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Thames Pollution Affects Boat Race – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

image of Thames Pollution Affects Boat Race – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News
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An Oxford University rower taking part in the 2024 Boat Race complained there was “poo in the water” and claimed his crew became sick during training. Rowers were among those told not to go in the water and to cover blisters after high levels of E coli bacteria were found in the water by pressure group River Action. Thames Water said improving river health was a “key focus” for the company.


Our rivers are so filthy that they’re making rowers sick. Isn’t it time that the government took over the water companies? Isn’t our water supply too important to leave in the hands of business people? Were we wrong to think that people running water companies for profit would lead to improved sewage systems? Or do government-run organisations always fail? Won’t water and sewage services always lose out to health and education when it comes to funding? Don’t these private companies just need more persuasion to do a better job? What do you think?

Writing skills

Pooh sticks was famously a favourite pastime of Winnie the Pooh. If you don’t know this game, find out what it involves and then write a set of instructions for playing it. Remember to include a brief introduction, a ‘What you need’ section and numbered steps featuring imperative verbs and sequencing adverbs.


Write a narrative extract that features a dialogue between two ducks on one of our rivers. Make one of them a duckling and the other an older one who has heard tales of when the waters were clean and fresh. Remember to use accurate speech punctuation and synonyms for ‘said’ that convey how the two ducks are feeling.


Why is a boat race between two universities such a big deal? Investigate the history of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race and write a fact file comprising at least five brief, interesting points about it.

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