The origins of this pack are interesting. It was stimulated by "numerous requests from geography teachers and students for information and case studies".
Responding to all these must be very labour-intensive, and it must have appeared to make more sense to produce a single, ambitiously comprehensive resource which would field most anticipated A-level queries.
I'd be surprised if it makes Thames Water's education team redundant, however, as the pack necessarily deals with the whole basin from Cirencester to Dartford and Guildford to Banbury. Many A-level groups will want to examine more localised supply and conservation issues.
Its eight A4 booklets cover water sources and use patterns, the climatic and geological contexts, management issues, planning future supply and quality control. There is a section on the international dimension; TW must be relieved to have selected Turkey, not Indonesia, for its case study. A very professional Teacher's Guide (with detailed summaries of how the material supports six different A-level syllabuses) and a student decision-making exercise complete the sequence. Any subsequent edition might consider more and better maps, with scales and accurate keys.
But one shouldn't look gift horses in the mouth, especially those clearly ridden by teachers, not Thames Water PR people. This substantial resource is free to secondary schools within the TW area, initially on attendance at one of six university-based seminars to be held this summer. For schools outside the TW area, the pack will cost pound;20.
Further information from Phil Harris, education adviser, Thames Water, Gainsborough House, Manor Farm Road, Reading RG2 0JN. Tel: 0118 959 3396. Michael Storm is chair of the Geographical Association's international committee