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Curwen Primary School


Water Sports & Activities

Curwen Primary has had the opportunity to attend the London Watersports Regatta Centre for their PE lessons. Year 5 got the chance to sail and canoe down the River Thames with glorious scenery to admire London’s skyline.  These sessions have enabled the pupils to learn how to sail and canoe, how to sail in open water and how to assemble their boats. They have been able to work independently and together as a group. They have all been able to successfully complete their qualification during their time at the London Watersports Centre. It is safe to say that both the staff and pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves cannot wait to get back. All children and staff were given buoyancy aids for health and safety, therefore, if people have fallen in, this will keep them afloat in the water.

Also see our latest Gallery for pictures of the event, click here.


Canoeing is a paddle sport in which you kneel or sit facing forward in an open or closed-decked canoe, and propel yourself with a single bladed-paddle using your own power to move the boat. The boat consists of 2 people, one at the back and one at the front. This is to balance the boat out. It requires a lot of team work and arm power to maneuver the boat across the Thames, especially when it is very windy. The children learned about the different parts of a boat and the different ways you can move. For instance, if you are facing the side of the boat and the paddle is brought towards you, the boat will move sideways. It was a fantastic opportunity to try something new with amazing views.


Sailing was another paddle sport that the year 5s learned throughout their time at the London Regatta Centre. They have learned the names of the different parts of the boat, how to move it along the water and how to speed up or slow down. The boat travels along the water from the wind onto the sails. These sails help the boat to go fast or to slow down. No paddle is needed to manoeuvre the boat. By changing the rigging, rudder, and sometimes the keel or centreboard, the children can manage to change the force of the wind on the sails in order to move the boat. Sailing requires 1-2 people with a lot of teamwork. If the boat is unbalanced and the sail is on the wrong side, the boat can capsize. Year 5 thoroughly enjoyed this paddle sport and became experts by the end of their sessions.

What have we learned 

During their time at the watersports, year 5 has learned how to work as a team not only on land but also out on the River Thames. They have learned how to sail 2 different types of boat s with the help of their teachers and the instructors at the Regatta Centre. Confidence, fears and teamwork have all been vastly improved, especially for those who were scared of the water beforehand. By using their initiative, the children have been able to solve their problems. For example, if the boat was sailing in another direction away from the group, the children were able to make quick decisions in order to get back on course. The experience has been amazing for the children to have learned all of these skills which can be used in school and at home.


Due to weather conditions or other events that were taking place at the Regatta Centre, the children were also able to try out other paddle sports which laid a few challenges ahead for them. For sailing, rather than going into the dinghy boats, they were able to sail a much bigger boat that could fit more people. These boats are harder to sail as there are 2 sails that need controlling. Through determination, the children sailed the boat comfortably.

Bell boating was the next paddle sport they were able to try out. The Bell Boat gives those taking part a greater understanding of teamwork, individual strengths and co-operation.This consists of 2 boats joined together that fit 6-8 people. The challenge with Bell Boating involved the children to have coordination and to paddle at the same time. By paddling at the same time, the boat can sail across the water much faster and much smother. At the end it was a race to the finish line with every boat for themselves. By learning and understanding the other skills that are needed for sailing and canoeing, the children were able to use these for the Bell Boating and the sailing of the much bigger boat.

The last challenge the children faced was to make a pyramid with the other boats. This involved the children and the instructors to put the boats on top of each other and sail away together as a group rather than individual boats. This required strength, confidence, power and organisation skills from everyone. By successfully mounting the boats on top of each other, they sailed away as a group perfectly. Those at the bottom of the boat had to put in a lot of effort to move the boat along the river. All the skills they had previously learned were now needed to complete this challenge

Who did fall in? 

There were many children that fell within the Thames. All the children survived but were very wet and cold. During certain weather conditions the dinghy boats fell because of the winds. This is because if the sails are on the wrong side and the boat is unbalanced, the boat fall sideways into the water. As for the canoers, the children fell in by also losing their balance or by hitting another boat. However, all the children were still smiling and laughing even if they were soaking wet and cold. Those that fell in are as follows: Uzma, Mitchell, Noshin, Nawal, Delphin, Mashbi, Jumma, Jenisha. However, they did come up smiling!

Comments from year 5 

The whole of year 5 thoroughly enjoyed their time at watersports. It has given them an opportunity to broaden their understanding and knowledge of watersports. Furthermore, they have developed their social and wellbeing skills, as well as overcoming their personal fears. Their confidence, organisation has also improved because of this.  Below are some of the comments that year 5 have stated about their time at watersports:

'I would recommend this is everyone because I was able to learn new skills!' - Liedson and Jenisha 5w

'You get to learn lots of new and different skills that you didn’t know before' - Aliyeah and Harry 5W

Overall this has been a fantastic experience for not only the students at Curwen Primary but for the staff as well. We hope to carry this on next year and continue our partnership with the London Youth Rowing club and The Regatta Centre.