Health and wellbeing

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Harpenden Academy (originally Harpenden Free School) first opened its doors in 2012. The school started with 7 students in a barn, before sharing space with another school, and then finally securing its permanent home in 2015. The school’s current site is made up of two distinct buildings - on the lower level, a lovely graded building (once the town’s library and previously a schoolhouse), for our reception and KS1 students and on the upper level; a modern extension, which houses our KS2 students. The buildings are joined by a reception area, which leads out into our playground - the area of space between the two buildings. Whilst beautiful, the site was actually not the first choice of location - this is because it is in the centre of the town and has limited outdoor space.

Not only is the space limited but since the children moved into the school in 2015, there have been many issues with this outside space. The area was dominated by a large ‘mound’ covered by Astroturf, which essentially looked like a large hill in the centre of the playground. This structure was put in place to support the upper level of the school and underneath the Astroturf cover, lay a mound of rubble. Whilst the children enjoyed running up and down this area, it was considered unsafe by the ESA and out of bounds for much of the academic year 2016-2017. After over a year of discussion, between the school, the ESA, Builders, Designers, Architects, Engineers and many others, we finally saw the mound safely removed and a previously lacking, retaining wall put in its place.

The children now have access to a relatively large space, which was concreted within the ESA’s budget. It’s larger for the children to run around and play sports but it is uninspiring to say the least. The large grey wall, which stands in the place of the Astroturf’ed mound, dominates the playground.

There are plans a foot for a small amount of playground design / equipment - these have on hold since 2015 and our supportive, determined PTA and parents have been hard at work raising funds to support this initiative. But no-one, until we turned up at school on the first day, really considered the impact the imposing, large, grey wall would have. With money tight and an expensive project to complete, the wall is not, at the moment a consideration. As a parent of the school and as current Chair of our PTA I am hopeful I can add my weight to this project through the support of the AVIVA community fund.

A budget of £1000 will allow for the design and implementation of a long-lasting mural, which will not only brighten up the playground we have waited so long for, but will allow the school community (children, teachers and parents) to work together to design and complete a project which epitomises our togetherness, perseverance and determination.

What may seem small to others, represents a huge leap forward for our school.


Moment of Pride

Everything about the school, its PTA and its community makes me proud. We are driven to provide the best for our children, seek to do things differently and have worked together to overcome many challenges - with the children's happiness, learning and growth at the forefront of everything we do.

Location: Harpenden