Unlocking the Severn for Schools

We believe the UK’s longest river can uniquely inspire young learners.

Watch a video of some of our recent schools activity

During the spring/summer 2019 we hosted 3 school visits to the riverside at Tewkesbury for 120 children.  We also ran Fish Tales creative arts workshops in schools close to the works at Powick weir.

Read on below if you are interested to find out what we can offer for your school.

Our approach to learning

We believe the UK’s longest river can uniquely inspire young learners.  We want local children and young people to make a powerful connection with the River Severn.  Outreach is a fundamental element of our project, and we aim to engage over 6000 school children.  In partnership with schools, our project will develop pupils’ understanding and pride in the natural heritage of our river.

We want to inspire awe and wonder when young people visit the riverside. Back in the classroom, arts activities and storytelling will ignite young imaginations, help children embed their learning and creatively explore this underwater river-world. Young people will also have powerful opportunities to see STEM applied in practice in the ambitious engineering that will enable this river restoration for migratory fish.

Learning Topics

Unlocking the Severn provides exciting opportunities to learn about the fish in the river, their life cycles, and the remarkable journeys of migrating fish.  We will also encourage young people to learn about the challenges that fish and other wildlife face in the river.

History and Geography
Discover how the river has shaped our landscape and how people have relied on and related to the river through time.

Modern engineering
Our river restoration project will use technical solutions to help fish and people on the river co-exist better – allowing endangered fish to flourish once again.

**We have recently launched NEW EDUCATION PACKS for teachers and home-learners**

Empowering Teachers

National Curriculum

All activities are designed to have clear and direct links with the National Curriculum and help pupils develop a range of core and transferable skills.

We are committed to empowering teachers to use the mighty River Severn as an asset and inspiration in their teaching programmes.  We are excited to offer an annual Continuing Professional Development course each year up to and including 2021 to equip 80+ teachers with the skills and confidence to lead their own riverside trips and use the River Severn to build stand-out learning activities for their pupils.  Courses will be held in different venues across Gloucestershire Worcestershire and Shropshire. Contact our team to find out more.

Diglis Island

Renovation work has begun on Victorian heritage buildings on Diglis Island belonging to Canal River Trust.  This will provide a unique learning destination for school visits.  The special location on an island in the middle of the River Severn, and the distinctive character of the former lock-gate workshop will provide an extraordinary learning space.  Visiting school groups can learn more about the river, its wildlife, and the modern engineering involved in designing and building an innovative fish pass at Diglis.

In, 2021 the workshop will also provide the base for booked tours to the fish pass – an impressive 100m structure, including the underwater viewing gallery, allowing rare glimpses of the underwater world of river fish.

How can your class get involved?

Key Stages 1 and 2:

River Severn and water safety assembly and workshops: children can learn about River Severn habitats and wildlife. We will help children identify hazards around the waterways and learn how to stay safe. Suitable for KS1 and KS2.

Guided walks around the Worcester waterways: children can discover the amazing history of Diglis canal basin and lock island, have a go at operating a real lock, and see engineering on the river. Suitable for KS2.

For more information please email Sarah Bicknell: [email protected]

Key Stages 4 and 5:

Guided site visits at Diglis: until the works complete in spring 2020, by special arrangement, and limited in availability, we can arrange site visits for local schools whilst the fish pass construction works are in progress. Students can meet scientists and engineers and see real environmental conservation in action. Students will learn about the amazing fish species that live in the river, discover the historic workshop buildings on Diglis Island and witness the construction of the impressive and innovative fish pass that will allow shad back to their spawning habitats.

We are offering all of these exciting range of activities free to school groups.

Canal & River Explorers

Canal & River Trust, the charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways, is a delivery partner for Unlocking the Severn.  They have extensive experience and commitment to schools’ outreach.  ‘Explorers’ is the Trust’s education programme aimed at children aged 5-11 which exists to inspire children’s learning by connecting them to our canals and rivers. These waterways offer powerful ways to engage children and bring learning to life. The learning programme is closely linked to the national curriculum and group badges. Dedicated Canal and River Trust volunteers lead inspiring visits on the towpath, in our museums or in your school or clubhouse.

Visit the Explorers website for education resources, games and more information about educational visits to discover the magic of the waterways.

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