The Trust funds sailing lessons for 20 schools in mid-Cornwall from Truro to St Austell. Over the winter we asked five of them why they’re part of our Schools Programme. How do they and their children benefit? Here’s what they told us.
Foxhole Learning Academy is one of the Trust’s most enthusiastic schools. George Keast, who looks after their sailing programme, tells us why. “As a school located in an isolated village in Cornwall, with public transport links few and far between, we felt it was important for our pupils to have the chance to engage in activities that they would not usually have the opportunity to do. Learning to sail provides the perfect way to give our children new experiences, whilst also teaching them valuable skills about water safety and staying safe at sea, as well as working as a team and having trust in your peers.”
Headteacher Tania Findlay MBE adds: “As well as getting children out in the fresh air having fun on the water, learning to sail brings a sense of achievement which helps build a child’s independence and self-esteem – outcomes which are very important to us at Foxhole Learning Academy. Thanks to the Trust, we’re able to offer sailing courses to all our children in Years 5 and 6.”
Matt Nicholls, Headteacher at Nanpean Community Primary School, told us: “I feel strongly about providing the children with extra-curricular and general life-enhancing opportunities and RYST enables us to do that. The children have gained new skills and knowledge, and some have developed a lifelong love for the water, continuing with sailing and other water-based experiences in their own personal time. We intend to continue offering this opportunity to our children so that all children from Years 4 – 6 gain a sailing qualification while at Nanpean School.”
Here’s why Rachael Nash, Deputy Head Teacher at St Dennis Primary Academy, encourages children to learn to sail with RYST.
“St Dennis Primary Academy is right in the centre of Cornwall and, despite living in a county surrounded by sea, some children rarely spend time on or near the water. Sailing promotes important life skills. At St Dennis we have key values, which have personal development at their core. These are aspiration, courage, achievement, friendship, teamwork and responsibility – all of which sit very comfortably within the sailing environment.
Working with RYST we are helping our pupils to appreciate the wider world around them and to inspire awe and wonder. We want our pupils to be curious and be provided with magical moments that open doors to worlds that children don’t even know exist. Our aim is that children are excited, engaged and continue to be curious. With RYST’s help, we can do that.
As the pupils complete their sailing lessons, our hope is that they will continue through the stages and further develop sailing skills. We want to inspire a future generation to seek possible careers with maritime links and encourage our pupils to hold dear the joy of learning to sail with the satisfaction of achieving a certification in sailing.”
For Laura Pedlar of Brannel School, learning to sail is about character development. She says: “It’s important our students are confident in the water and can enjoy the benefits of living close to the sea, regardless of their circumstances. Initially they may be worried about being taken out of their comfort zones, but we have seen them become less nervous over time, to a point where the teacher is only there to drive the minibus! It’s crucial for the students’ character development to be given new challenges and sailing is one of the activities that does this very well.”
Kate Martin of Restormel Academy sees sailing as a means of enriching children’s experiences. She tells us: “Our pupils require a timetable with a variety of enrichment activities and some live so near the sea, but never get to go, so the opportunity to go sailing filled both of those gaps well. They gained in confidence hugely: you could see their self-esteem inflating over the course. They had new experiences they might never have accessed otherwise. We would like to send more pupils – if only they could all get this wonderful opportunity!”
The Trust and its supporters are working to make sure that as many Cornish schoolchildren as possible get the ‘wonderful opportunity’ Kate Martin mentions. We’re continually dismayed to hear stories of children living within a few miles of the coast and yet who’ve never played on a beach or in the water, let alone been in a boat.
The challenge is finding the time and money. Schools do need to make time for sailing in their schedules. But they don’t need to worry about money. All kit is supplied by our sailing centres and lessons are fully funded thanks to our generous supporters.
You can quickly and easily become a supporter by clicking on the ‘Donate’ button at the top of this page and following the simple instructions.