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  • Writer's pictureFishing for Schools

School Spotlight: Purbrook Park School in Hampshire

Below you will read a report and the resultant impact that Fishing for Schools has had at one of the many schools during this school year.

Martyn Rafferty at Purbrook Park School is an angler and someone who is willing to 'go the extra mile' in order to broaden young people’s boundaries.

Purbrook is one of three schools this year that have taken to the wide-open seas and high adventure – and learning. Embracing a sea fishing trip is not simple; it requires risk assessments, careful planning and assiduous attention to detail. One can’t afford mistakes deep into the channel. But what an experience!

- Charles Jardine, Director of Fishing for Schools

Martyn, what impact has Fishing for Schools had at your school?

The largest impact on the school is getting pupils learning outside of the classroom. They are so used to being sat in their seat looking at a whiteboard and following instructions such as copy this into your book, read this and tell me your opinion… Fishing for Schools have come in over the years and given the pupils something else to focus on, learn about something hands on, use the skills they have learned to develop a new hobby and to catch fish.

What did your pupils enjoy the most?

The pupils enjoyed the final day mostly. Whether it be fly fishing or out on the charter boat, the pupils loved using the previous skills learned in a practical setting. The attention span was bigger as they had a goal to achieve.

Has anything surprised you about the programme?

The pupils loved dissecting the fish. They loved looking at the organs of the fish and were very interested in each one.

What is your most memorable experience?

A few years ago, Rob and I had taken some SEN pupils fly fishing. The buzz from the pupils when landing a fish was addictive. I love seeing them catch a fish just as much as I do when I catch. One pupil was so happy about the experience he got his grandad into fishing so that he could take him along.

What did the teachers and support staff enjoy the most in their time with Fishing for Schools?

The teachers were so supportive of the programme. They were interested in how their department could benefit, for example: when dissecting the fish, I had three members of the Science department hanging around to watch how Rob was delivering to the pupils, then the Food Tech teacher turned up to see how we make the fish curry with the pupils. They were very impressed with the concentration of the pupils.

Do you think the school will embrace a different view of angling-education and general outdoor education as a result of this programme?

Yes, the school Head has already talked to me about the impact it has had on the pupils. He has been so impressed over the years with the dedication of Fishing for Schools with our pupils. He loves the fact we choose SEN, behaviour and highly anxious pupils to benefit. Outdoor education has been a great tool for our school and pupils, hopefully this will continue.

What do you think the future holds for fishing education related activities in the school after the departure of Fishing for Schools?

Unfortunately, I am leaving Purbrook Park School for a new career in a different industry but I hope I have left a legacy of outdoor education for my colleagues to take on and explore. I have encouraged a few members of staff to take up the reigns and embrace education in the outdoors especially angling.

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