Here in the south we have delivered to five schools, covering an area from Sturminster Newton in
Dorset to Burgess Hill, East Sussex, with one more school to follow in the autumn.
These schools cater for pupils who have physical challenges, special educational needs, behavioural issues and a myriad of other challenges.
We – Julie Wicks, Lee Hooper and myself, Rob Doyle - delivered to a group of seven pupils at Yewstock college, all of whom have very complicated requirements. A range of sensory and motor skill games were necessary to prepare them for their fishing, but very successful days ensued.
At Yewstock School we taught a group of 13 pupils, who had less complicated problems and amazing vitality and enthusiasm in bucket loads.
We introduced these youngsters to the subject through making up equipment, entomology, learning about the environment, fish biology and cooking, culminating in an excellent day’s fishing.
We also had the help of young Lewis who, as Yewstock School pupil, has completed a couple of years on our course and is ready and eager to move forward as a Level 1 fishing coach.
We are supporting and mentoring him to make the most of his passion for fishing. His ability to interact with others is great to watch and we welcome him as part of the team.
When we teach St John’s at Marlborough, we are fortunate to have access to the stunning facilities at Marlborough College, including their trout lakes. This group of five pupils threw themselves headlong into fishing and with amazing energy.
They all caught trout with their own casting and went from a short attention span to being able to concentrate on casting and fishing all day. Their retention of knowledge was stunning.
Purbrook Park School was new to Fishing for Schools this year. With a new school it’s often difficult to work out session lengths and how to direct that focus, but that was not a worry in this case.
Although the pupils apparently had behavioural and concentration issues, we need not have worried. They were polite, attentive, knowledgeable and most of all they absorbed information and skills with such enthusiasm.
Finally, to APC Burgess Hill, where all pupils worked hard throughout the course. One pupil told us he did not want to fish, as he was scared he might get caught. Well he did fish and caught the biggest fish of the day, a carp of about 1.5lbs. No more concerns. All the pupils left the teaching staff in absolute awe at their ability to stick at the task and succeed beyond all expectations.
A final comment from the boys sums it all up. “Oh, won’t we see you anymore? These have been the best lessons ever!”
I would like to thank all the staff for maintaining and supporting the students’ enthusiasm between visits, Lee and Julie for all their help and Lewis for just being Lewis.