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What is the Learning the Ropes scheme?

Learning the Ropes is a progressive learning scheme for new ringers.

It uses milestones to enable ringers to progress faster and further. It has five levels from basic handling to change ringing and includes assessment by quarter peal - by level 5 a new ringer will have rung at least six quarter peals. Progress by the ringer through the levels is recognised both in the tower and nationally.

Learning the Ropes provides a structured approach to the development of ringing skills where new skills are built on those already learned. It is available to new ringers being taught using the ART method. It is similar in concept to the music grades or karate belts that people are already familiar with. Learning to ring is broken down into five stages, known as levels; each level develops key skills from bell handling, listening and ropesight to understanding ringing jargon and conducting. Breaking up learning to ring in this way gives new ringers a sense of progress in learning such a complex, but rewarding skill. Each ringer gets a Personal Progress Logbook, access to an online learning website of resources and a certificate of achievement at the completion of each level.

Enjoyment through achievement is a key principle of Learning the Ropes, and earning a certificate is a rewarding experience. If you are working hard to make progress with your ringing you need some way of recognising your success.

Standards are high. The higher levels all require assessment by quarter peal (for non-ringers that's ringing for 45 or more minutes continuously) and by the time level 5 has been mastered, six quarter peals of increasing levels of difficulty are required to have been rung. For those ringers who have a physical limitation preventing them from ringing for an extended period of time, alternative assessment criteria can be agreed in line with our equality policy. When you have completed level 5 your ringing will be at the standard where you will be able to progress quickly in the exciting and diverse world of method ringing.

The Levels

Level 1 - ensures a new ringer has a strong basic technique. This is important, not only for safety reasons, but in order to facilitate the future progress of the ringer.

Level 2 -builds the core skills that are essential for further progression. Foundation skills should be practised until they are an ‘automatic’ ringing action.

Level 3 - takes ringers from Called Changes to Change Ringing, building up to ringing the treble and covering to methods.

Level 4 - reinforces and builds on the skills developed in Level 3. Ringers progress to ringing methods as part of a band of 5 or 6 ringers.

Level 5 - the final Level in the Learning the Ropes scheme, Level 5 guides ringers up to confidently ringing methods and onto trebling to complex methods.

» Visit the Learning the Ropes website

Learning with an ART teacher

Like many hobbies, learning to ring can take a long time, requiring the mastering of many skills. Learning the Ropes splits this process into a number of levels, providing clear goals for you, the ringer. This has significant benefits:

  • You can see yourself progressing towards becoming a competent change ringer and support yourself whilst doing it.
  • Certificates visibly recognise your hard work and achievement.
  • The structured nature of the scheme means that skills are gradually built onto what has already been learned.

Put together, a higher percentage of students achieve success at higher levels. Why? Because the scheme creates a sense of progress and achievement based on the development of good foundation skills. It keeps people going and reduces the risk of getting stuck at a level below your potential.

What do ringers say?

I feel so much more confident, having completed Level 1. Knowing how to handle correctly, having plenty of encouragement to rectify mistakes, and all in a structured way, has really helped me. I’m really enjoying bell ringing and so keen to get on to the next level.”

Taking up bell ringing at the age of 61 has not been the easiest thing I have done. It has taken me 5 years to achieve Level 5. Could I have done it quicker? Possibly, but I would have needed to ring more frequently with experienced ringers. I view achieving Level 5 akin to passing a professional exam. I now need to go out and learn how to do it properly!"

Learning to ring has been a great experience. I have met so many people and rung in over 100 different towers in and around Warwickshire particularly with our Monday ringing group, the Wombells. I have also rung in Devon and Cornwall, the Channel Isles and for my son’s wedding. Far more sadly, I have also rung for two of my friends’ funerals."

Jan is the perfect teacher for me. She has been encouraging and supportive and her method of teaching has helped me no end. I am really enjoying Learning the Ropes!”

I can’t recommend learning to ring more enthusiastically, but it comes with a warning –
it’s incredibly addictive!"

Warmly welcomed by the other ringers, I worked with Chris using Learning the Ropes to eradicate my bad habits and started to make progress. Realising that in Chris I had found the perfect teacher, I told her I was completely willing to start from scratch and perfect my technique."

What Ian and his mentor, Mark, have demonstrated to me is that the methodology they have employed is one of learner centred environment, and one I would highly recommend to all those who are embarking on the journey I have undertaken."


Interested?

If you're interested in learning to ring using the Learning the Ropes scheme then why not look for an ART accredited teacher in your local area or contact your local organiser who will be able to talk you through your options.

» Find an ART teacher near you