The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s Fishing for Schools programme, in association with the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust, held a successful course on the 23rd and 24th of May with Honley High School and introduced pupils to the sport of fly fishing.

The course, which was held over 2 days at the school and at the Huddersfield Sailing Club, with the fishing facility provided by Huddersfield Angling Association, involved 12 children from the school and introduced them to outdoor education.
Fishing for Schools is an innovative and inspiring programme which 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 wish to learn a practical life skill. 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, led by a dedicated team led by celebrated angler Charles Jardine, taught 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 had a warm welcome at Honley High School and thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Watching self esteem, confidence and delight blossom in these youngsters through angling has been a real delight. 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 they will never forget.
The fishing tackle was provided by the Environment Agency under their “Introduction to Angling Initiative” and they also part financed the training of the instructors.
Paul Jackson a teacher at Honley High School commented: “On behalf of the pupils at Honley High, I would like to thank the training team for making this programme enjoyable and successful. Everyone gave positive feedback regarding the friendly nature of the team, how they made the activities fun and engaging”
Here are just a few quotes from the pupils:
Adam Thompson:
“New experience, enjoyed learning new techniques where the trainers made it fun and were more relaxed than the teachers.”
Laura Elliot:
“”The instructors showed me in a step by step way where I learnt how to set up the rods, casting, killing the fish. I was extremely happy and excited when I caught my first fish. A really fun day out.”
Tom Haigh:
“Good support from the instructors who encouraged you to keep going. I enjoyed the different environment and experience in fly fishing. I also preferred carrying out the task on my own where the instructors allowed you more freedom to learn by yourself.”
Adeal Rafiq:
“Enjoyed fly fishing, the instructors were very helpful where I was allowed to kill a fish, saw how a fish was dissected and then eat it.”
Joshua Rushforth:
“Difference in learning in a different environment. It was challenging, but I really enjoyed working with the equipment and how fish work. The trainers were very enthusiastic about their sport where they gave support when required.”
Ronan Hooper:
“Good fun, learnt how to fly fish. Instructors friendly and did not shout at you. Really enjoyed doing something practical and out of the classroom.”
Damon Mellor:
“An enjoyable experience. Something I had never done before. The trainers were well mannered, relaxed, less formal and allowed you to have a go.”
Aidan Egdell:
“Good experience. Enjoyed the practical side of learning different knots, build your own flies and be able to use  a fly rod. Good support from trainers who were relaxed and understood me more.”
Holly Locke:
“Really good learning how to fish. The people were friendly and gave support when needed. I was well happy when I caught my first fish and was allowed to put it back into the water without harming it.”
Charlie Wills:
“Fun getting out. Trainers relaxed and supported me with the rod.”
Jay Fitzgerald:
“Enjoyed learning how to fish and seeing other peoples techniques. I gained experience from the trainers and how they fish differently.”