Riding the storms…an educational opportunity

​The UK is currently experiencing its wettest winter on record, with strong winds also battering the country. The South West of England has been worst affected by the storms and persistent rain, with the MET Office reporting that the South of England has experienced one of the most exceptional periods of winter rainfall in at least 248 years. This unusual rainfall combined with strong winds of around 60-80mph, and high spring tides have resulted in high water levels and huge waves causing coastal flooding and damage to the coastline.

The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) and ETE Teachers are inviting schools from across the South West and the UK to join us in an online discussion and debate about the recent storms, and to evaluate their environmental and economic impact. The online debate will include various environmental experts from the University and aims to promote interest within schools for current and local affairs in the media whilst also engaging them in their learning about geography and climate change.

A major impact of the recent bad weather has been on the town of Dawlish in Devon, where the strong waves have caused a large section of the railway track to collapse into the sea, with huge implications for the national travel network and businesses across the Country.

The main focus for this interactive learning opportunity will be the Dawlish railway line and erosion at Dawlish Warren. Students will be encouraged to discuss the environmental impacts of the recent storms and come up with conclusions on how this can be avoided, what the economic impacts will be and if there should be any change to the transport links into Devon and Cornwall.

The final aim is to collate and summarise young people’s input from the online discussions into a report which will be presented to the Environment Agency and other related organisations.

This project is completely free of charge to take part in, but schools are asked to contact the ETE Team to obtain a username and password in order to contribute to the debate. Schools can do this by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or calling 01752588347.