Pupils from an inner-city school got a taste of the countryside yesterday (5 June) when they visited Walthamstow Wetlands with the Fishing for Schools initiative.
Twenty youngsters from Raynham Primary School in Enfield, London enjoyed a wildlife walk and hunted for insects in the lake during the two-hour session and all managed to catch a fish.
Raynham Primary School caters for children from a wide range of backgrounds’ – 94% of pupils are from an ethnic minority and 80% have English as an additional language.
The group visiting Walthamstow Wetlands yesterday were aged from eight to 10-years-old and spanned many nationalities and backgrounds.
Teacher Hannah Brown said: “The session exceeded our expectations in every way possible. On the way home, the children said it was the most fun they’d ever had on a school trip. The memories made today will last for a very a long time.”
Fishing for Schools director Charles Jardine said: “It made a real difference to the children because they never get a chance to get out in nature. Walthamstow Wetlands is a fantastic oasis of countryside in the city, yet despite it being just 20 minutes from their school none of these children had visited before. They tend to go from home to school and back again.
“Fishing for Schools works with schools across the UK, including Kent and the south east but this was our first session within London. I hope we have shown these children that you can have great fun when you get outside and explore.
“We are very grateful to Thames Water for making us so welcome at Walthamstow Wetlands.”
Will Barnard, Thames Water’s fisheries manager, said: “It is our pleasure to be hosting this visit. We’re always looking for new ways to engage with the communities we serve, and to educate youngsters about positive lifestyles utilising our green spaces.”
Two more groups from Raynham Primary School will visit the site later this month.
Fishing for Schools mostly works with senior school age children, many of whom have additional needs or behavioural issues, offering courses that end in a qualification such as the Level 1 Cast Award from Angling Trust or an Ofqual regulated Aim Award. Our courses work wonders with these youngsters – mostly boys – who often struggle in a school environment and are unlikely to gain many qualifications. A number have progressed from our courses to take up BTEC courses in fisheries management.