Accelerated teaching for late starters
However, once we have got our new ringers to ringing Grandsire and Plain Bob, and having put all the hard work in, we wouldn’t want to see the more able ones travel and join another band in order to learn to ring even more advanced methods. That can’t be sustainable, especially if those bands haven’t put the hard work in. It will just reinforce a two-tier system or downward spiral which towers cannot escape from. I don’t mind the new ringers taking opportunities to progress, by ringing with others in the District or Guild, but they also need to remain members of the local band in order to help the others on the lower rungs of the ladder. That way the band as a whole will progress further.
Nor does my local band wish to see our practices over-run by learners from other towers, especially when we may have to invest time in re-teaching some of them to handle, or some of the other basic skills needed to ring simple methods successfully. We support the neighbouring practices where the bands are at the call-changes/kaleidoscope stage, as they have an important role to play in teaching the foundation skills well. — Roger Booth
In several of the areas I have rung in, you need to band-hop a number of times to get the teaching and support you need at each step in the learning journey. Clusters would seem to me to be one solution. You retain the benefit of your effort within the (larger) group but the ringer receives the opportunities they need. It also gives you the structure to be able to nudge people to where they're most needed (e.g., getting a critical mass of ringers for more advanced ringing, teaching handling etc.) without them needing to get in with a new group. You also get more control over the quality of handling etc. Clusters come with their own problems but I don't believe many parts of the country actually have the resources to develop all or even nearly all tower bands into bands which can teach and sustain competency in basic methods.
There needs to be far more emphasis on developing bands, and less on individual advancement. Far more leadership training will help. — Roger Booth
This presupposes that there are enough people with the requisite skills to support the improvement. Whilst in some bands, that talent is already there and just needs a catalyst, in others you would need to attract such people, who are likely to already be going to multiple PNs, and so you'd quite possibly be poaching them from other towers.
I suppose what I am saying is that if a group cannot provide the opportunities needed for progression, then people who are minded to progress will go elsewhere. If the group is lucky, the ringer will stick around to help out at the lower level, but obviously that falls apart if they have to move tower multiple times or move away from the area. Worse still, those who want to progress but can't take advantages of the opportunities elsewhere (due to transport, conflict with PN, different atmosphere in the other band, etc.) will get stuck at the level of the band, potentially sapping their enthusiasm and certainly wasting their potential.
If you look at the ringers who have progressed to the mid and higher levels of ringing in the last couple of decades, I'm sure you'll find that most of them have acted in their self-interest a few times to keep their progression going.
There needs to be a proper pipeline, I don't see much signs of one at the moment. — John de Overa
I'd be interested to know what form this might take. It's difficult for me more towards the lower levels than the higher levels to visualise such a thing!
↪Tristan Lockheart You mentioned going to the pub afterwards after talking about transport. For Londoners (and probably other cities too) talking public transport may be a fag, but at least you can have a drink and get home. Outside London such public transport as there is often ceases early and of course if you've driven to a practice then having a pint or two afterwards is obviously out of the question. — J Martin Rushton
It’s more for the social side of things and band bonding than alcohol consumption (many post-PN pub trips have plenty of Cokes as well as beers), but I take your point. As someone who doesn't drive, I have to be very careful about where I choose to live and I'm very limited in where I can regularly ring too. Outside of the main metropolitan areas, there are few places where I could live and maintain my current lifestyle, both in ringing or more broadly.