SOMETHING fishy has been going on at Smithills School.

The school has been working with the Environment Agency and Bolton Angling Club to get fishing on the curriculum.

Smithills is now the only school in the North West offering angling activities to students on site and has seven members of staff who are professionally trained angling coaches.

The school, in Smithills Dean Road, has set up its own angling club, which meets weekly during term time, and has a school angling team which competes with other clubs locally at weekends.

All the fishing is done on a lake on the school site, owned by Bolton Angling Club.

The initiatives have been spearheaded by Smithills headteacher and keen angler Alec Cottrill.

He said: “Fishing is now available to every pupil – it really has become part of school life here.

“It allows pupils to learn so much about the environment especially about the water cycle and importance of water, weather patterns and the effect humans can have on all of these.

“In science they build an understanding of common plants and animals, photosynthesis and food chains.

“There are connections with many other areas of the curriculum too. Fishing can be linked to maths so pupils understand about measuring water depths and using weights to balance floats.”

The Environment Agency has worked with the school to provide safe access to the water, including disabled access.

Steve Powell, fisheries specialist for the Environment Agency, added: “This is an excellent opportunity for children attending Smithills to learn a new sport they haven’t tried before.

“It is great that the school is developing the children’s interest in the environment and fishing and we hope the skills they develop will stay with them throughout their school lives and beyond.

“These pupils will become the anglers and environmentalists of the future.”