Your Internal Quality Assurance lead must observe all your cycle instructors every year. Observations should build confidence and motivate staff to improve in your team.

Observation should be a positive and helpful experience for all. The more often observations are carried out the more the process will feel like part of the everyday delivery routine.

We recommend the following approach.

Planning your observation

1. Set a date for observation with the instructor and inform the school.

2. Observations should last around 90 minutes. This allows for observation of more than one activity and location. This may include arrival or departure from the school, or interaction with staff and parents.

3. Before the observation, send the observation form and any previous notes to the instructor. Clarify any points, if required.

4. You will need:

  • Your cycle
  • Equipment to take notes
  • Watch
  • DBS check
  • Photographic ID
  • Bikeability Delivery Guide
  • Risk assessments
  • Instructor observation form
  • Previous instructor observation form, or related notes

If you are using a phone to take notes or record delivery, please gain consent from the school in advance.

Before and during the observation

Pre-session briefing

  • Do your best to put the instructor at ease. Observations are a supportive process. For example, say “I will be as unobtrusive as possible and not interrupt unless there is a safety issue.”
  • Tell them you will be taking notes.
  • Discuss what the instructor aims to deliver and achieve during the session.
  • Discuss specific rider challenges, where appropriate.

 

Pre-session check

  • Has a site-specific risk assessment been completed in advance by the instructor? Has it been shared with the school?
  • Have consent forms been completed? Does the instructor know the medical conditions and special educational needs or disabilities of the group?
  • Has the instructor got an emergency number for the school (or parents if necessary)?
  • Do they know who to speak to in the school regarding safeguarding issues?

 

During the observation

  • Introduce yourself to the group, or be introduced by the instructor as someone who is there to watch and learn
  • Keep a distance and take notes.
  • Check the rider progression tracker is completed after the session.
  • When the group of riders is being moved, cycle independently to avoid affecting the process of moving the group.
A Bikeability instructor with her back to the camera doing two thumbs up in the air

After the observation

Debrief procedure

  • The debrief should take place within 24 hours of the observation. Preferably, this will be face to face.
  • You can deliver feedback one to one or in a group. If delivering to a group, be sensitive, transparent and open. Be clear which instructor the feedback is for.
  • Instructors should reflect and provide feedback on their training delivery.
  • Questions should be open and probing to promote discussion and encourage self-reflection.
  • Start with positives and put the instructor at ease.
  • Refer to the Bikeability Delivery Guide.

 

Debrief structure

  • Use our sample questions to encourage self-reflection.
  • Use your notes to discuss and probe further.
  • Use instructor’s own evaluation to draw out further good practice and targets for development.

 

Debrief feedback

  • Be specific with key areas for the instructor to improve
  • Reinforce what went well.
  • Allow the instructor time to reflect and make improvement decisions.
  • Create an action plan. This must:
    1. Be instructor owned. It will state what the instructors wants to do or improve.
    2. Be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound)
    3. Feed into the instructor’s personal development plan
    4. Feed into the training provider’s CPD programme
    5. Be signed off by you and the instructor.

 

Final steps

  • Complete the instructor observation form.
  • Share with the instructor for comments. They must agree the report and any associated actions.
  • Provide a copy of the instructor observation form to the instructor and training provider.

Supporting documentation

Instructor observation form

This form can support an instructor observation.

Observation and mentoring schedule

This schedule can support your observation and mentoring.

Example school communications

You may wish to use this template when contacting a school about an observation.

Example debrief questions

These debrief questions will help to encourage self-reflection and areas for improvement.