The National Standard for cycle training and Bikeability

Information about approved training courses and instructor qualifications under the National Standard for cycle training.

What is the National Standard?

The National Standard for cycle training is built upon similar principles to training for motorcycle riders and car drivers, teaching the importance of assessing the likely risks faced by road users. Launched in 2005, the National Standard was developed by over 20 organisations and is maintained by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The National Standard and Bikeability

The DfT promotes the National Standard through the Bikeability award scheme in England. Any cycle training organisation wishing to use the Bikeability branding and issue the Bikeability award materials to trainees must first register a scheme. Scheme registration is part of a quality assurance process to help ensure organisations are delivering good practice cycle training.

All Bikeability registered schemes have gone through the registration process.

Delivering the National Standard for cycle training

National Standard/Bikeability training may only be delivered by National Standard Instructors (NSIs), who have successfully completed a DfT recognised instructor training course. From 1 January 2011, instructor training organisations (ITOs) are the only bodies recognised by government as providers of training for National Standard instructor trainers, instructors and assistant instructors.

All NSIs are issued with an NSI number. The National Standard instructor database contains a record of every instructor holding an NSI number. The database is managed by Steer Davies Gleave on behalf of the Department for Transport.

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National Standard instructors

The National Standard Instructor courses teach individuals to deliver National Standard training. There are 4 National Standard Instructor courses:

  • assistant
  • assistant to provisional Instructor conversion course
  • instructor
  • instructor trainer


Delivery of the National Standard at Levels 1 and 2 can be supported by assistant National Standard instructors (NSIAs) who may teach Levels 1 and 2 if supervised on site by an instructor. A maximum of 2 NSIAs can be supervised on site by 1 instructor. The NSIA course is delivered over 2 days. Upon successful completion of the course assessment, the individual will achieve NSIA recognition.


To lead and deliver National Standard cycle training sessions, instructors must have successfully completed a recognised National Standard instructor course. The instructor course is taught over 4 days (2 days if converting from assistant to instructor). Candidates who complete the 4-day course successfully are recognised as provisional instructors (NSIP).

Within 6 months of completing the 4-day course, provisional instructors should undertake a post-course assessment. On successful completion of the post-course assessment, the instructor will become a fully qualified instructor (NSIQ).

Instructor trainer

The National Standard Instructor Trainer (NSIT) course was published in 2010. The NSIT course is taught over two days, with candidates achieving provisional NSIT recognition upon successful completion of the 2-day course. Like the NSI course, there is a post-course assessment element to be completed following the initial course.

Course participants must be fully qualified NSIs (NSIQ) before they are eligible to undertake the NSIT course. NSITs may only deliver instructor training if they are working for a recognised ITO.

Course guides

Guidance on delivering the National Standard courses for:

  • Bikeability Delivery guide (Level 1, 2 and 3)
  • Instructor qualification course manual (NSI)
  • Assistant instructor qualification course manual (NSIA)
  • Assistant instructor (NSIA) to provisionally qualified full instructor (NSIP) conversion guidance
  • Instructor trainer qualification course manual (NSIT)

National Standard instructor numbers

National Standard instructor (NSI) numbers are given to candidates who successfully complete an instructor course. NSI numbers were in the past known as CTSB numbers. The National Standard instructor database contains a record of every instructor holding an NSI number. The database is managed by Steer Davies Gleave on behalf of the Department for Transport.

NSI numbers are issued directly to individuals once their Instructor Training Organisation has sent the required details to Steer Davies Gleave.

Delivering inclusive cycle training - a good practice guide for disability cycle training

The guide provides advice to National Standard Instructors on how to help disabled people achieve National Standard outcomes. The guide aims to equip instructors with the knowledge, confidence and potential strategies they might need to deliver effective cycle training to people with disabilities.

The guide was developed in consultation with a number of experts in the field, however, it is not possible to provide generic, clear-cut advice on how to train every individual. The guide therefore provides ideas for consideration and the means to identify what training methods, techniques and equipment might be appropriate for any specific situation.

Instructor training organisations

Instructor training organisations are at the centre of the system to enhance and maintain the quality of National Standard instructor training in England.

Instructor training organisations (ITOs) are the only bodies recognised by the government as providers of training for National Standard instructor trainers, instructors and assistant instructors.

All ITOs have been through a comprehensive application process to assess their ability to deliver National Standard instructor training and provide membership services to instructors. ITOs’ training and management is reviewed periodically by the DfT.

ITOs are responsible for training new instructors and for providing existing instructors with opportunities for continuing professional development and updates to the National Standard for cycle training. ITOs are required to provide membership services to help ensure the standard of cycle training delivered by National Standard instructors is maintained after the initial 4-day course and post-course assessment.

Only instructors trained by ITOs will be issued with National Standard instructor (NSI) numbers, which identify them as providing cycle training that meets the National Standard.

Cycle training schemes registered with Bikeability must use National Standard Instructors who are members of an ITO to deliver training. DfT grant for cycle training will only be payable to eligible schemes if they are using instructors who are members of an ITO to deliver the cycle training.

A list of ITOs is available on the Bikeability website.

Membership for instructors

Instructors who deliver cycle training for a Bikeability scheme must register for membership with a DfT recognised ITO. This includes freelance instructors and those who work for private organisations that may be delivering training on behalf of a Bikeability local authority or school games organiser host school that receives a DfT cycle training grant.

Step 1 – select an instructor training organisation

There are a number of ITOs that have been recognised by the DfT as delivering National Standard Instructor training. All ITOs are required to deliver the 4 day instructor course. At present not all ITOs provide the assistant instructor course, assistant to instructor conversion course or instructor trainer course.

Step 2 – attend instructor training course

The full National Standard Instructor course takes 4 days to complete (2 days if converting from assistant to instructor). The assistant instructor course is shorter and takes 2 days. Some ITOs allow the 4 days to split over 2 weeks. The cost of the courses may vary slightly among the ITOs, but is generally around £500 for the 4 day course. Post course assessments may also be required, see step 4 for further details.

Step 3 – instructor qualification

Candidates will be issued with an NSI number upon successful completion of their instructor course. The NSI number certifies that a candidate has attended and passed an instructor course as delivered by a recognised ITO. However, post course assessments may also be required, see step 4 for further details.

Step 4 – post-course assessment

Candidates who have passed a 4-day National Standard Instructor course should receive a post-course assessment from their ITO within 6 months of achieving the provisional qualification. Once a candidate has been post-course assessed and has been approved by their ITO, they will become recognised as a qualified National Standard Instructor. Candidates will receive an updated NSI number to reflect this status.

There is no post-course assessment requirement for those undertaking the assistant instructor course, although ITOs may make this a requirement at their discretion.

How to become an Instructor Training Organisation

There is no set timetable for ITO recruitment campaigns. However, the DfT will review the need and timing of any future application process on a regular basis.

Published 5 November 2012