The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s Fishing for Schools programme, held a successful fly fishing training day on the 7th October with the Greenfield Community Arts College [Specialist Arts and Science School] from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The course, which was held at the West House Trout Lakes, Bishopton, County Durham, involved 9 children from the school and introduced them to outdoor education.
Fishing for Schools is an innovative and inspiring programme which is simple and effective: with the aim of getting fly fishing onto the National Curriculum, short courses are run for children aged between 14 and 16 who wish to learn a practical life skill. Whilst academic work occasionally proves difficult for some children, this alternative learning, melding with existing ASDAN* modules embraces both classroom and outdoor learning whilst contributing to the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness, which is a GCSE alternative for many children.
The course works by supplying the children with fishing equipment and, led by a dedicated team – Tom Carroll and one of his excellent instructors Kevin Dawson, they are taught how to assemble it, cast and catch fish in a safe environment. Subjects such as safety, insect life, knot-tying, fish biology and respect for local wildlife are all covered.
Tom commented: “I love running this course and these students got so much out of it. I had a warm welcome from Greenfield Community School and thoroughly enjoyed my time with the pupils. Watching self esteem, confidence and delight blossom in these youngsters through angling has been a real delight. Fly fishing acts as a gateway to the natural world, and the benefits of getting kids out of the classroom and into the great outdoors are numerous. These youngsters have had an experience they will never forget.
Nicola Best a teacher at Greenfield Community School commented: “I feel very privileged to be involved in this very beneficial, exciting project as a member of staff leading a group of pupils. The pupils and I really appreciate this experience as it is one they would not have had done due to the deprivation in the areas in which they live, and without the generous funding through The Countryside Alliance Foundation. This is more than just a fishing project, for example it is has exposed the pupils to a beautiful countryside location that is right on their doorstep. They can now see some reasons why they should be proud of where they live. The pupils have also gained many life skills such as knowing how to deal with meeting new people, how to behave in a public place and how to look after their environment. Many thanks from all of us”