Play and Learning Transformed at All Saints
October 27, 2015
All Saints school in Leek has transformed its outdoor environment after a refurbishment has given pupils and children of the community access to enriched resources that promote play, learning and the development of social skills.
Having grown significantly over the last 20 years and with its pupil numbers trebling, the extensive development has not only created more space for the number of children onsite, but has improved the school’s outdoor provision with emphasis on children’s educational needs and their health and safety. Completed by Sovereign Play Equipment, the project has provided a range of new outdoor learning areas, play facilities and equipment to encourage sport activities for use in curriculum time, social time and after-school.
“This was an inspiring project that was led by the views of parents, pupils, and staff, as well as the local community and local church,” comments Darran Hine, Sales Director at Sovereign. “The school was keen on expanding its provision in a unique way and after careful consideration, decided on creating a series of ‘pod-like’ areas for pupils to benefit from, and engage in, a range of outdoor learning activities.”
“We worked closely with the school to turn their ideas into reality – from designing and developing drawings, to selecting, manufacturing and installing the equipment. The result was an imaginative series of ‘pods’ and play structures, installed on the outskirts of the field, wrapping around the school building to make best use of the space. Each ‘pod’ has been developed with its own bespoke theme, together with a number of play structures and learning areas that give pupils access to a range of activities and play equipment tailored to different educational needs.”
Made up of an assortment of pods and play and learning facilities, the carefully selected equipment aids and supports the development of children’s social and physical skills, while supporting educational learning and areas of the National Curriculum. The project has created more usable outside space for children to learn and be active, allowing them to play safely across a total of 10 new areas installed by Sovereign, all connected by paths made from non-slip safety surfacing. The increase in space and addition of new equipment provides more scope for outdoor lessons, play time, after school and holiday club activities.
“Our outside development project was very different, and we needed a company to bring our unusual ideas to life. That’s why we chose Sovereign,” comments Liz Allbutt, Headteacher at All Saints’ CE(A) First School. “Our project manager, Darran, took our sketches and turned them into a brilliant, multi-use, outside space, where the children can learn, socialise, develop sporting skills and even find somewhere to quietly reflect. Its pod design allows us to expand the space over future years. Darran helped us through the whole process, from designing and planning to the finished article. It has transformed learning outdoors, and we love it!”
Among the series of pods is a ‘spiritual pod’, providing children with a peaceful area to be calm and quiet, as well as a sundial pod, complete with a number of mosaic floor tiles created by the children to offer space to learn about angles, time and shadows, counting and sporting games. Facilities also include a large decking area complete with outdoor easel, weaving panel and chalk board activity panels, an outdoor classroom for learning outside the classroom and an adventure trail and a physical play tower to promote active play. Improvements have also been made to the school’s EYFS playground with the addition of colourful playground markings. All equipment was installed on all-weather surfacing, so that they could be accessed at all times of year, without children getting muddy.
Darran concludes: “The school environment has now been completely transformed – All Saints now benefits from an enriched environment that provides endless opportunities for play and learning outdoors.”