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  • Writer's pictureFishing for Schools

School Spotlight: Rowhill School in Kent

Director of Fishing for Schools, Charles Jardine said: "If ever there was a pressing case for Fishing for Schools, an explanation for its very existence and how it can transform and grow, the words of both Richard Jones and Warren White are compelling.


We at The Countryside Alliance Foundation exist to reach out to establishments like Rowhill School and, in our own way, try to help and nurture the young people with our brand of help: Fishing for Schools."


Richard Jones Deputy Headteacher at Rowhill School writes:


Rowhill School is a special school for pupils aged between 5 and 16 with social, emotional and mental health needs as well as learning difficulties. Although our pupils come from a range of backgrounds, some have significantly less opportunities to participate in exciting and challenging activities, such as this. The ethos of the school is to provide pupils with opportunities to develop their academic skills, but also to develop inter-personal social skills.


The Fishing for Schools programme, over a number of years, has provided the opportunity for pupils to develop these vital social skills in a completely different environment.

The pupils have been taken off timetable and have received expert angling coaching from dedicated staff. The pupils have thrived, enjoying the challenge of learning new skills, achieving success and learning outside of the classroom, experiencing an outdoor environment. This has had a positive impact upon their self-esteem and self-confidence.


The school has used the Fishing for Schools programme as a springboard to introduce knowledge of angling and the environment into the curriculum. The school offers a BTEC qualification in angling and environment to older pupils, with 12 pupils currently opting for this course. The success of the Fishing for Schools programme developed into the school running weekly fishing intervention for KS3 and Primary pupils. Many pupils have developed a passion for fishing that was initiated by Fishing for Schools and then nurtured and fostered by our team of angling coaches.


The school is very grateful to Fishing for Schools for supporting the pupils and offering them an opportunity to experience an activity that they may not have been otherwise able to access.


Thanks!


Richard Jones, Deputy Headteacher, Rowhill School




Warren White, Fishing for Schools lead Coach explains:


Fishing for Schools have supported Rowhill SEN School for over 10 years now; this is a good and vital partnership for both.


The idea is to use the Fishing for Schools programme for the younger students at the school in order to engage and enthuse their interest for fishing. They then have the option to go on to a fishing qualification at school and in the process, a link to Hadlow College, giving the students an opportunity to go onto higher education when they leave school.


The school, at present, offers fishing and educational courses five days a week throughout the year, which we find is very rare. I work Mondays and Thursdays on the educational courses with fellow Fishing for School coach David Evans. David then works with other age groups for the remaining three days. This is probably the only school in the UK that provides fishing five days a week throughout the year. To offer fishing throughout the winter months takes some doing but it’s worth noting that the school fund 100% of these courses as they realise the benefits to their students.




For this to work, it's vital that you have the backing of the school. I remember, 12 years ago, meeting Geoff Bartrum, the then head of PE, who is now the Head at Rowhill School, and both being as passionate as one another about getting fishing onto the curriculum. At the time we were working with two students, but once the buzz about fishing got back to school, we steadily grew each year to where we are today.


I must also mention Richard Jones, who coordinates all the fishing projects at the school and TA Amy Ward, who helps the coaches on the educational courses and has grown to love fishing herself. You need a good, keen team in place to make this happen.


There is no doubt that in the current economic climate, all schools are facing financial constraints, and in the future we will have challenges along the way, but at present I am proud of what the school and Fishing for Schools are achieving.



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