Project has pupils geared for success

Bike mechanics at Graeme High
Bike mechanics at Graeme High

Senior pupils are working on the ‘missing link’ – and finding out more about pedals, French gears and brake cables at the same time.

Ten enterprising youngsters at Graeme High have happily swapped their school uniforms for overalls to launch their own Cycle Academy.

A store room has been converted into a workshop to accomodate the project rebuilding worn out bikes to sell on. The trainee mechanics will earn a City and Guilds certificate in bike maintenance at the end of the year-long course being run by design and technical teacher Stuart Hay.

Bikes donated by staff got the project up and running in August and since then the school has bought 25 more from Falkirk Community Trust to keep the production line rolling. The first bikes to be repaired to a roadworthy standard have already been snapped up by the school’s cycle club and there are plans to use others to offer cycle proficiency training to primary school pupils across the district next year.

Adrienne Galletly, a principal teacher of enhanced curriculum at the school, helped set up the project with Mr Hay and deputy head Stephen Beath. She said: “The initial costs to provide the tools, bike stands and overalls were met from school funds but the idea is that the bikes we don’t need for school activities can be sold on and the workshop will be self-financing by next spring.

“We have a really keen bunch of trainee mechanics learning new skills six periods a week just now. At the moment they are all boys from fifth and sixth year, but girls have been invited to apply too. As well as going out to primaries to teach pupils how to ride a bike safely, the academy also intends to hold bike surgeries in-house which will allow their classmates to bring their bikes in for a service.”