Pupils learn about reducing flood risk

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Around 60 pupils from Pleckgate High School in Blackburn experienced geography out of the classroom to help them learn about rivers and flooding.

The group of Year 10 learners visited the Garstang Flood Gates, which help to hold the water back during heavy rainfall and then, once the rain stops, slow release it back into the River Wyre.

The school, which has around 1,200 pupils, of which the majority are from an ethnic minority background, has been working with the Environment Agency’s (EA) Siddiq Patel. At the site, EA officers Wayne Thorpe and Duncan McKechnie informed pupils how the asset holds river flows upstream in raised earth embankments. Garstang can hold 1.3 million m of water, the equivalent of 520 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This was one of two field trips the class have the opportunity to go on as part of their coursework. Pleckgate’s Head of Geography, Heather Swales, said: “Rather than learn about it from a text book they got to see the environment in real life and experience it which helped them better understand it all.”

Siddiq said he enjoys such experiences as it helps put important issues into perspective and also helps raise awareness about reducing flood risk. He described the group as “outstanding” and “a pleasure to be involved with.”

Pupil Alia Haider described measuring the river “fun”. She said: “I didn’t know there were things like the flood gate that existed to protect people from flooding.”

Alia’s classmate, Karim Reda, said: “There was snow at the top of the source. And when we got to Garstang there was none and we could clearly see the river had got wider and deeper, just like the Bradshaw model we have learnt about.”

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