The Countryside Alliance (CA) is calling on the government to create a new subject entitled ?outdoor education?, which school children could be assessed on.

The CA?s Tim Bonner explained that children should be taught about traditional fieldsports such as shooting, hunting and fishing.

?The CA has produced a Rural Manifesto of policies we think the next government, whatever its colour, should adopt,? he said.

?Education about the countryside is a major part of that manifesto and our groundbreaking projects are showing the way. For instance, our new online educational resource, Countryside Investigators, takes the work of a keeper into primary school classrooms across the country, and Fishing4Schools takes children out of the classroom and teaches them how to fish. This sort of education is crucial to the future of the countryside as well as shooting, fishing and other activities.?

Shooting organisations have said they fully support the CA?s initiative and already encourage schools to use their educational packs.

Peter Marshall, BASC?s director of shooting standards, commented that a well-rounded education should not be confined to academic subjects: ?A good education gives pupils the opportunity to learn about a wide range of subjects including life in the countryside. That should also provide an opportunity to understand about fieldsports and how they are integral to the management of the countryside. Clay pigeon shooting is already part of the national curriculum as a module in GCSE physical education and BASC produces a range of materials that are already being used in some schools.?

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO) said public knowledge of rural life and activities is crucial to the survival of fieldsports: ?Sadly, very few people have the chance to acquire that knowledge first-hand these days, so work in schools is crucial. Anything that can be done to encourage teachers to use these resources is welcome.?

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