Rob Doyle Romsey March 2015 2It’s been a very successful year for Fishing 4 Schools in the south coast area, with six programmes of fishing instruction completed at five schools during the academic year.

F4S is a national programme run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation. It runs short courses that offer a different way of learning for pupils, many with special educational needs, who may find academic work difficult but respond well to alternative learning. They integrate aspects of angling – for example weights and measures and fish biology – into the National Curriculum and encourage the youngsters to take up a new outdoor activity.

During the 2015/16 school year pupils from The Romsey School Academy, Hampshire; The Grange School, in Christchurch Dorset; Dove House School Academy, Basingstoke; Yewstock School, Sturminster Newton, Dorset; and Midhurst Rother College, West Sussex all benefited from the project, visiting fisheries including Meon Springs and Holbury Lakes.

Rob Doyle, who runs the programme in the area said: “I’m involved with F4S because I want to give something back by hopefully inspiring youngsters to try fishing. The rewards of working with the more challenging pupils are just the icing on the cake.

“A number of pupils really stand out from the past year, showing the importance of the F4S project.

“Fletcher at Romsey School sat quietly at the back of the group during the indoor sessions, he seemed to take no interest yet when questions were asked he answered most correctly, surprising his teacher. Then there was Zac who has difficulty with manual tasks yet managed to tie a fly and catch a fish. And Thomas from Dove House, who has difficulty concentrating but asked searching questions and stayed focused the whole time when fishing, showing some wonderful roll casting.

“By making a difference to young people’s lives, empowering them to succeed and develop more confidence, their communication and attention have also improved away from fishing, at home and in school as well.”

The F4S programme will continue in the area in the next academic year, with more children learning about the wonderful world of the water.

Email Catrin Robinson – [email protected] if you would like to get involved as an instructor or want to find out more about the project.