Learn to ring courses

Organising a week-long introduction to ringing course will undoubtedly be hard work. Such courses offer an extreme form of intensive bell handling training and lots of peer support and fun at this early stage. Care should be taken to ensure that new recruits continue with bell ringing afterwards.

This page is still under development. Expect further information when the two Tulloch courses have been run - including course programmes.


Start planning at least six months in advance.

The course shouldn't be run in isolation. To be successful you need to have enough teachers and helpers with the right skills, and a follow-up programme so that you don't lose most of the ringers you have trained up.

There needs to be adequate training of teachers before the course or the teachers need to be hand-picked. Ringers will notice teachers who are inexperienced and worry about a lack of consistency in approach.

If you're using a simulator organise a pre-course training session for all teachers. It is easy to loose a significant amount of teaching time if a teacher has to be taught how to use a simulator on the day.

Make sure the local ringing societies and officers "buy in" to what is happening. There is significant work to do and there must be a plentiful supply of teachers and helpers. With the right leadership from above this can work, otherwise there can be a helper shortage. On the other hand, people from the bottom should be empowered to get on with things rather than controlled from above.

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, ask for help and advice. ART can provide support and advice in the form of case studies from previous projects, recruitment advice, teacher training and simulator training.

Ensure that there is a small team coordinating the delivery of the project. One enthusiastic individual will get burnt-out.


Focus your recruitment strategy at your target groups and be imaginative.

Ensure that participants are committed beforehand to continue ringing after the course. It is important to recruit the right students - those who will come along for the week and persevere.

The course

Mix up lots of different types of activities. Make them fun!

Include a strong social element.

Include a day visit to somewhere of special interest (e.g. a bell foundry or a cathedral).

And afterwards

Know before the course takes place how you are going to assign new ringers to towers.

Find ways to maintain the relationships formed during the course. Make someone responsible for making it happen long-term.

There needs to be good follow-up in place after any intensive course, otherwise there will be a high drop-out rate. One week is not enough. Recognise that the whole project can continue for up to 18 months after the actual course.

The students will leave very enthusiastic, but their expectations must be catered for and support will need to be provided to local bands, particularly if the local towers do not have strong bands or good teachers in place. Whilst they would welcome new ringers, they may not provide them with a good learning experience on their own. Group teaching is one way of overcoming local difficulties.

What can be achieved in a week?

They started on Monday and this is what they were like on the Friday, after 10 hours of tuition ... a little bit of finessing to do but next step will be ringing with others.

Aviva Community Fund

The Kensington Learn to Ring course was supported by the Aviva Community Fund. Applications for the next round of grants are now open and the closing date is midday on 10 October 2017. There are four categories for applications:

  • Health and well-being
  • Skills for life
  • Community support
  • Inclusivity

Read the guidelines for applicants for further details.

Bell ringing projects will score highly on health and well-being (remember mental health benefits) and community support.


A children’s Summer camp

We can confidently say all students delivered and were very close to completing Level One of the “Learning the Ropes” scheme. All could handle a bell and were beginning to ring in rounds by the Saturday outing. Some were even ringing call changes at Worcester Ringing Centre, something I would not have believed had you told me at the start of the week.


Learn to Ring at Kensington

The one-to-one sessions with experienced ringers were invaluable.

Handbells were a eureka moment in understanding methods.


Ringing courses at Tulloch

Two week long courses on offer. The first is a learn to ring course; the second a improve your ringing week.

What's next?

» Return to the recruitment and retention home page

» Intensive training – why, what and how

» Return to read about other ideas for recruiting ringers