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Partners through rain and shine;Business Links

A joint weather-monitoring project is generating much fervour, writes Allen Edwards

A hands-on environmental science project is giving primary children a fascinating insight into Britain's weather. Thousands of children throughout the United Kingdom are taking part in the Weather Reports Project, run by PowerGen, which sponsors ITV's weather forecast.

Powergen gave weather monitoring instruments and material to 250 schools in the 11 regions surrounding its main operating centres in December. Teachers were also briefed and given teaching materials. At the end of the 1997-98 school year, the school deemed to have used the equipment most effectively will win a pound;5,000 Meteosat system, giving direct access to weather satellite transmissions.

The project has been developed by the business group Understanding British Industry supported by local education business partnerships and Business in the Community.

Potters Green Primary School, Coventry, is one of 14 schools taking part in the Midlands. Deputy head Pete Watts says the school has benefited enormously.

Around 250 seven to 11-year-olds at the school are involved. Children take measurements and the figures are entered on the school's computer. Children are comparing the weather at Potters Green, on the city's northern edge with data from two other primaries, one monitoring conditions at a nearby country park and the other at the city's outdoor activity centre in north Wales.

Mr Watts says the instruments have given children a wealth of information. Pupils enjoy comparing conditions across the region - seeing rain move across the country, for instance. They are also learning how various types of weather affect the demand for power.

"The children's interest was apparent even before we started taking measurements. This is a lovely example of education and industry working together," he says.

PowerGen plans to repeat the scheme in the 1998-99 school year. For details, tel: 01203 424292

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