Fishkeeper Fry once again proved an enormous success in 2019, with over seventy schools across the UK spending eight weeks discovering the wonders of setting up their own aquarium and looking after a range of fish in their classroom.
Primary schools from across the UK created some beautiful living aquariums and used these to inspire some amazing interactive learning in the classroom. Some of our participating teachers not only encouraged their classes to complete the work sheets and tasks provided in the programme but also extended the material in the programme across the wider primary curriculum by developing their own additional projects linking maths, English, geography, art and social studies - really immersing heir classes in the possibilities of their new aquarium and pets.
2019 also saw the very first award of our, now coveted, Fishkeeper Fry School of the Year Trophy (and medals for the wining class) in recognition of the school who we felt was most committed to the programme.
The Fishkeeper Fry School of the Year 2019 was awarded to Village Primary School and you can find out more about their special award day can be seehere:
Here’s what they had to say about the programme:
“Fantastic experience thoroughly recommended to anyone. The children have learnt so much and shown a mature, sensible and caring side with fishkeeping. They have been given a true sense of achievement to have been awarded with Fishkeeper School of the Year and the visit from Tappers and Shelby created a buzz across the whole school." Village Primary School, Derby
Once again many of the schools who took part opted to keep their aquarium on school premises once the programme ended in March providing them with ongoing educational value from this experience and many of the stores who supported these school have offered to further support their schools and continue to assist them with upkeep and maintenance advice. At the end of the programme we sent all of our participating schools a short questionnaire so we could find out more about their experience of this year’s programme.
We asked our teachers what elements of the programme they particularly enjoyed this year and here are some of the responses:
“Adding the fish was an exciting lesson each week. Also checking the website to see if our school had been chosen for fishkeeper/sheet/aquarium of the week was great too (especially when we were chosen!)”
“Each week step by step video explained what to do and about fish too. I had never kept fish before but learnt so much alongside the children”
“Staff at our store couldn’t do enough to help.”
“Enjoyed showing the children how the equipment is used and learning about where the different fish come from.”
“The children enjoyed getting the new fish and learning about where they came from and which parts of the aquarium they would inhabit.”
“The involvement that the children experienced.”
“Seeing the fish enjoying their environment and seeing the children enjoy the fish!”
“Watching the video clips and getting the pupils around the tank to talk about what we had learned together.”
“Using the testing strips to access water quality. The children got a lot out of this.”
“Everything – it has been a fantastic project for our students and the tank will continue to give wellbeing benefits to them.”
“Videos explained what I didn’t know and answered all the children’s questions.”
If you’re considering signing up to our 2020 programme (and why wouldn’t you?), here are some top tips from our 2019 teachers about getting the programme up and running in your classroom.
“I did have to spend some time at home looking through everything before standing in front of the class to lead them confidently. However, the videos were amazing in summarising in simple terms of the children what we had to do and why.”
“We had fish monitors each week who test the water and count the fish etc. Each day the child who is awarded the ‘star of the day’ gets to feed the fish”
“We made the whole experience of collecting the fish each week into a life-skills lesson – how to behave in the community, understanding social etiquette, road safety etc. It was just a fantastic learning experience in a real-life situation.”
“Run as a club after school and the maintenance and a scaled done version of the weekly info given to class in day-to-day teaching. This is very effective and reached more children than just one class. More benefitted.”
And if you are still undecided about signing up for our 2020 programme, take a look at some of the feedback we had from our teachers overall about the programme.
“Please, please let me do a third year with my class! The tank is about to go into hibernation.”
“Enjoyable throughout and the children still enjoy caring for the fish, and they’ve (the fish) have been enjoyed and appreciated by the whole school.”
“We thoroughly enjoyed it and now have a beautifully set up tank to maintain and enjoy for years to come. Thank you so much!”
“Thank you. What a fantastic opportunity and I’m taking the tank with me to Reception next year. My class will love it. I would definitely do it again.”
“Thank you for the opportunity. A number of pupils went out and either purchased tanks or were gifted tanks from relatives. This programme really captured their attention.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the programme. The children thoroughly enjoyed setting up the aquarium and learning about the different fish. We have kept our aquarium and their enthusiasm for fishkeeping is still as strong and other classes are now also enjoying watching and learning about our fish. Some children in the class are now looking to start their own aquarium at home!”
“Introducing special needs students to fish and looking after animals, we have undertaken a qualification for looking after animals through this project.”
“Have recommended it to many colleagues and science leaders in my local area.”
“I am so grateful we were given the opportunity to do this. The whole project was a brilliant learning opportunity for our students, al who have severe learning difficulties. The tank is now a lasting calm area and will form part of lessons next school year. Thank you for letting us do this!”
“Lovely project again and ended with Dominic from Hare Hatch coming to speak with the children and collecting the fish as a request from me.”
Thank you to all the teachers who gave the time to get involved in Fishkeeper Fry 2019, guiding their classes through the programme, and for taking the time to share your feedback and lovely comments. We're thrilled you chose to start your class off on their fishkeeping journey with us and hope they continue to put into practice what they have learned for many years to come.
The programme will run again for its 4th year next year (from January to March 2020).