Week commencing 11th November 2019, we welcomed Anna Caygill from The Environment Agency into our school to support us during our Geography Week. The focus this year was on Flood Resilience. We chose this topic as Stanhope has a number of flood risk properties, many of whom have been flooded recently. The surrounding landscape is very hilly meaning that water can travel downhill into the village very quickly. Anna is working in the area at the moment to develop emergency plans for severe weather to help assist during an incident of flooding or the result of extreme weather.
Weardale is also the location of a Natural Flood Management pilot project which is looking at using natural processes to slow the flow of water higher in the catchment. This should minimise some of the surface run-off from the fields. This project is acting as a pilot for the rest of the UK as it is such a big catchment. The features of the pilot include attenuation ponds, leaky barriers or restoring peat to store more water. These features will not only a flood risk benefit but added benefits in terms or providing habitats for wildlife.
Anna and her colleagues worked across the whole of the school from Early Years right up to Year 6. The youngest children learnt how to plan for an emergency and what to put into their ‘grab bag’ and they also made a cloud in a jar which was very exciting. Some of our older children built rain gauges and learnt about flooding in our local area in more detail. In Class 5 this week brought our topic on Raging Rivers to a close and the children had a fantastic field study trip down to the river to explore some of the flood defences already in place in Stanhope.
They were able to compare and contrast rural and urban flooding and explored hard and soft engineering options for flood management. The older children were very interested in climate change and the impact this was having on flooding in the UK and more locally in Stanhope and they also explored plastic pollution in the River Wear.
At the end of the week, Class 5 became news reporters and made a podcast informing people of what they should do in a flood emergency.
Many thanks to Anna for all of her hard work and support during this exciting week in our school.
“I learnt a lot about the impact of climate change on flooding in Stanhope.” (Year 5)
“I went home and made a flood plan with my family.” (Year 6)
“We learnt about the positive impact of natural flood defences in Weardale” (Year 6)