Friday, 8 April 2011

imgres-8The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s Fishing for Schools programme honoured the pupils of Morriston School in Swansea this week, following their successful completion of an innovative fly fishing course. The youngsters were taught by Fishing for Schools’ Charles Jardine, who made such an impression during the short course that he returned to the school to present the prizes. 

Fishing for Schools is an innovative and inspiring programme, which has the support of actor and angling enthusiast Robson Green. It 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 have special educational needs. 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, taught by a dedicated team led by celebrated angler Charles Jardine, taken through 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.

Charles Jardine commented: “I love running this course, and these students got so much out of it. I have been to Morriston a few times now and always enjoy a warm welcome. Watching self esteem, confidence and delight blossom in these youngsters through angling is a real delight, and it was doubly nice to come back to present them with awards to mark their achievements. 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 that none of us will never forget.

Andy Banbury from Morriston Comprehensive School commented: “The Fishing for Schools programme has had a dramatic effect on youngsters in our school. When Charles first delivered a course here four years ago, we were so impressed with the positive impact it had on youngsters that we set up our own fishing club within the school. The course has typically attracted the less academically able pupils and we have seen the benefits that fishing in the outdoors has brought to these pupils in terms of increased confidence, better motivation and improved behaviour in the classroom. To see these pupils receiving awards alongside their peers in the annual presentation assembly was, quite frankly, the icing on the cake!”

  • *ASDAN is the Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network which is recognised by the Government. The scheme operates in thousands of schools and other educational centres and is listed as one of the few major routes for developing and accrediting wider key skills.
  • The Countryside Alliance Foundation is a charity set up to co-operate with the Countryside Alliance to build on the element of Alliance work that has always been inherently charitable. This includes educating the public about the countryside and helping to protect the natural environment. By introducing adults and children alike to the dramatic realities of rural Britain, we hope to inspire them to find out more and become passionate enough to share our aims and values.