South East instructor Ian Tucker worked with three schools during the past school year - Brewood and Learning Opportunities in Deal and Sallygate in Dover.
Ian said: “It was the second year I have worked with Brewood but this year’s course was a little different. The students had already received their Level 1 CAST Awards so we decided to attempt a Level 1 AIMS Angling and the Environment course.
“The school felt that with the complex special needs the pupils had, this would be right on their limit but with our support success could be achieved.
“We embarked on the seven-week course with some trepidation but were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the students responded, with enthusiasm and dedication, to the work and tasks ahead. With topics such as fish biology and habitat, pollution, the water cycle, licences and fishery rules, the Countryside Code and, of course, fishing, it was a challenging qualification. Many hours were spent preparing the presentations and workbooks and each day was planned around a 90-minute classroom session then a field or fishing trip.
“The session on fish anatomy and habitat went down very well with a full-blown autopsy performed by guest instructor Bob Goble. We went on to cook and eat the trout!
“It was an absolute pleasure to take these boys through the course and saw all of them mature and become competent anglers even if their casting accuracy was sometimes to be desired! They put in an unbelievable amount of work and although punching well above their weight on occasion, succeeded in completing and passing the course. I am so very proud of them.
Learning Opportunities and Sallygate
Both of these schools were new to the F4S initiative . Kevin Durman helped me with the coaching as although very keen and supportive neither school’s staff had any real angling experience.
The pupils at these schools have a range of SEN’s and emotional/behavioural issues but without exception threw themselves into the fishing and excelled!
All 13 pupils from the two schools attained their Level 1 CAST Awards and a few of them nudged the Level 2 standards. Listening, concentration, teamwork and focus were apparent and the school staff were amazed by the way each session unfolded.
The photo is of the pupils from Learning Opportunities. We cannot show any of the pupils and their achievements from Sallygate as all are in special care situations.