkshire high school has achieved a transformational outcome through funding from Scotland’s national cycling organisation.

The ‘On Yer Bike’ project at Cathkin High School set out to give pupils more choice during their physical education lessons and give some a chance to get on a bike that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.

Sparking a thought...

Cathkin’s Health and Wellbeing Faculty Head, Susan Lafferty, knew that the project would be a hit right from the start: “About three years ago, we took a group of pupils out to Millport as part of an annual rewards day. There was quite a bit of interest and we had great fun cycling around the island – but it sparked a thought, why can’t we do this more often?”

Funding from Cycling Scotland

Looking to take advantage of the nearby Cathkin Braes Country Park mountain bike trails, developed for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Cathkin High applied for funding to acquire bikes and install storage and maintenance facilities on campus. Supporting Ms Lafferty’s enthusiasm, the school’s head teacher agreed to match any funding awarded. With £4,150 from Cycling Scotland’s Cycling Friendly Secondary Schools development fund, the school set about putting their plans into action.

Working with all abilities 

They applied in conjunction with Rutherglen High School, the attached Additional Support Needs school who were finding increasing success through cycling with Bikeability and basic maintenance training provided to pupils of mixed ability. The funding allowed the joint project to purchase bikes that would benefit both schools, maintenance equipment, training and cycle ride leaders.

Rutherglen has a range of adapted bikes, including trikes for pupils and over the past academic year, at least six pupils have learned to pedal on two wheels despite their mobility issues. The two schools share best practice and equipment, and the Cathkin High School pupils aim to maintain all fleet bikes as their SQA maintenance programme grows.

Community spirit

Purchasing 19 new bikes, Cathkin High thought out of the box when it came to storage solutions. The school acquired a shipping container which has been customised to allow for easier access. Displaying the school’s community spirit, staff from the Technologies department helped design and install the bespoke wooden racks inside the new container.

The new facilities allow PE classes to offer an extra activity, as well as supporting pupils to gain their National 4 PE qualifications and Duke of Edinburgh award. The benefits extend beyond the school gates, with Cathkin’s five feeder primary schools taking advantage of the facilities to take part in Bikeability Scotland training and other cycling classes run by parent volunteers.

“Many of these sessions used to require your own bike to take part, which is why it is important we are able to supply six children’s bikes which give more kids the chance to discover the joys of cycling,” says Susan.

A life skill for every day

The project has taught pupils the benefits of cycling as part of everyday life and has proved such a hit with pupils that the school gets a helping hand from Bike for Good, a Glasgow-based cycling charity, to provide extra bikes during classes and gives maintenance tips to pupils. Most recently, a group of pupils became the first in South Lanarkshire to pass their Bikeability Level 3 and, with help again from Bike for Good, another group of pupils tackle the Cathkin Braes every Friday afternoon.

The school is hoping the project will continue to grow, expanding activities to allow more pupils to take part and encouraging students to make this life skill a part of their day-to-day lives.

The school would like to thank the following people for their help and support:

  • Colin Smith, engineering officer from Traffic & Transport who provided six bikes
  • Marion Shearer who organised the bike shed at the back of the school
  • Keith Fergus, Bikeability co-ordinator from East Renfrewshire Council