Schools and youth groups


It is important to educate children about the environment and promote respect for it. Rivers are often a small part of the school curriculum at primary and secondary stages but are a greatly varied and interesting subject.

Currently the River Thame Conservation Trust doesn’t run education activities for school or youth groups but if you are interested in getting involved with any projects or surveys please do get in touch.


Students from the Oxford Academy carrying out water quality monitoring.

Sources of curriculum material and ideas:

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) have education centres around the 3 counties, including College Lake near Tring which runs a huge programme of environmental sessions.

The River and Rowing Museum in Henley welcomes school groups for visits and has a range of workshops for key stage 1 and 2 students. These touch on the subjects of Science, Geography, History and Maths, as well as Art, Music and PE. There are also resources available on their website which can be used in the classroom.

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority provide curriculum based learning programmes for all ages. They get children working in the field to give them hands on experience and an appreciation for the environment.

The Rivers Trust is a charity based in England and Wales which promotes education about rivers at a young age. Their website includes a set of simple animations showing some river formations and there is also a primary school education pack which can be downloaded and used in the classroom.

The Thames Explorer Trust runs a wide range of educational programmes – you can organise for their staff to come to your school and teach workshops including information on geographical features of rivers as well as the wildlife that inhabits them and human impacts on it. They have pre-school and key stage 1 and 2 programmes which are usually day long workshops.

The Canal & River Trust are a charity that maintains 2000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. You can book for their volunteers to lead visits to many waterside destinations across the UK as well as come in to your school – all activities are linked into the curriculum. There are also learning resources that are free to download from their website including lesson plans and activity sheets, as well as educational games for children to play online. Their resources are designed for key stage 2 children but can be adapted for key stage 1.

The National Geographic Society website has a number of lesson plans and activities about rivers – just search “rivers” in the teaching resources section. These include game based and project based learning and are organised by the age of students.