Summer is just around the corner, and it feels almost like normal. We’re busy ringing for weddings, going on outings and guild and association events are all open for business. Quoting from my local guild:
“There is much optimism that as we move forward we can ‘build back better’. Much useful material has appeared online during the pandemic and there is evidence of greater cooperation between towers, either in pairs or as ‘hubs’, and across traditional boundaries. Ringing Room and online meetings and courses have enabled ringers to remain engaged. On the other hand, numbers of ringers are depleted and changing service times have impacted negatively.”
Seems to sum up where we are – ringing is back, and people and bands are responding to change in varied ways, with help with recruitment and ringer development most needed. ART has been busy running courses and it’s good to see the number of accreditations and Learning the Ropes passes rising, pointing to practices that are again stable enough to support ringer and teacher development. We’re looking at ways in which we can help ringing ‘build back better’ and overcome the negative impact of the pandemic. Both the Recruitment and Retention Online Workshop and the LtR Advanced Call Change Scheme are new initiatives which we hope will help.
The Learning the Ropes Advanced Call Change scheme is now available, offering an alternative development pathway for ringers and bands. Taking inspiration from Devon Call Change ringing, it includes many named Call Change sequences rung in Devon and Cornwall – the final assessment is to call Sixty on Thirds on an inside bell and record it on BellBoard. That is not easy!
The inspiration for the scheme came from a survey of LtR ringers and teachers, which showed that a major barrier to progress was the lack of reliable helpers and conductors to support the progression of new ringers from call changes into method ringing. Particularly where bands were learning together, this jump seemed to be just too hard, yet there seemed to be no alternative. The result was often stagnation, demotivation, or poorly struck method ringing.
Clare McArdle took ownership of this problem and developed the scheme. It focuses on the development of the whole band, requiring ringers to complete key practical exercises on four or more different bells and be able to call named call change sequences. As with the other Learning the Ropes schemes, it is designed to provide a progressive development of ringing skills, where new skills are built on those already learnt – making each new stage easier to grasp.
The scheme takes a lot of inspiration from the Devon Call Change tradition, and indeed members of the Devon Association were involved with the development and piloting of the scheme. It also takes into account the ringing environment outside of the South West. Bands decide whether they want to call up or down, whether they lead with a handstroke gap or not, and whether they raise and lower the bells in peal at the beginning and end of each performance. Jump changes are also included which are not part of the Devon tradition at all. So, the scheme can be used to develop bands who replicate Devon Call Change ringing completely, whilst other bands might decide to ring with open handstroke leads and dispense with the raise and lower, in order to attract local helpers from method ringing bands.
The aim is to produce ringers and bands who can continuously develop and be challenged, and produce some fine-sounding ringing. Any band who completes the scheme will shine at a local district or branch practice – calling and ringing well struck named call change sequences, such as Up the Garden Path or Sixty on Thirds, will be an impressive sight and sound.
If you're interested in finding out more about the scheme, we have organised two online presentations, in which Clare will talk about the scheme, the pilot studies and the supporting resources. Please register for one or other of the presentations, which will take place via Zoom, starting at 19.30.
Our next Teaching Forum is all about assessments – myth vs reality. ART Tutor and experienced Assessor, Nick Brett, will try to demystify assessments, covering topics such as:
The Teaching Forum will be held at 19.30 on Sunday 12 June 2022, after which you can join one of the themed breakout rooms to chat and ask questions in a safe environment.
Matt Lawrence recently ran a pilot online recruitment and retention workshop (a joint CCCBR/ART initiative). Feedback is being gathered and we hope to run further workshops during the Summer. No dates yet, but if you’re interested in attending one, then please let me know, or keep an eye out on social media or the Events website.
We have recruited a new Office Manager, Monica Hollows, who will be joining the ART Team in June. Monica will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of ART, as well as project managing the delivery of the annual ART plan.
For those who don’t know her, Monica is a Ringing Remembers recruit who quickly progressed through Learning the Ropes, completing the scheme in just under two years. She attended an ART M1 day course earlier this year and is now beginning to take her first steps into teaching bell handling. Monica has spent 18 years working in IT, in technical, project and programme management roles and since starting her family, Monica has worked in schools, latterly as a secondary school Bursar. I hope you join us in wishing Monica all the best in her new role.
It was a real shame that we had to cancel this year’s Conference, but it was a relatively easy decision to make as there weren’t enough people registering to make the event viable. The move from March to May seemed to be the issue, as it clashed with rearranged holidays and it’s a busy time generally for ringing – AGMs, weddings and outings were all mentioned as reasons why regular attendees couldn’t come.
Holding the conference in March is clearly better, and so we have already decided that next year it will be held on the weekend of 11/12 March. The second day of the conference weekend will be hosted by the CCCBR Youth and University and Further Education Workgroups.
If you’re interested in coming, please put the date in your diary and fingers crossed that nothing gets in its way this time.