Most sporting activities on the curriculum of schools in the UK include football, rugby, hockey, tennis, netball and swimming, but one school in Hull is trying something different with its pupils.
Winifred Holtby School introduced scuba diving to class timetables recently and the new diving programme has been so successful that the underwater sport could become a permanent fixture.
Teachers at the school are hoping that the fun activity will educate the pupils on physiology and other aspects of science, as well as providing them with alternative career options in the future.
Steve Liddle, the head teacher of the school in Bransholme, explained: “It is about raising aspirations and giving them the chance to try something different, out of their comfort zone.
“But when you think about all the opportunities that are coming on board now in offshore wind energy and in that area, there is going to be opportunities to go into that business
“There will be organisations where they will need some form of underwater engineer or construction worker.
He added: “We are trying to get them to understand that while it may be a lovely recreational opportunity, there are also other things to be had from doing it.”
Three instructors from Above And Below, a company that operates dive centres in Hull and Pontefract, gave six pupils the chance to take part in an hour-long scuba diving sessions.
Martin Ainsworth, from Above And Below, said: “As well as teaching them the basics of diving, this begins to instil in them life skills such as communication and teamwork.
“They are learning about physics and the human body at sixth form level and they are enjoying it, so they are a lot more keen to learn.”
The company offers a range of diving courses, including beginners’ lessons and certification courses that allow experienced divers to go on to visit exotic scuba diving destinations all over the world.
During the diving session the youngsters were shown safety aspects and they were taught how to use the scuba equipment underwater.
Amy Brown, a 14-year-old pupil, said: “It was really good. I really, really enjoyed it.
“It is harder than you think. When I went under the first time, I was screaming with my mask on.
“It is a great experience to be given in school. Not everyone can afford scuba diving and this allows people to try it.
“But it is not just the fun aspect. We learned about the science of it, as well as basic safety.
“It taught us what to do if we are ever in a dangerous situation, as well as working in a team.”
The school is hoping to introduce the course to many more of its pupils and those who enjoy it will be able to go on to get a PADI certificate which will allow them to enjoy the activity during scuba diving holidays abroad or in the United Kingdom.
Mr Liddle concluded: “Another reason we want to do this is to provide this sort of opportunity for those who don’t necessarily get on with traditional sporting subject areas for example, those who don’t like contact sports such as football or rugby, but want to do a sport for fitness and health.”