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Education Officer and RATS

Recruitment and Training Sub-Committee (RATS) Report 2018

Membership of the RATS committee in 2019 was: Dee Smith (current Chair), Martin Kitson (previous Chair), Nicholas Small (Treasurer), Tom Pinnock (Secretary and Huntingdon Rep), Lesley Boyle (ART Rep Ely District), Barry Johnson (St Clement’s Church – the forthcoming Cambridge Teaching Centre and Young Ringers), Martin Slough (Wisbech District), Nick Carver (Ely District) Louise Dobson (Stretham REC) and Phil Bailey (Ely District).

The RATS looks after these main areas:
  • Young Ringers – currently organised by Cecilia and David Pipe as ‘The Fen Tigers’.
  • Ringing and Teaching Hubs: Stretham REC, Walsoken, Cambridge University Guild
  • Association-relevant Training events, such as Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) workshops and teacher training modules, and other training events.
  • Supporting Association wide recruitment and training, and other relevant events, with expertise and funding
The Fen Tigers had a successful day at the Ringing World National Youth Contest, held in Liverpool. In the method section they achieved a Grade 5. Special thanks go to Cecilia and David Pipe for all the support and organisation of getting the team together and sorting out arrangements for the weekend. For future RWNY Contests the RATS have agreed to contribute to the cost of travel and accommodation for competitors.

Young Ringers Practices are held at Histon in the afternoon on the first Sunday of the month. If you are a Young Ringer (under 19 years of age) and can ring rounds and call changes, please do come along.

The Stretham REC Committee consists of Stephen Setter (Manager), Louise Dobson (Administrator), Dee Smith (Chair), Catherine Simcock, Lesley Boyle, Nicholas Small, Martin Kitson and Phil Bailey. The focus this year has very much been supporting the ringers who started or returned in response to the Ringing Remembers Campaign. This has included ringers from Brinkley, Great Wilbraham, Triplow and other towers in the Diocese. The Saturday morning session is very popular and covers the skills ranging from Bell-handling up to Plain Hunt. The Wednesday evening session also provides support for ringers up to Level 3 on the ART LtR scheme. Other courses held at the REC have included a Beyond Bob Minor course, introduction to Plain Hunt and Raising and Lowering.

The Walsoken Hub continues to be very active in teaching up to Level 3. This includes the 8 new ringers who were recruited through the successful Wisbech Open Days and have benefited from the support and expertise available at Walsoken.

In Cambridge a new teaching hub has been set up – the Cambridge University Guild ART Hub which is based over several towers.

The Cambridge Ringing Centre, which will be based at St Clements Church, is making steady progress. It is hoped that the faculty of the project will be granted in March 2020. Meanwhile fundraising has been ongoing to raise £250,000 to cover the costs for the project.

ART events have continued throughout the year and have included an all day Learning the Ropes Festival in Norwich, and M1 and M2 Workshops. The Ely DA were very successful in the Annual ART Awards events achieving three awards:
  • Cambridge University Guide – University Society that has made a Significant Contribution to Promoting Ringing to Younger People
  • Lesley Boyle- For Inspiring Leadership in Ringing
  • Jimmy Yeoman – Learning the Ropes Achievement Award.
In my first year as RATO I have tried to visit all the districts in the Diocesan. I have been really impressed by the commitment of many ringers who are providing training for ringers at different stages. New ventures such as the Project Pickled Egg are being tackled and now there is the new Pathways Campaign which caters for a wider range of ability. Do contact your district secretary or myself if you require details of any training events.

As this is being written, I know that towers are recruiting to ring for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on 8th May and VJ Day on 15th August. To help recruitment events we do have a mobile bell, a banner and information boards to help on the day.

In the absence of a Safeguarding Officer may I remind ringers that every tower Captain in the Diocese must complete C0, C1 and C2 training modules and to be aware of Safeguarding issues when teaching Young People and Vulnerable Adults.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those who are involved with the teaching or are supporting the training of our ringers.
Dee F Smith

Recruitment and Training Sub-Committee (RATS) Report 2018

Membership of the committee in 2018 was: Martin Kitson (current Chair), Phil Bailey (previous Chair), Nicholas Small (Treasurer), Louise Dobson (Secretary), Lesley Boyle (Ely District), Barry Johnson (Cambridge District), Martin Slough (Wisbech District), Tom Pinnock (Huntingdon District) and Nick Carver (Ely District).

The RATS looks after these main areas:
Young Ringers – currently organised by Catriona Shearer as ‘The Fen Tigers’.
The Ringing Education Centre (REC) at Stretham.
A supporting brief on other Ringing and Teaching Hubs in Ely DA, such as Cambridge (not yet active) and Walsoken.
Association-relevant Training events, such as Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) workshops and teacher training modules, and other training events.
Supporting Association wide recruitment and training, and other relevant events, with expertise and funding
The Fen Tigers had a successful day at the Ringing World National Youth Competition. This was the first year they had taken part in the method ringing section as opposed to call changes. They finished equal first in their eliminator group and 5th out of 6 in the final.

The REC Committee structure was changed slightly when Barbara Le Gallez stepped down from being manager in April 2018 and the role was split into Manager and Administrator. The committee now comprises: Stephen Setter (Manager), Louise Dobson (Administrator), Dee Smith (Chair), Catherine Simcock, Lesley Boyle, Nicholas Small, Martin Kitson.

The main activity has been teaching bell handling and follow-up foundation skills to new recruits. Most Saturday mornings there has been a drop in session and most Wednesday evenings learners from Great Wilbraham and Thriplow have been taught. Thus Association towers with insufficient skilled teachers have been able to outsource these initial stages of learning to ring to the REC before taking their learners back into their own practices. Overall approx. 50 learners have had some handling tuition at the REC. Another benefit is that newly trained teachers of bellhandling have been able to gain experience under the watchful eye of more experienced teachers and thus gain ART accreditation– see below.

Huntingdon ringers visited the REC with all their learners, and enjoyed themselves using the simulators. The REC hosted Workshops on Conducting, Tower Leadership, Steeplekeeping, plus ART modules on learning to teach Bellhandling and Basic Conducting. The REC supported the Ringing Remembers campaign by inviting RR recruits and their teachers to two special events designed to show them the enjoyment gained from ringing at other towers and meeting other ringers. One was at the REC itself and the other at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge, where a lovely crowd of 30 learners and teachers enthusiastically applauded each other as they rang on the middle six bells and also enjoyed a talk on the history of bellringing in Cambridge.

The Cambridge Teaching Centre is still very much in its early phases of potential development. The Walsoken Hub is very active in teaching bellhandling and hosting ‘Ring Something Simple’ training sessions.

Twenty three Ely DA members have attended ART Modules in 2018 on ‘Teaching Bellhandling’ and also ‘Rounds to Plain Hunt’. These were held at Horringer, Gressenhall, Walsoken and Writtle as well as at Stretham. In total 34 teachers have now been accredited by ART as teachers of Bellhandling (13 of these in 2018) and 20 as teachers of ‘Rounds to Plain Hunt’ (3 in 2018). This is excellent progress and we perform very favourably compared with our neighbouring Guilds.

RATS members supported St Mary’s Ely who ran a recruitment event during the Heritage Open Days weekend in September. Funding support was agreed for Walsoken and Huntingdon for simulator and other technology projects.
Martin Kitson

Education Officer and RATS Report 2017

Over the year, the Recrutiment and Training Subcommittee (RATS) have been discussing ways to recruit new ringers. Tower Captains are to be contacted with a brief questionnaire about how many ringers, how many taught, how many lost, etc. This enables us to see what the situation is and how we can improve it. During 2018 we shall be contacting Social Groups to encourage people to learn to ring and we’ll be talking to DoE advisers at local schools about learning to ring for DoE skills.

Some activities of the RATS in 2017:
  • A Refresher Day for those novice teachers who have been on the M1 ART course and are not yet accredited was organised and was very successful. Accreditations for several of these novice teachers will take place in 2018.
  • A document regarding how to prepare for, and produce, Open Days for recruiting new ringers is available on line or by contacting Martin Kitson.
  • We have given a donation towards the restoration of Cherry Hinton’s handbells.
  • The RATS have been assisting in various learning courses, e.g. a Kent Treble Bob Minor course at Cherry Hinton.
St Clement’s, Cambridge, is in the process of becoming a Ringing Centre thanks to the efforts of Barry Johnson. Plans are at an early stage but things look very positive. Walsoken in the Wisbech District has started up as a ringing centre and we are aware of Huntington District working towards a ringing centre.

During the year, Barbara Le Gallez retired as RATS Secretary after several years in office. We are indebted to Barbara for her hard work and dedication, and we wish her well.

This will be my last report as the Ely DA Education Officer and I would like to thank all those ringers I have worked with, particularly the members of the RATS. Since I took up the post, education and training has moved forward and the Association is now in a better place than when I first introduced ITTS to the area, now known as ART. I would like to promote the ringing centres as a real benefit to all ringers and please do consider using them. Also, the RATS can help with finances towards and training and recruitment projects that you might have.

Keep up the training and recruitment everyone.
Phil Bailey

Education Officer and RATS Report 2016

The Education Officer chairs, and works through, the 8-person Recruitment and Training subcommittee (RATS), which welcomes new members, especially from the Huntingdon and Wisbech Districts - currently under-represented on RATS. The Education Officer was interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire as a response to the CCCBR September recruitment initiative. RATS can be contacted via the email address.

Our main new project in 2016 was the New Ringer’s Packs. These are aimed at people who have just started to ring, whether or not they are yet Ely Diocesan Association (EDA) members. The packs contain simple instructional material and information about the EDA. You can request one from RATS for any new ringer you know. They are free of charge, as they are paid for by the Recruitment and Training Fund (RATF). The RATF paid for work on the mobile bell – servicing and repair of the trailer, and a new computer. The RATF made a grant of £300 for restoration of the Cherry Hinton handbells. All EDA members are invited to apply to the RATF (via the EDA Treasurer) for grants for recruitment, training or promotional projects.

The Young Ringers, with a new organiser, Catriona Shearer, implemented a new policy of holding meetings that were both social and instructional, with a regular pattern of meeting dates, advertised well in advance. They held three social / ringing events, as well as practising for the RWNYC, where, competing as the Fen Tigers, they came joint second in the call change category of the 2016 RWNYC with an A-, having scored a high A in the heats. Please do make Catriona aware of any young ringers you know, via the RATS email address.

Stretham Ringing Education Centre, which now possesses a dumbbell, continued to run training courses and give individual tuition. Courses run included: StartRinging (bell handling, ITTS Level 1), Conducting and the monthly Ely District 5/6 bell practice. The REC was featured twice on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and was awarded Highly Commended in The ART Award for Innovation in the Effective Use of Technology in Teaching. The REC has successfully applied to become a CC recognized Ringing Centre and an ART Hub. All EDA members are welcome to make use of the REC – please see our notice in this Annual Report.

ITTS teacher training continued, with M1 (bell handling) and M2F (rounds to plain hunt) courses. Over 60 ElyDA members have now undertaken ITTS training. EDA member Lesley Boyle has now been endorsed as an ITTS tutor, so it should be easier to arrange local courses.
Barbara Le Gallez, RATS Secretary

Education Officer’s Report 2015

A very successful seminar took place during the year at Swaffham Bulbeck, run by Mark Regan from Worcester Cathedral.  Those who attended were able to go back to their towers and consider what Mark had said. 

I was delighted that the Stretham Ringing Education Centre opened in 2015 as it has been something that I've wanted to see in the Ely DA for a number of years. I would now ask that ringers use the facilities at Stretham and make use of it now that it is up and running.  This is a very good education centre and let's make it work.

I would like to thank everyone on the RATS committee as we have had a very good year working on education and training.

Please remember even though all districts have ringing masters and/or education officers, I am very willing to give advice on any education or training matters. 

Philip Bailey

Recruitment and Training Subcommittee (RATS) Report 2015

The EDA Education Officer chairs this subcommittee, which was responsible for the following projects in 2015:

Fund-raising built up the Recruitment and Training Fund, to which all EDA members are invited to apply (via the EDA Treasurer) for grants for recruitment, training and promotional projects.

The RATS circulated a Ringing Questionnaire, as a result of which the training courses requested (ringing up and down in peal, simple methods and conducting) have been provided.

ITTS courses have been put on, and continue to be provided, as is support for those working towards qualification.

The EDA Young Ringers held seven meetings in 2015. One of these was in Oxford, as guests of the ODG Young Ringers. We joined the Huntingdon district for their pre-ADM ringing at St Neots and joined the Ely District for their summer BBQ. During the year, we met with the groups of young ringers at Longstanton (Ely District), March (Wisbech District) and Great Gransden (Huntingdon District). We also visited Stretham REC to use its new facilities. Attendance at events declined during the latter half of the year, leading to a decision to implement a fresh approach in 2016. The EDA Young Ringers entered the 2015 Ringing World National Youth Contest and came joint fourth, achieving a ‘B’ grade and improving on their placement last year.
The Stretham Ringing Education Centre (in St James’ Church, Stretham) was opened in August 2015. The REC is a bell ringing training school, equipped with the latest simulator technology and staffed by ITTS-qualified teachers. It was set up by the EDA for the following purposes:
  • Teachers from any EDA tower can bring their learners and teach them at the REC
  • Towers needing assistance with teaching can send their learners to be taught by REC staff
  • Any ringer from the EDA area can book lessons (practical or theory) with REC staff
  • Any ringer from the EDA area can book time at the REC for self-directed learning
  • New recruits can be taught the basic skills at the REC before joining a tower
  • Training courses on any aspect of bell ringing can be run on demand at the REC
The REC is equipped with a simulator working on all six bells. There are two computers available, permitting two ringers to ring independently (using headphones). There is the potential to easily extend this up to one computer per bell if required. You can ring alone on the simulator for as long as you like to practice a new method or perfect your striking. The REC is also equipped with materials for self-study – books, DVDs etc.

The REC is available for booking 9am to 9pm every day, except when the facilities are in use by the church or the local band. All ringers are warmly invited to book practice time at the REC (costing £2 per person per session). See the REC website for details.
Barbara Le Gallez, RATS Secretary

Education Officer’s Report 2014

I am aware that there has not been any training during the year at Association level, this has been because I have been concentrating my time on trying to move things forward with the Education Ringing Centre at Stretham. The General Committee agreed to set up a subcommittee to look into Recruitment and Training (known as RATS) and this committee has met throughout the year. This is something that I have wanted to happen for a number of years and I am really pleased with the progress so far. 

I have again continued during the year to be a source of contact for people with enquires about ringing and recruitment. I am pleased to hear that there are now a number of teachers signed off for module 1 of ITTS (Integrated Teachers Training Scheme) and many thanks to Phillip George who has assessed these teachers during the year. ITTS module 1 and 2 courses have been held at Bardwell, Suffolk, and a number of ringers from this Association have attended. 

If there are any specific training needs that are not covered at district level then please do contact me and I will see what I can do about it. 

Philip Bailey

Recruitment and Training Subcommittee Report 2014

The Recruitment and Training Sub Committee, or RATS as it has become known, was formed in February 2014 to give greater focus on the urgent need for attracting, recruiting and training new ringers. The committee members are Phil Bailey (Chairman), Peter Binns (Secretary), Nicholas Small, Barbara Le Gallez, Barry Johnson and Lesley Boyle.

The activities of RATS are not intended to replace or control the good work already undertaken by District Education Officers and others such as Barbara Le Gallez with her Young Ringers initiative, but to provide an Association umbrella for the co-ordination of educational activities and provision of dedicated training facilities. 

RATS have been working on developing the first of a number of organised Education Ringing Centres across the Association at Stretham.  A ringing simulator system is to be installed and repairs to the tower staircase undertaken to permit safe access up to the belfry for Centre users in order to view the bells in action.
A manager will be appointed for the Stretham Ringing Education Centre and it is anticipated that the centre will be up and running by the end of March 2015.
The Committee is also establishing a register of experienced ringers willing to teach others.  A questionnaire is being devised and will be circulated to the Association membership early in 2015.

During 2014, RATS organised two events to boost its funds:  a folk evening at Oakington in September and a handbell concert at stretham in December, both of which were very successful and raised over £500. 

A new recruitment poster campaign was devised during the year and will be launched in January 2015. Supplies of durable posters will be distributed to every tower correspondent with encouragement to make the best use of them in each community. One poster is general but the other is designed to target young people.
Peter Binns

Education Officer’s Report 2013

I organised two Association events during the year which were popular and the ringers taking part came away feeling that they had learnt something from the events.

Firstly in March, a belfry maintenance session was held at Stretham and Haddenham and run by the Association Bell Advisor Tom Ridgman. Stretham have their bells hung in a modern steel frame and Haddenham bells are hung in a wooden frame so those on the course were able to experience both towers and what to look for when dealing with the bells and their parts.

In October, an ITTS course (Integrated Teacher Training Scheme) was held at Over and was run by Graham Nabb who is one of the teachers from ART (Association of Ringing Teachers). This was a module 1 course with a possibility of a Module 2 course being held in 2014. 

I have continued during the year to be a source of contact for people with enquiries about ringing and recruitment. I would like to see the Association Education Officer working closely along side the District Education officers in future.  This is because we need to promote, recruit and retain ringers of all ages to keep the bells across the Ely Association ringing out for years to come.

 If there are any specific training needs that are not covered at district levels then please do contact me and I will see what I can do about it.      

Philip Bailey

Education Officer's Report 2012

It has been interesting finding out from districts what sort of training is going on within the Association. The post of Association Education Officer is somewhat different to how it may well have been a few years ago. I have spent the last year in an advisory capacity to ringers who have been enquiring about education and training. I have been training ringers within the Ely district to master Plain Hunt and Plain Bob. I know that training takes place in the other districts and that is good. I have had several enquires about maintenance of bells and belfries. This has therefore given me something to organise and arrange for 2013 with the help of the Association Bell Adviser. If there are any specific training needs that are not covered at district levels then please do contact me and I will see what I can do about it.

Philip Bailey

Education Officer's Report 2011

I have spent my first year as Education Officer of the Association trying to establish what ringers require to progress with their ringing abilities and to keep the bells in this Association ringing so that they don’t become silent. I have not done as much as I would have wanted too because I have had a very difficult year at work and unfortunately, that has had to come first. I now hope to be able to spend more time on developing education and training from Committee level and work along side the districts to ensure that we move forward positively with enthusiasm. I do not want districts to think that I am trying to take over from the good work that they do but I am very passionate about ringing and I want to help ringers progress.

I am looking into the idea of developing a Ringing Centre within the Association as my other hat is a member of the Ringing centres committee on the Central Council. I do believe that if a centre was available then we could train ringers and arrange courses for ringers to attend. I do think this will be a positive way forward but I will keep you all informed of any developments.

Please be patient with me as I would like to be in this post for some time but I need your help to move education and training forward. I need your input for me to be able to support you and I look forward to working with you. I will be planning on attending meetings around the districts so that I will be able to see the standards of ringing throughout the Association.

Phil Bailey

Education Officer's Report 2010

There is no Education Officer's Report for 2010

Education Officer's Report 2009

During the year I contacted the officers in each of the Districts with responsibility for education and training to try to ascertain what support they would like from the Association. From this exercise I learnt that the Districts have very different needs ranging from information sharing conference style events to ringing skills training.
Time and resource constraints do not easily allow for all needs to be met in any one year and I opted to organise an ideas sharing event. This event was held on 30th October 2009 in Hilton Village Hall and was attended by thirty people. Unfortunately the event made a small loss as some of those who had booked places did not attend. For future events where there are hall and catering fees to be paid payment in advance should be considered.
Nick Smith

Education Officer's Report 2008

The Association Training event for 2008 took place in March and looked at techniques for learning methods. This event was led by my predecessor as Education Officer, Richard Pargeter, supported by Peter Hinton. A report of the day is here.

The 2009 event will take place on Saturday 31 October and will take a conference style format. Although the agenda is not yet finalised it is intended that the day will cover such topics as:

  • The recruitment and training initiatives being taken at Worcester
  • The Training Foundation
  • The Ringing Practice Toolkit
  • The Framework for Training Ringers

Suggestions for topics for inclusion in this year’s event or future events will be very much welcomed.

Nick Smith

Education Officer's Report 2007

The Association training event in 2007 was the Central Council Listening Skills course, run by John Harrison at Swavesey on 30 June (See page 64). There was a good turn-out, and although I was unable to be there myself, I have heard good reports. Many thanks to Andrew Stevens and the Swavesey ringers for doing all the local hard work.
I hope I have achieved some degree of stability for these courses, in that it has been agreed that they should take their place alongside the AGM and the striking competition in the Association calendar, with the Districts taking each in turn. The training day will be hosted the year after the AGM, so this year it will be in the Huntingdon district. The subject will be (or will have been, by the time this is published) method learning and it will be at Hemingford Grey on 29th March.
Since I took on the job of Education Officer, I have arranged courses on belfry maintenance, running practice nights, teaching bell handling, conducting, teaching beyond bell handling, listening skills, and now method learning. I feel that I will be going round again, which after seven years is quite OK, but nevertheless I feel it is time for someone else to have a go, and to give a different slant to the job. I hope that maybe someone with more time will even be able to expand the job. I have never been able to ‘get out there’ and keep in touch with needs in the way I should have liked to. So, I intend to pass the job on, and it is therefore a good time to say thank you to all the people who have supported my efforts. Each of the events I have organised has been a real team effort. I have been able to leave financial decisions to Sheila George, Andrew Stevens has publicised things on the website, and the local representatives have managed all the local arrangements. I have often had multiple speakers, and last but definitely not least, since the third course, the food has been as much of an attraction as the course! I should also thank Andrew for putting a variety of help sheets on the website for me. I’m sure there are people I have forgotten – please forgive me – but I am truly grateful.
Wishing the next incumbent all the best.
Richard Pargeter