Compulsory basic training (CBT) syllabus and guidance notes


How the syllabus works, what trainers should be able to show, the learning outcomes and assessment of skills.

This compulsory basic training (CBT) syllabus builds on the existing 5 elements of approved training by adding guidance notes for each element. These notes will make it easier for trainers and learners to understand what is required of them.

The sections of the syllabus

The syllabus is in 3 sections:

  • what must happen
  • what the learner must know and understand
  • what the learner should be able to do (to show they have reached the required standard)

What trainers should be able to show

A trainer should be able to show that:

  • each element of ‘what must happen’ has been covered
  • the learner has shown that they have the right knowledge and understanding
  • the learner has performed suitable tasks to demonstrate competence

It is important to remember, however, that forcing a learner to go through subjects they already know, simply so the trainer can tick all the boxes, can be demotivating.

The aim of the syllabus

The syllabus is about making sure learners have the skills, knowledge and understanding to go out on the road, on their own, to prepare for their riding tests.

It is not intended to set out exactly what trainers should do.

Learning outcomes

The syllabus sets out the learning outcomes that must be achieved. In making sure these learning outcomes are achieved, the trainer should be able to:

  • identify areas where the learner is failing to demonstrate competence
  • help the learner to understand the barriers that are stopping them demonstrate competence
  • help the learner to find ways to overcome those barriers

Assessment of skills

Trainers should be reasonably confident, when they issue a CBT certificate, that the learner has the required level of skills, knowledge and understanding. This fits with delivery in a client-centred way.

If a learner is quickly able to show they are competent at a particular element (such as if they have been riding off-road for a number of years and they are clearly able to carry out simple manoeuvres) the trainer may decide to move on in the programme.

It is also important to remember that each learner must be assessed as an individual. It is not enough, for example, to assume that everybody in a group understands because nobody asked any questions.

This means the trainer has the responsibility to decide which approach works for them.

If they are working with one or two learners they might be able to use a question and answer approach to allow them to come to a decision about each learner’s competence.

If they are working with a group, or decide that it makes more business sense to carry out some part of assessment separately, they are free to use some form of written or electronic test.

Assessment of skills is about trainers applying their professional judgement. The syllabus sets out some minimum performance standards but, for each learner, trainers should remember that the question they are trying to answer is ‘are you reasonably confident that this person is ready to ride on the road on their own?’