Regent’s Canal lock gets seal of approval as an outdoor classroom

Divers inspecting Old Ford Lock [Picture: James Treasure]

Divers inspecting Old Ford Lock [Picture: James Treasure] - Credit: Canal & Rivers Trust

Canals in east London are being used as outdoor ‘classrooms’ teaching youngsters about the heritage of the waterways.

Now the Regent’s Canal in Limehouse has been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for “providing fantastic educational visits for local schools”.

The visits are run by the Canal & River Trust, which has been working on canal improvements recently at Old Ford Lock (pictured).

“Limehouse being awarded the badge is a real testament to the work our education volunteers do,” the Canal Trust’s Annette Simpson said. “School trips are among the most memorable experiences in a child’s life which make youngsters as passionate about the waterways as we are.”

The “outdoor classroom” scheme is linked to the National Curriculum to teach children about the waterways and how to enjoy them safely.

The programme has trained education volunteers running activities for schools and youth groups, involving science and technology.

The Quality Badge awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is a national standard that lets teachers know the sessions are educational and safe.

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Elaine Skates, from the educational organisation, said: “The Quality Badge offers a guarantee that the venue provides educational value teachers can build on in class long after the visit and also has the risk management structures in place.”

The work being carried out at Old Ford Lock involves divers inspecting what improvements are needed, while the lock remains open for boats to pass through. The divers were examining a paddle rod, which is the part of the lock that allows boaters to open and close ‘paddles’ on the lock gate which let water in and out to raise the level of the lock itself.