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Teaching

Welcome to our school zone! In this section, you'll find out how you can bring your classroom to life, as it’s full of intuitive and interactive ways that you can help immerse your pupils in the world of water!

Developed for Yorkshire's finest teachers, we offer help to design interactive lesson plans that cover all the important subjects. This includes the water cycle, renewable energy and water conservation; all key parts of the current school curricula.

We're delighted to offer visits to our clean water treatment works at Headingley (Leeds) and Ewden (Stocksbridge, North Sheffield), where students can learn about the water cycle, the environment and how we ensure Yorkshire has a constant supply of fresh drinking water.

LOtC Quality Badge

Our education centres at Headingley, Ewden and Tophill Low have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge.

This is a national accreditation, recognising the essential elements of provision - learning and safety. We achieved the LOtC Quality Badge by demonstrating that we offer good quality teaching and learning experiences and that we manage risk effectively.

This is an important achievement as it provides an assurance that we:

1. Offer what we say we offer
2. Take account of the needs of our users
3. Place emphasis on 'learning/skills outcomes'
4. Operate in a healthy and safe environment

KS2 Programme Guide for Headingley and Ewden

Our education centres are run by experienced staff. We offer a programme of free sessions for primary schools and additional sessions for secondary schools, universities and community groups.

There are two programmes currently available:

A half day visit to Headingley and Ewden water treatment works for Key Stage 2 students will include:

1. Introduction to the water cycle and where our water comes from.
2. The 'Baddies in the Works' presentation - how we remove the 'baddies' from the water we treat. (approx. 10 minutes)
3. A guided tour of the site with headsets (approx. 40 minutes)
4. Activities - group work around six interactive sessions (approx. 40 minutes)
5. Water savers and wasters. Which one are you? (approx. 10 minutes)
6. Plenary session. What have we learnt? (approx. 10 minutes)

Students will be able to get hands on - conducting exciting experiments and working on a series of projects that help explain the water cycle and what we do with water to make it safe to drink. We also give out resource booklets so the learning can continue when you get back to the classroom.

Session timings are either 9.45am – 11.45am or 12.45pm – 2.45pm and we open Tuesday to Friday at Headingley and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Ewden. You can check our schedule of opening for availability here. Please note that we can only take one class per session.

A full day visit to Headingley and Ewden Water Treatment Works with our Big Wish activity programme will include:

1. Introduction to the water cycle and where our water comes from.
2. The 'Baddies in the Works' presentation - how we remove the 'baddies' from the water we treat. (approx. 10 minutes)
3. A guided tour of the site with headsets (approx. 40 minutes)
4. Activities - group work around six interactive sessions (approx. 40 minutes)
5. Water savers and wasters. Which one are you? (approx. 10 minutes)
6. Plenary session. What have we learnt? (approx. 10 minutes)

7. An afternoon focusing on the difference between communities in Ethiopia and the Yorkshire region. We will explore how villagers access their water supplies and the benefits of working with WaterAid to bring clean water and sanitation to those less fortunate. The sessions will include activities from our Big Wish youth engagement programme.

Full day sessions are from 9.45am to 2.45pm and we are open Tuesday to Friday at Headingley, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Ewden. You can check our schedule of opening for availability here. Please note that we can only take one class per session.

Our programmes have been developed with the help of school teachers and cover key elements and targets of the national curriculum at Key Stage 2. These include:

Geography - Key Stage 2 targets - human and physical geography, water cycle, distribution of natural resources including water, locational knowledge of coasts and rivers, topographical features.

Science - Year 4 - states of matter, evaporation and condensation in the water cycle, living things and their habitats, human impact on the environment.

Science - Year 5 - properties and changes of materals, states of matter, evaporation.

English - supporting writing, vocabulary and composition.

Mathematics - supporting number addition/subtraction, measurement and statistics.

We offer bespoke visits for Key Stage 3 and 4 supporting key elements of the secondary curriculum. To make a booking please use our booking form.

KS Programme Guide Tophill Low Nature Reserve

Our education centre is run by experienced staff. 

We offer a programme of free sessions for primary schools and additional bespoke sessions for secondary schools, universities and community groups.

Schools can choose from our half day or full day options.  Session timings are either 9.45am – 11.45am or 12.45pm – 2.45pm and we open on Wednesday and Thursday. 

You can check our schedule of opening for availability here. Please note that we can only take one class per session.

Programmes available are:

Life underwater -This session will help pupils discover how insects and other pondlife are adapted to survive underwater. Pupils will collect and identify common pondlife, learn about their life cycles and their place in the pond food web.

Life on the water - Using our binoculars, hides and viewing areas pupils can learn to identify the birds they find. Pupils will be able to describe similarities and differences between them, from beaks, feet, size, colour and behaviour to thoughts about what the birds might eat and how they are adapted to their watery habitat.

Wonderful woods - With our vast expanse of woodland, pupils will be able to study the life cycle of plants through our magnificent trees, from their buds and bark to their leaves and seeds. Working scientifically pupils will be able to describe patterns, take measurements, make predictions and give explanations for how plants are adapted to survive.

Nature detectives - Using the essential scientific skills of observation and recording, pupils will be able to become nature detectives and track evidence of what lives on the reserve. Their findings will help pupils understand how different animals in the food chain are adapted to their environment and how the reserve is managed to protect them.

Minibeasts - Pupils will find out what a mini-beast is, where they live and what they look like. Pupils will learn different techniques to collect and identify what they find. They will be able to study them carefully and understand what the reserve needs to do to encourage more suitable habitat.

Wild world - In this session pupils find out about what it is like to live in the wild; what are the sounds, sights and smells? They think about where the different plants and animals live in relation to each other and whether they would be able to survive themselves. Could they find food ,water and shelter?

Book a school visit


- To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book early.

- Once a booking has been made, we'll offer you a resource pack.

- We will automatically send you a pre-prepared risk assessment.

Additional Information

Prior to your visit, we will send you a copy of our risk assessment. You can also download it from this webpage.

Please note that you will be visiting an operational site and on very rare occasions there may be circumstances that cause temporary suspension of visits. This would be very unusual and if we became aware of any instances, you would be informed at the earliest opportunity.

Our primary school visits are usually free of charge, but please be aware that should you cancel with less than 3 weeks notice, we regret that we will have to charge a cancellation fee of £100 per session.

We do not charge cancellation fees in circumstances where there are bad weather conditions which would either (a) prevent you getting to our sites or (b) cause health & safety concerns during your visit. Should cancellations occur due to bad weather conditions, or for operational reasons out of our control, we will work with you to rebook your session at a mutually convenient time.

Should your group have any specific needs in terms of access, please let us know as soon as possible.  You should be aware that due to our clean water treatment works being operational sites, there is very limited wheelchair access.

Access at our education centres

We aim to accommodate students of all educational and special needs, however as these buildings are all working sites, teachers are advised to read the following information before making a booking.

Headingley Water Treatment Works

The education room is reached through two flights of stairs and therefore  we would not recommend the visit for customers who are wheelchair users. Our education advisers are well prepared to adapt language and activities depending on the reading age and educational needs of the students in each tour group. Students with special educational needs are welcome.

There is a portable hearing loop system available, please advise in advance if you require this facility.

Ewden Water Treatment Works

The education room is in the entrance to the treatment works and is easily accessible.  The tour of the works includes a number of staircases and is not suitable for wheelchair access around the whole route. Our education advisers are well prepared to adapt language and activities depending on the reading age and educational needs of the students in the tour group. Students with special educational needs are welcome.

Tophill Low Nature Reserve

The education room is on the ground floor of the visitors bird hide.  The main toilet block is a short distance away from the facility but there is a
disabled toilet nearby.    To access the bird hide viewing area, visitors
can use the stairs or the external ramp.  The building is wheelchair accessible. Our education adviser is well prepared to adapt language and activities depending on the reading age and educational needs of the students in the tour group. Students with special educational needs are welcome.

A fantastic learning resource 'The Green Classroom' provides key stage 2 teachers with lesson plans and work books that use a range of key primary school subjects to teach the curriculum topic of water. You can download sections, or request copies of the booklet for your class.

The Green Classroom lesson plan - a series of nine lesson plans that use Science, Mathematics Citizenship, Geography, English, Art & Design and ICT

The Green Classroom work booklets - fun, colourful work booklets to use with your class as you work through the series of nine lessons

The Green Classroom certificate - we've created a certificate that commends pupils who have worked extra hard on this topic - download as many copies as you like

Below are all of our available water teaching resources especially for the teachers of Yorkshire. We have worked hard collating this information. We hope these make your lessons on water informative, engaging and fun for your pupils.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to order items for your lessons. Our contact details are provided below.

Click on the name of the pdf to view, download and print

The Green Classroom lesson plan - a series of nine lesson plans that use Science, Mathematics, Citizenship, Geography, English, Art & Design and ICT

The Green Classroom work booklets - fun, colourful work booklets to use with your class as you work through the series of nine lessons

The Green Classroom certificate - we've created a certificate that commends pupils who have worked extra hard on this topic - download as many copies as you like

Water Cycle Poster - to put up in your classroom

Water Treatment Poster - to put up in your classroom

How we treat waste water poster - for the classroom

Science Pack -  exciting water facts and fun, interactive experiments for pupils

Poo Power booklet - the materials can be used for class based work, home study, assembly preparation, extension activity and community outreach.

Pee-o-meter - tinkle test to assess hydration levels

The Royal National Lifeboat Institue - The charity’s volunteer crew provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations.

How to Order Resources

To order any of our resources above, please complete this form.

WaterAid teaching resources

WaterAid provide a host of resources to download and order. Click on the link below to connect to the WaterAid website and learn of the work we do with WaterAid.

WaterAid teaching resources

Water is one of nature's greatest gifts. It falls from the sky as rain before finding its way into rivers or sinking into the ground. Eventually it returns to the sea, where it evaporates, forming rain-clouds and the whole cycle starts again.

The water cycle is very important to us here at Yorkshire Water, as it enables us to provide two million homes and businesses in Yorkshire with fresh drinking water every day. Here you can find out more about how we make water work for you:

How we collect water

Considering the water cycle is truly a cycle, there's no real starting point, but if we had to pick somewhere to begin our exciting journey we'd probably say the sun.

Before we can extract the water from rivers, reservoirs and boreholes there are three main steps in the cycle - evaporation, condensation and precipitation:

Evaporation

The sun heats up the water from the oceans where it evaporates and rises into the air as water vapour. The vapour then rises into the earth's atmosphere, along with water transpired from plants and evaporation from the soil. Ask your pupils to think about what happens to a puddle when the sun comes out.

Condensation

As the water vapour rises, the colder temperatures cool the vapour so that it condenses to form water droplets in clouds. Clouds are formed when water droplets and pieces of dust join together in the atmosphere. If it's warm outside ask your pupils to think about why water forms on the outside of a glass when you pour cold water into it. If it's a cold day you could always ask them why water droplets appear on the inside of the window.

Precipitation

As the water vapour condenses the air can't hold it anymore so it falls back to earth as rain, sleet, snow or hail. The word precipitation comes from Latin and means "falling". Try asking your pupils to remember the name of this process the next time it rains.

Water treatment

A lot goes on at our water treatment works to make your water safe for drinking. The extent of the treatment varies depending on where we collect the water from - if it's from a borehole the water usually only requires minimal treatment, if it's from lowland river sources and upland reservoirs it will go through a tougher treatment process.

When water reaches our works it will normally go through the following stages to remove the "baddies":

Screening

The water passes through a huge metal strainer to remove debris like leaves and twigs.

Flocculation

Approved chemicals are added to act like a magnet for smaller impurities like dirt, natural colour and bacteria. The chemicals form a sort of jelly called floc.

We've developed an interactive guide to water treatment including cool sound effects and animations. Pupils can follow a gang of baddies on their doomed journey through the water treatment works.

Clarification

The floc has to be taken out of the water, so air is bubbled through the tanks to make the floc float to the surface to form a blanket, where it is scraped off. This process is called Dissolved Air Flotation or DAF for short. At some works that don't have DAF, the floc instead sinks to the bottom of the tanks and is taken away - this process is called sedimentation.

Filtration

The clarified water is passed through filters filled with layers of sand and gravel to remove any final traces of the floc and metals such as iron and manganese. These filters are cleaned regularly, every one to two days.

Ozonation

Ozone is a gas which is a powerful oxidant and is used at a few of our water treatment works. It is bubbled through the water to remove any traces of pesticides or similar compounds.

Granular Activated Carbon

Granular Activate Carbon is used in filter beds to remove the by-products of ozonation, as well as traces of any other substances which may also be found in the water.

Chlorination

Chlorine is then added to the water. This kills off any microbes that may still be present. A small amount of chlorine is left in the water as it travels to your home to ensure the water at your tap is of the highest possible quality.

We've only given you the basics of water treatment here. If you'd like to know more about how you can include this subject in your lesson plans, download our Science Pack - there are exciting water facts and fun, interactive experiments.

Water distribution

Having removed the "baddies" from the water we've collected it's now ready to be delivered to the homes, businesses and schools across Yorkshire.

We do this using our Yorkshire Grid which allows us to transfer water from one part of the region to another depending on where it's needed most. This means that, come rain or shine and wherever you are in Yorkshire, you can be assured that your water will always be on tap.

The grid also means that that the water your pupils drink at school has not necessarily come from the nearest source, it may have travelled several miles before it reaches them. Think of it like one giant water vending machine that never runs out of their favourite drink!

Collecting and treating waste water

How we treat Yorkshire's waste water

Getting water into your home and school is only half the story. Once it has been used, it's up to us to collect and treat Yorkshire's waste water and return it safely to the environment.

Collecting waste water

We have a network of around 20,000 miles of underground pipes, collecting the raw sewage from the region's homes, liquid waste from industry, and rainwater that falls on roofs and roads. After water's been used, it enters a waste pipe, travels into a drain, then into a sewer pipe that joins others to form something we call a trunk sewer.

Eventually it reaches one of over 600 waste water treatment works across the region where we improve the water before putting it back into the environment.

Treating waste water

At our treatment works the waste water goes through six key stages before it's good enough to be released into rivers and the sea:

1. Screening

We remove debris and large objects such as wood, rags, paper and plastics by passing the waste water through specially designed metal grids called screens.

2. Primary treatment

Sewage is transferred into large tanks called settlement tanks where most of the remaining solids sink to the bottom forming sewage sludge. The sludge can either be composted to improve soil quality, burned in an incinerator or digested by special bacteria to produce gas which can be burned to generate electricity - poo power as we like to call it.

Discover more about poopower in the classroom - download our guide to how human waste can help generate electricity. Key stages two and three.

3. Secondary treatment - stage one

The liquid sewage flows on to stage three which involves biological treatment. Here, the sewage is trickled over filters of stone containing billions of "goodie" micro-organisms which feed on the "baddies" and remove any organic pollutants.

4. Secondary treatment - stage two

Sometimes the sewage is mixed with the micro-organisms in a tank.  Oxygen is bubbled into the tank so that the "goodies" can breathe and go to work.

5. Final treatment

Finally, the sewage enters our settlement tanks where any remaining micro-organisms and sludge sink to the bottom. At coastal sites we also zap the waste water with ultra-violet light to kill of any surviving bacteria.

Returning water to local rivers and sea

It's important for our environment that the water we use is returned safely to the rivers and the sea. Many of our rivers are cleaner now than since the industrial revolution over 100 years ago. This is because we've been hard at work updating and modernising many of our waste water treatment plants in the region.

We also play a massive part in improving Yorkshire's coastal bathing waters thanks to a multimillion-pound investment in our waste water treatment in these areas.

To see how we're encouraging biodiversity and putting rivers back at the heart of communities in Yorkshire visit our Biodiversity page.

If you'd like to learn more about how we're helping keep Yorkshire's coastal waters clean, take a trip to the seaside.

Yorkshire Water’s ‘Big Wish for Ethiopia’ strives to deliver safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to those less fortunate, whilst educating customers and influencing stakeholders on the challenges faced by millions.

We have partnered with WaterAid Ethiopia on a 5-year project with the aim of;
 
- Raising £1 million to support projects in country

- Going beyond traditional volunteering, strengthening the capacity of the water sector in Ethiopia by sharing the skills and knowledge of our colleagues

- Delivering environmental education to young people across the Yorkshire region

- Influencing key stakeholders to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and champion global safe water

- Developing innovative ways of engaging customers, colleagues and challenging new ways of working in the corporate/charity partnership arena

- Strengthening our relationship with WaterAid by encompassing key goals into our strategic business objectives

Request a talk on our Big Wish for Ethiopia

We are delighted to offer schools and youth organisations the opportunity to have a free talk or workshop.

Using our Big Wish resources and utilising our knowledge of WaterAid, our dedicated speakers will come along to your school or youth group and tell you all about our Big Wish for Ethiopia and how we can all help to provide clean water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere.

We can come along and talk in your assembly, run a class workshop or support your Cub/Scout/Brownie/Guide evening with fun and engaging activities.

To request a speaker, please complete this form.

School and youth group resources

We've developed two resources, one for Schools and one for youth groups. You can download all these resources here:

- The Big Wish Youth Groups
- The Big Wish Schools
- The Big Wish Sponsorship Form
- Big Wish School Poster
- Lesson 1 slides
- Lesson 2 slides
- Assembly Slides
- Wishing well Templates
- Paying in form
- Fundraising Ideas
- Big Wish Sanitation Lesson Plan
- Big Wish Sanitation Presentation
- Big Wish Sanitation Worksheet 1
- Big Wish Sanitation Worksheet 2
- Big Wish Sanitations Statement Cards
- Soak It Up

You can also fundraise and donate via our dedicated JustGiving page.

Case Study - Introducing Mekedelawit

14 year old Mekedelawit is a grade 7 pupil and WASH club member at Bruh Tesfa Primary School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the slum area that the school is in 25% of the population are disabled; this school has WASH facilities for both disabled and non-disabled students.

Mekedelawit is an ambassador for hygiene education. "Our club's primary role is to keep the school clean, and to teach students how to be clean. I was selected because I am a good communicator."

Her favourite subject is English and when she grows up she wants to be a pilot.

Mekedelawit talks about the impact the WASH facilities have had on the health of her and her fellow students:

"Before the construction of the latrines and water provision, children got sick. But now we have these facilities and knowledge about how to use these latrines we do not get sick."

"I want to say thank you to everyone who was involved in the construction of the water and sanitation facilities."

Our School Linking Programme

Want to make a big difference?  Why not sign up to our School Linking programme?

Bring learning to life with WaterAid

Could your school raise £1,000 for WaterAid this academic year? Take on the challenge and follow the journey of schoolchildren in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Nepal as their schools receive clean water and toilets for the first time.

Through updates, talks, photos and films, WaterAid's Schools Linking project will show the challenges children face and the transformation that water and toilets bring - helping your pupils to think global and act local to help some of the world's poorest people.

By joining Schools Linking, your school will receive;

Termly updates from schools in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Nepal
Classroom talks or workshops from a local trained WaterAid storyteller
Your starter pack and fundraising materials
Curriculum linked teaching materials
Plus the chance to share a letter with a chosen school!

To learn more please get in touch by completing this form.

We'd love to hear from you!

Yorkshire Water is pleased to support WaterAid in their charity partnership with The Scout Association.

We’re delighted that  ‘A Million Hands’ will help mobilise half a million Scouts in supporting the Everyone, Everywhere campaign to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation.

We’d like to encourage all the Scouts in Yorkshire to work together on this important issue and we’ve provided some information below on how we can support you:

What activities can we get involved in?

Big Wish Educational Resources

Take a look at our Big Wish youth engagement programme.  There’s an activity plan, powerpoint presentations, fundraising activities, paying in forms and money box templates to help you on your way.  There’s something for everyone whether it be Beavers, Cubs, Scouts or Explorers.

Teachers Resources

Have a look at our schools resources, download some posters, do the water audit in our Green classroom activity booklet, or learn about poo power!

Speakers

We offer a free speakers service which is delivered by volunteers across the business.  Talks can cover the work of Yorkshire Water, or WaterAid & our Big Wish campaign. You can request a speaker using this request form.

Educational Visits

Our educational visits programme is aimed at schools and therefore we don’t generally offer free sessions for group visits during the evening, at weekends or during the holidays.

Sessions can be arranged at our sites at Headingley Water Treatment Works (Leeds), Ewden Waste Water Treatment Works (Sheffield) and Tophill Low Nature Reserve (Driffield) but there would be a charge to cover staff costs. To make enquiries please complete this form.  

What can you do for your scout huts?

Why not order a FREE water saving pack and you could shave money off the utility bill for your Scout hut, community centre or church?

If you’re doing activities on water usage, why not encourage your friends and family to order a pack and also check out our top tips for saving water.

What can you do for your local community?

Coffee mornings are a great way to get together with your community. This could also be an opportunity to encourage others to sign up for a FREE water saving pack which includes clever devices to help you save money in your home.

Everyone needs their car washing – why not tell people about the importance of saving water by having a Car Wash using buckets and not water hoses?  Ask for a donation to WaterAid for this great service and see how much you can raise! For any more help and advice, head to Yorkshire Water today.

When our Education Team aren’t busy delivering sessions at our education centres, we occasionally have availability to come into school and deliver outreach sessions.

We also have access to a number of volunteers who love delivering talks and workshops about the fantastic work WaterAid does to improve access to clean water and sanitation in developing countries.

Booking an outreach programme for Key Stage 2

Should you be unable to visit one of our fantastic education centres, we may be able to come to you instead!

What we can offer will depending on our availability, but ideally, we would come into school for the full day.

Please note we are unlikely to have availability for ‘assembly only’ requests unless it is for a WaterAid talk.

We will start with offering a 30 minute whole school assembly increasing awareness of the work done by Water Aid and can follow this with up to four one-hour workshops.

In a workshop, individual classes of up to 35 students will find out more about your chosen topic, supported by two of our experienced education advisers. An hour is the ideal length of time to deliver the content at a relaxed pace, but we are happy to work with your school timetable. We can offer double workshops across a morning or afternoon session, but you may find in this case a visit to one of our centres will be more informative. Please specify which workshop(s) you are interested in when booking.

Facilities required for our workshops: Interactive whiteboard/projector, pens & paper, water or handwashing facilities (can be outside the classroom).

Water Aid

By the end of this workshop, students will know about the importance of having access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. They will have learned about alternative methods of sewage disposal and had the opportunity to make a toilet in their classroom! They will know about the importance of handwashing and will have had the chance to practice good handwashing techniques. They will be encouraged to think about ways in which they can increase their own responsibility when it comes to their personal water use.

The Water Cycle

During this workshop we will cover the water cycle and changing state.  Students will learn about the work that Yorkshire Water does; make a water cycle in a bag and be encouraged to think about ways in which they can be responsible with their own water usage.

Making water safe to drink

In this workshop, we demonstrate the stages that raw water has to go through in order to make it safe to drink. Students will see how flocculation works, observe flotation through ‘raisin races’, and have a go at filtering a dirty water sample. They will consider the cost of water and discuss water conservation. It would be helpful if students were familiar with the water cycle before the workshop.

Can we flush it?

This workshop addresses the waste water treatment process (from the sewers to the sea). Students will learn about things that should be flushed down the toilet (the ‘3Ps’!); will think about the effects of putting things into the sewers that should not be there; and will investigate what happens when we flush wipes. Students will sort common waste items and discuss the effect of plastics on the environment. It would be helpful if students were familiar with the water cycle before the workshop.

Careers/safety

By the end of this workshop, students will have learned about the water cycle and the work done by Yorkshire Water. Through role-play and dressing up, children will think about careers within Yorkshire Water, and how they can stay safe around road works and reservoirs.

To request an outreach session – please first check that we have availability by clicking here.

Then book your visit using this form or the one on the availability link.

Request a talk on our Big Wish for Ethiopia

We are delighted to offer schools and youth organisations the opportunity to have a free talk or workshop.

Using our Big Wish resources and utilising our knowledge of WaterAid, our dedicated speakers will come along to your school or youth group and tell you all about our Big Wish for Ethiopia and how we can all help to provide clean water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere.

We can come along and talk in your assembly, run a class workshop or support your Cub/Scout/Brownie/Guide evening with fun and engaging activities.

To request a speaker, please complete this form.