Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

Blue Coat is a school that is passionate about every child’s entitlement to rich and rewarding outdoor play experiences! We believe that play is an essential ingredient of children’s development in becoming healthy, happy and stimulated young people. Over the last 2 years, Blue Coat has been supported and driven by its community in becoming a ‘play hub’, exemplifying the power of play to parents, the wider community, academic institutions and local schools. Our mission is simple: to put play on the map in the South-west region so that other schools can lead and learn from our experiences and practice.
We have changed our practice and policies and begun to develop our site for more inspiring, inclusive opportunities in outdoor play. Early efforts have increased happiness levels and inclusion and significantly reduced behaviour issues, and we were thrilled to receive early recognition by being awarded a National Playwork Award in 2015. We hold an OPAL Platinum play award, have a growing network of supporters via social media, and the school’s Play Coordinator has recently been shortlisted as an Inspiring Educator in the Outstanding Contribution to Learning Outside the Classroom awards.
Our proposal seeks to build on this success and learning. We aim to create active, adventure play opportunities for all 320 pupils (4-11 years), plus their families and local children from our rural town of Wotton-under-Edge. We are the largest primary school in the area and will open up the site as a community Play Hub, welcoming young people from Wotton and hosting CPD visits from other schools.
We will develop areas of the school site that are out-of-bounds or that currently have low play value, thus maximising space for play, and creating greater diversity.
The project focuses on active, child-led play activities that have multiple benefits, including:
- increased access to the outdoors and closer connection to nature
- increased activity levels, reducing negative health impacts e.g. obesity
- opportunities to develop social skills, including team work, negotiation and conflict management
- free-play opportunities that lead to mental health improvement, including stress relief, ‘sense of self’ and self-esteem
- opportunities for young people to manipulate challenging environments. Feelings of achievement and pleasure are identified as key factors for developing resilience.
Key features of this project are:
Den-gineering area
– a flat, featureless area of the school field will be transformed into a construction zone for dens and teepees, using loose wood, tarpaulins, and ropes. This space will be supported by some outdoor storage.
Gravel dig-pit
- in an ‘out-of-bounds’ corner of the playground, a large ‘raised bed’ style loose gravel and stone pit will be created for digging, dumper trucks and construction site ‘small world’ play
Pop-up Scooter park
- a selection of scooters and temporary ramps will transform the MUGA tarmac playground into a skate park. Helmets will support safe play.
Swing and Hang zone
- a relaxed, social area, incorporating swinging, climbing and balancing. Hammocks and a slack-line will be strapped to existing trees on the field. A large scramble net provides space and height for climbing and sitting. Circular bench seating makes a great social space for larger groups and gathering together at special events.
The new play areas and features will be accessible to Blue Coat pupils every day during break and lunch times. Additionally, the school’s Play Coordinator will deliver a programme of special events, enabling access out-of-school hours, e.g. before and after school (e.g. ‘Stay and Play’), during holidays (e.g. Family Play Days) and though special events booked by community groups (e.g. Beaver Scouts, Brownie Guides). This will ensure best value for money and that the Play Hub is accessed by many local children and their families who live in Wotton under Edge and the surrounding villages.

Blue Coat Church of England Primary School Parent Teacher Association

Moment of Pride

We are proud to be passionate about play! We believe play is vital for the healthy development of all children. We are proud to work together with the whole school community to provide outdoor play opportunities for young people in our school and to welcome the wider community to our Play Hub.

Location: Wotton-under-Edge