Chairman's Chatter - August 2022

With the summer break coming to an end we're beginning to plan ahead, with the ART Awards, the second LtR Masterclass of the year, and the 2023 ART Conference, all high on the agenda. We are also continuing our improvement programme, with changes to the Learning the Ropes scheme and a project kicking off on mentoring. Mentoring is key to teacher development and something which we too often don't do well enough. If anyone has any suggestions on how we could improve then please email me. Talking about mentoring, only yesterday whilst reviewing results of a survey commissioned soon after I became ART Chair, I read this:

Develop mentoring as the keystone of the ART approach, whether it is mentoring a learner, a new teacher, an existing teacher or a ringer wishing to progress beyond Level 5.

How true. I hope we'll be able to deliver on this request/aspiration to the same degree that we've been able to deliver on some of the other suggestions.


  • Changes to the LtR Scheme
  • 12 September – Online Teaching Forum – Group Teaching
  • University Recruitment Package
  • 4 September – CC Roadshow
  • ART Awards
  • SmART Ringer

Changes to the Learning the Ropes scheme

The Learning the Ropes scheme has been modified to include:

  • A listening or striking activity at each of the five levels.
  • More Level 2 activities reflecting the importance of developing sound foundation skills and to bring this level of the scheme in line with the equivalent level in the LtR Advanced Call Change scheme.
  • The requirement to complete safeguarding training relevant to a ringer's normal ringing place of ringing.

A justified criticism of the LtR scheme has been its lack of listening and striking targets. This has now addressed and each level now contains an appropriate target – be it being able to recognise poor or good striking on YouTube (Level 1), ringing rounds whilst facing out of the circle (Level 2) to judging the striking of a plain course of Plain Bob Doubles (Level 5). All of the exercises can be completed by any LtR ringer – they don't require special equipment such as a ringing simulator to complete.

Spending time developing and consolidating foundation skills has been shown to accelerate and extend progress in method ringing, however there is still, sometimes, a tendency to short-circuit this level, and introduce Plain Hunt, before the foundation skills have been truly mastered. The LtR Advanced Call Change scheme included a number of new exercises which have now been included in the method ringing scheme, giving plenty of new ways to inject variety and learning into early practices.

ART takes safeguarding seriously and at Level 2, the LtR scheme now requires that a ringer completes safeguarding training relevant to their local tower – i.e. what every other ringer in their tower is required to do. Ringers in secular towers or those who ring outside of England or in Catholic churches might not need to undergo any training, unless stipulated by the local church.

» Buy LtR Personal Progress Logbook

Teaching Forum – group teaching

The next online teaching forum is scheduled for Sunday 11 September at 19.30. It will start with a 15-minute presentation by Anthea Enzor, from the Darlington Teaching Hub. Anthea will be sharing her experiences of group teaching. Group teaching creates opportunities of scale, whilst relieving pressure on ringing leaders and organisers. More ringers, towers and teachers in the pool increases flexibility and opportunities for everyone.

Anthea’s presentation will be followed by open discussion in themed breakout rooms. They are partly problem-solving sessions; however, people seem to have most enjoyed the breakout rooms in which they could discuss their ideas, problems and frustrations in a safe space. As someone said: “Just chatting has been a great motivator.”

» Register for the September online teaching forum

University Recruitment Package

As part of our drive to train young ringing teachers, we have developed a recruitment package for universities to help them attract and retain more new ringers, comprising:

  • Financial help with the cost of hiring a mobile belfry, mini-ring or Wombel for use at their Freshers Fair, up to a total of £250.
  • 25 free Learning the Ropes logbooks for use with their new recruits.
  • A free ART Teacher Training course for six of their members.

This is being funded using a sum of money ring-fenced for recruitment, transferred from the Ringing Foundation, and originally donated by Chris Hughes (Abel).

So far, we have received expressions of interest from eight societies, so why not approach your local university society and find out if they would be interested in finding out more about this offer? If they are, please contact ART at The timing is tight, so we’ve set the closing date for applications for 30 August 2022 but suggest that you contact us sooner to express an interest. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application no later than 7 September 2022.

» Email for more details

CC Roadshow

Have you had a chance to look at the programme for the Council Roadshow on Sunday 4 September in Nottingham? It’s in a similar format to the one at Goldsmiths College three years ago, with a mixture of seminars and talks, exhibitors, and activities. Some of the talks are similar to talks we would have had at the ART Conference and are very relevant to teaching and learning:

  • I am giving a talk on ringer retention.
  • Arthur Reeves from Birmingham is talking about how we can be a really good teacher for our students.
  • Colin Newman is giving the benefit of his experience with engaging young ringers.
  • Steve Farmer is giving a talk exploring the pros and cons of simulators.

If you are within reach of Nottingham, why not support this event. I look forward to seeing some friendly faces in my audience!

» More about the CC Roadshow

ART Awards 2023

Now is the time to start thinking about nominating someone for an ART Award and gathering back-up information and testimonials. Applications are invited for:

  • The Sarah Beacham Youth Award
  • Excellence in Recruitment or Retention
  • Inspiring Leadership in Ringing
  • Development of Technology in Teaching
  • LtR Achievement Award
  • LtR Contribution Award

In addition, we have a new ART Award this year, kindly sponsored by Len Roberts, for the person making a significant contribution to the promotion of ringing in their local area. Nomination forms and more information will be released and advertised in the Autumn, but details of previous winners are available on the ART website.

» ART Awards and past winners

SmART Ringer

SmART Ringer has gone through a bit of a rough time over the last couple of months, showing us just how fragile it is. Thanks to the hard work, often at very unsociable hours, of Steve Johnson and Rose Nightingale who got SR working again. We are now being very careful, and as well as doubling the frequency of automatic backups, we’re taking manual backups before every back-end piece of processing. The problems have only affected the back-end processing so please keep on using SR to add new ringers, request certificates and register accreditations. Your data won’t be lost! Now that SR appears stable, we’re now actively developing Son of SR. More about this at a later date.

All this has proved to be a baptism of fire for Monica, our new Office Manager. With her background in IT, process and people management she’s done a grand job, and is already proving to be a very valuable member of the ART team. Thankfully she’s still smiling.


Lesley Belcher
ART Chair