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Reading Non-Fiction: Class Lifesaving

Worksheet Overview

In an English exam you will usually read a news article.

We are going to look at an article and then practise analysis of its contents in this worksheet.

Read the article until you feel that you have fully understood it.

The article is about an event. While you are reading think about the following pieces of information about the event:

  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who is involved?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What did people think about it?
  • What is the author's attitude to the topic?


Class Lifesaving

“I’m drowning, help me!” a twelve-year-old girl shouts to her friend. Fortunately, the friend knows that he must instantly call an RNLI lifeguard who rushes to the scene, ready to assist.

Happily, the incident is not in real life on a beach. In reality, we’re miles away from the sea in an inner-city school where the young people are role-playing scenes as part of the RNLI’s Beach to City project.

The project is based in urban regions and is intended to teach children who don’t live by the sea. The lifeguards tour such areas to educate primary school pupils about the hazards of the seaside and teach them to protect themselves from trouble. Those children living far from the coast in towns and cities have been identified as a higher risk group who are less aware of the RNLI’s work.

Each team in the Beach to City project consists of an acting RNLI lifeguard and a beach safety supervisor. The task is not easy. Within 40 minutes they must put across key safety messages for the beach that the children will absorb. The sessions are intended to be enjoyable and memorable with plenty of role-playing and new equipment to handle. The sessions start with an introduction to the RNLI charity and the lifeguard service. The pupils learn where the lifeguards can be found and how to identify them. Beach safety messages come next: firstly, protection against the sun (wear a T-shirt, don a hat, splat on the sun cream); secondly, beach flags and what they mean. A few children have significant knowledge of the flag system, though some think the red flag means there’s a shark about, not just dangerous waters! Toy inflatable boats represent a real threat to beach users that sharks don’t, and the Beach to City project provides a guideline on their use as a key message. “In North Cornwall there are many days where most of our work involves saving children in drifting inflatables,” says Brian Worth, a beach safety supervisor.

The sessions also cover the use of public rescue equipment (PRE), particularly in cities such as Birmingham which has many canals. Teaching respect for equipment such as life-rings, throw lines and emergency communications is as important as knowing how to use it. In London, the Beach to City project visited 30 schools to deliver PRE advice to children.

In 2014 the RNLI Education Team plans to expand to a fifth city on the project tour; they hope to add further cities in the years to come.


Now answer the questions about the article. You can refer back to this page at any time by pressing the 'Help' button.

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