Long Field High School, in Melton has been getting pupils hooked on angling over the last week with over 50 students receiving expert coaching from the National Federation of Anglers on Lakeview Fisheries.

The school which is part of the Melton and Belvoir School Sport Partnership in Leicestershire had been looking for something different for the children to get involved with this spring and Chris Hoult, School Sport Coordinator and PE teacher at Long Field, asked the school’s Partnership Development Manager Jenny Smith, a keen angler, to have a look into it.

The initial response was expected to be only a handful of students; however the school sport team was greeted by over 50 requests for angling coaching. With such a demand, Jenny looked for help in both implementing and funding a number of angling sessions which have taken place over the past few days.

The NFA was first to offer a helping hand with a number of coaches, Glyn Williams, Brian Hull, Dave Roberts and Roger Chapman all offering coaching for the sessions. Support has also come form other sources including local angling club, Asfordby & Melton Society of Anglers and the local Active Melton Sport Alliance Group which have both provided funding for the school.

Lakeview Fishery where the youngsters have had their first taste of angling contributed a number of days free of charge to the school in the interests of helping get the children hooked on the sport. Jenny and Lakeview Fishery will also be undergoing a tracking programme to ascertain whether any of the participants from the school come back to the fishery for another go.

The Environment Agency also supported the coaching, providing the youngsters with angling equipment to continue their new found sport. Richard Wightman, Environment Agency Angling Participation Manager commented, “We know that interest in angling remains astonishingly high among young people, it seems all they need is the opportunity to have a go. Providing simple gear for them to learn to fish with and coaches to teach them are just a couple of the things we can do to help them through the early stages. But to keep them fishing we must also help protect and improve access to safe and affordable fishing in the urban areas where most kids live”.

Long Field High School has already seen a very positive response from the children with a number of enquiries into whether there will be any more angling within the school as Partnership Development Manager, Jenny Smith comments,

“Having seen the demand for angling within the school, it was essential to bring in a sport which the children wanted to take part in. I know that Chris Hoult is looking into future angling sessions and that children are asking if a school fishing club could be set up.

This is an incredibly positive activity that the school has carried out and as Partnership Development Manager I look after 28 schools which could all benefit from the introduction of angling into their school sport programme. There is huge potential for angling as long as the funding and support is there to help the schools deliver the top quality coaching that I have seen over the last few days.”

It’s not just the school which sees the positives from the sport: as one child commented on the way home, “This has been my best school day ever”.