Freewheel through Life

This week saw the start of an exciting new opportunity at Yateley Manor – our Cycle Skills Club. Fifteen lucky children began their journey of honing their skills on two wheels under the watchful eye of three British Cycling coaches, including our very own Mrs Sanderson. This week looked at bike safety and helmet fit as well as “ready position” and safe cornering. The children had a whale (or “wheel”) of a time but I wonder if they realised the relevance that riding a bike can have to their lives ahead. Allow me to explain….


Getting the balance correct is the key to staying on a bike. Lean too far one way and you will fall off. We want the children at Yateley Manor to explore opportunities and challenge themselves. We also want them to keep the balance in their lives, to challenge themselves in new areas and consider a breadth of experience.

Learn from your falls

Life is a series of learning from mistakes. A child’s first steps or words come from making mistakes. At Yateley Manor we encourage a safe learning environment where we are explicit about the need to make mistakes as part of the learning process. It removes anxiety for children and frees them to explore their learning. I understand that some of our children in Year 5 left school this week saying how much they had enjoyed the exams – now there’s success!

Get back on and ride

Resilience in children is a bit of a buzz word at the moment in education, but with good reason. The demands on adult lives are not getting any easier. With our focus on preparing children for successful adult lives we must provide them with the confidence to try again if they fail, to show true grit in their endeavours. As Nelson Mandela once said, "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

Look at the road ahead

If you look at the ground instead of looking up ahead, you will lose your balance and crash.

In life, it is easy to live in our own little bubble, consumed with ourselves. We risk not only disconnecting from the world, but also ultimately disconnecting from ourselves. We need to encourage children to look up and outside themselves. We want children to connect to the world outside of them. Only then will they flourish.

When the road bends, go with it

When a bend is coming up, you lean into the curve. You do not fight it and go the other way. Life sometimes throws us curves too, and in order to remain on top, we need to go with the flow. Our focus on relationships at Yateley Manor helps children to lean into the bend, to be confident and to follow the course. Feeling safe when life is challenging is so important for the children.

Independence comes

I remember learning to ride a bike so clearly. It was a small driveway and I would go round and round, with my dad shouting from behind that he was still holding on. Of course at one point he was not, and I found myself independent at last. A clever trick I thought, but one which I inherited for my own children!

The final point here is that learning to ride a bike requires perseverance, commitment and vision – knowing what you want to achieve and how to get there. At some point the training wheels need to come off and then all the skills that have been learnt can be used (just so long as my dad says he is still there!)


Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein