At the first indoor DEAZ pupils were promised an experience outdoors in May. Years 4 and 5 and years 7 and 8 pupils were brought to Albrighton Moat near Wolverhampton, a special centre for people with disability that includes a fishing pond in addition to sensory gardens and activity hall.
The Dreamstore Education Action Zone intends to be a two stage programme of activity. First an indoor angling experience and then an outdoor angling experience. When Wilson Stuart Special School opened a discussion with Dreamstore on holding an event we had a focus to deliver our DEAZ.
In association with the British Disabled Angling Association the DEAZ offered six activity zones for the pupils. A casting zone tested accuracy with a rod and reel. A fishing mat provided an area where fish could be caught on a whip – whip fishing being the most likely introduction to angling on an outdoor fishery. Three other zones included Maggot Alley to try throwing bait (soft balls) at a target, a conservation litter grab and a river match where the pupils had to match names to river locations around the UK. A sixth area encouraged pupils to put construct a rod and reel.
The event took place over two days and was a huge success. From the teachers point of view DEAZ provided an excellent educational tool. The pupils used cognitive reasoning, concentration, motor movement and focus across the events. The years 7 and 8 were taught weights and measures before the DEAZ experience to recognise the weight of the fish caught – each laminated fish on the fishing mat had its name and weight encapsulated on the back. Photos taken at the indoor and outdoor events were used as prompts in English class for the pupils to write about their experience.
Pupils’ descriptions of their experiences indoors and outdoors, in their words, can be found by clicking on Taffy, Eleanor, Abdul, William and Rachael.
What they say…
Simon Harris sums up what DEAZ has meant to Wilson Stuart School and Sports College, Erdington, Birmingham.
Wilson Stuart School and Sports College’s relationship with Dreamstore and the British Disabled Angling Association has been an incredible adventure, enriching the curriculum we can offer to our pupils with the wonderful Education Action Zone (EAZ) days and our trips to the Albrighton fishing project.
The EAZ days are staffed by coaches who really understand the needs of our pupils and ensure that the maximum benefits come from each session, in terms of enjoyment and educationally. In addition to the essential fishing skills which are passed on to our pupils, the cross curricular aspects of the day, such as the conservation area, allow our pupils to realise that the enjoyment of the activity requires everyone on the planet to be good citizens and make sure that our rivers and ponds are not polluted.
Pupils who never dreamed it would be possible to catch a real fish have experienced the delight and tangible rewards of a day’s fishing at Albrighton. All pupils experienced a level of achievement on these days which is rarely matched in any of the activities we do across the whole school. This unprecedented success has led to a real interest in developing further opportunities, not only for pupils, but for their families also.
Our work with Dreamstore has been incredibly positive from start to finish and I hope that together we will be able to enrich the lives of many more young disabled people in the future. It has been an absolute pleasure!