Academic Studies With Cycling


We are thrilled to be working with Manchester Cycling Academy to offer this innovative course, which will be the first of its kind in the UK and possibly Europe.


Students on the pioneering programme will attend academic classes in the morning where they have flexible options to study A-Levels, GCSEs, or International Foundation programme, and then have the invaluable opportunity to participate in cycling coaching at the National Cycling Centre or on the lanes of leafy Cheshire in the afternoons.

Manchester Cycling Academy has many years of elite sports experience and students will receive expert coaching and guidance allowing them to succeed on the bike and off it. The course has the flexibility to coach ‘elite’ students who are dedicated to improving their cycling performance to compete on a world scale or students who just enjoy the sport and want to get better while focusing on their studies.


Manchester Cycling Academy is a growing sports education provider which delivers high quality cycling provision across the North West of England in partnership with Sports Governing Bodies, Local Authorities, Academic and Commercial Partners. They already run a successful education programme which offers a BTEC Sport programme and they also have a partnership with British Cycling to run the Sport England funded, Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE).

Much of the activity will be based at the world class and newly renovated ‘Medal Factory’ which is the National Cycling Centre, Manchester . This is the home of British Cycling and our students will train on the same routes that Olympic medallists use every day. The young people who attend will be able to emulate the world’s best whenever they train.

A combined philosophy that has developed from bringing the benefits of elite sports training to both sports performance and academic studies. We call it the 5 Rs; Routine, Rigour, Responsibility, Resilience and Reflection and they are skills which benefit the students for the rest of their lives, in sport and work.


What are the academic course options and entry requirements?

Students will be able to choose from the following educational pathways depending on prior attainment and level of English if not from the UK.  We also need to ensure a balance between Academic Study Requirements alongside the training commitment.  For students training 5 days a week, we will discuss the realistic subject choices.


  • Biology, Chemistry Mathematics and Physics (three can be chosen from these four)
  • Business Studies, Economics and Mathematics

Dependent on subjects we may accept students onto the second year of A Level if they have already completed their first year elsewhere.


  • Business Pathway
  • Science Pathway
  • Sports Pathway

Students wishing to access the One Year International Foundation Programme must already have the equivalent of the first year of Level 3 study in their home country and an overall IELTS for UKVI score of at least 6.0.


Most subjects can be taken with this option.

These pathways will equip students to apply to a wide range of universities to pursue Science or Business related courses which could link to their sporting aspirations or they could apply for courses unrelated to sport. The subject combinations and qualifications offered allow students great flexibility as they move forward. Students will be taught in small classes (a maximum of 12 in each) and follow the routine and rigour of all Abbey College Manchester programmes.


Students who wish to only access a course for a shorter period of time should contact the college to find out the subjects that are available.

Further details about international entry requirements can be found by clicking here.

What does the course include?

  • Students will have academic classes each weekday from 9.30am until 13.05pm at the Abbey College Manchester campus on their chosen academic programme.
  • Our cycling training sessions will be delivered each afternoon programme by professional and experienced coaches based at the National Cycling Centre, Manchester.  The course includes:

  • Initial consultation, fitness assessment, health & nutritional assessment and establishment of smart goals
  •  Strength and conditioning plan
  • 1-2-1 Half termly performance, health and nutrition reviews
  • Up to 5 in person coaching sessions per week with a maximum coach to rider ratio of 1 to 10 which will include Track, Road, Circuit, BMX, strength and conditioning and classroom based seminars every two weeks.  Number of sessions will depend on subject choices and will be discussed at interview
  • Examples of the seminars would be:
    ○ A diet and nutrition seminar with a chef who has worked with British Cycling and Team Ineos who will teach the students how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals to fuel their cycling rides
    ○ A seminar with a sports psychologist from Manchester Metropolitan University who works with current Olympians
    ○ Visits to the Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport testing labs where the students will take part in rigorous fitness testing
  • Road rides would be supported by the Manchester Cycling Academy team car which features racking for spare bikes, tools, storage space for winter clothing and complimentary food and drink.
  • Opportunity for weekly prescribed rides which can be done either solo or with a group from one of our partner teams and clubs.  Rides and routes will be provided in a format which can be followed on a mobile phone or bike computer.
  • British Cycling Level 1 Coaching Award

Meet the Head Coach - Dave Heald

Multiple national medallist in track sprint disciplines, Dave has a wealth of cycling coaching experience and is currently coach to several of the next crop of British Cycling talent and has coached numerous national champions over recent years.

A level 3 track coach, Dave has been the Head Coach of the BTEC programme since its inception in 2021 and brings a deep understanding of what it takes to encourage young athletes to be the best that they can be.

Our expert coaches are used to working with elite young riders and will encourage the riders to be the best that they can be. They are experts in their fields and have a wealth of knowledge and experience meaning that they will get expert tuition, coaching and guidance throughout their time with us.


What are my progression options?

The courses we provide are designed to assist you to get the best education and cycling coaching at the same time. Be a stronger, faster rider and compete against the best in the British cycling championships.

Not just aimed at the elite, our courses cater for all riders especially those who want to progress onto University. Whilst we have an emphasis on road endurance, track cycling and Cyclocross, we welcome all disciplines including track sprint, cycle speedway, MTB and BMX.

This course will provide you with cycling coaching which offers the opportunities for those riders with potential and drive to progress to compete at a world class level.  Or for those who are interested in a career in Sport or other areas, it will allow a good base for you to progress onto to your chosen University.  You will receive the same UCAS support as other Abbey College Manchester students.

Students from our Football and Basketball courses have progressed to:

  • University of Manchester – Chemical Engineering
  • University of Nottingham – Civil Engineering
  • University of Nottingham – Politics and International Relations
  • Sheffield Hallam University – Accounting and Finance
  • Loughborough University – Economics
  • Manchester Metropolitan University – International Business Management
  • UCLan – Sports Business Management
  • Manchester Metropolitan University – Applied Computing

How do I apply?

Please contact Admissions at Abbey College Manchester with the completed application form, with a covering e-mail stating that you wish to apply for the Cycling programme and give an overview of your cycling experience to date.   We will also require a copy of your passport and school reports. Admissions will arrange an interview and all the necessary support with the application onto the programme and with the subsequent visa application if applicable.

Please click here to download the application form for the programme.

Fees 2023/24

Academic studies with Cycling Full Year
UK/EU Students excluding accommodation* £19,000
International Students including standard room accommodation at Clydesdale House** £35,000


* The cost for UK/EU students who require accommodation is available from the college on request

** Accommodation for students aged 16 years and over is at Clydesdale House.  Students under the age of 16 years will live with a host family.

Abbey Manchester
Taster Morning, Wednesday 12th June