Learning new skills

Dreamstore was enthusiastic when asked to support the Braidwood Trust School for the Deaf in a new programme which brought together angling, Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme and the School’s search for something new to encourage student learning and engagement.

The initial approach had been to simply run a short course on angling. Following discussions, the school saw a great opportunity to integrate angling as the feature activity of “Learning a New Skill” as part of the School’s Duke of Edinburgh programme of activities. Dreamstore provided a small grant to ensure this initiative was secured. When the programme was designed it interested UK Deaf Sport which joined in sponsoring this new learning programme.

Andrew Walker and the team at Angling Unlimited worked with the teachers at Braidwood in bringing together a twelve week course. It is not difficult to see how angling fitted into “Learning a New Skill” within Duke of Edinburgh principles, including; non-competitive, achievable by all, providing personal development, progressive, achievement focused, and enjoyable. The benefits; to bring self-belief and self-confidence, independent thought and action, and also to demonstrate responsibility, awareness of own potential, planning and problem-solving. And team work.

The course was both indoor,






and outdoor.









Using both coarse and fly angling, the Angling Unlimited course included setting up different types of angling equipment, how to make a pole rig, how to tie a fly (after some pond dipping to understand why a fly), some fish biology, tying knots, safety at the water banks, and then lots of learning how to fish in different styles.

There is just one task left – classroom presentations in September by each of those on the course, on the topic of what they learned. On location at the  final formal session of twelve week programme, at the end of June, we talked to some of those involved and what they thought about the programme:

Teacher, Ryan Sutton from Braidwood 

Zaaker with her take on fishing

Paul Challinor was working with UK Deaf Sports and supported this initiative at Braidwood

Lewis looked forward to being more independent through what he had learned

Finally, Sarah the camera shy teaching assistant, spoke about the wider benefits of the course (video off)…

Andrew Walker, Angling Unlimited, who designed and organised deliver of the course concludes:

“Never having done any lessons for a School for the Deaf, we didn’t quite know what to expect or how the lessons would be received by the Students.  However, we were so pleased with their keenness and attentiveness.  Each week they showed great enthusiasm and quickly grasped the tasks given to them.  We were greatly impressed with how quickly they learnt new skills in rig making, fly-tying, making and elasticating a Pole, plus many other tasks during the 12 week programme.  We certainly enjoyed teaching the Students and trust that they will continue to go fishing either with us or their friends and family and are more than willing to assist them further in any way we can.”

This was a great initiative and, importantly, Angling Unlimited now has a template to deliver the ‘Learning a New Skill’ element of Duke of Edinburgh that is available to any school in the West Midlands. Just go to the website and contact Andrew Walker for more information.