Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


At St. James’ primary school, we want all children at our school to play happily together, regardless of disability. Our project aims to install several pieces of new play equipment that are accessible and will enable inclusive play for all.

There are an increasing number of children in our school community with special educational and physical needs. In fact, 11% of our pupils have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The needs of these children are fully catered for in the classroom, but when they go into the playground they can only watch on as their friends climb all over the existing wooden playground equipment and have fun. Yet if we install a few pieces of accessible equipment, all the children will be able to interact and play together. We believe that all children have the right to play in a safe and inclusive environment and our project is about making it happen as soon as possible.

Experience of outdoor play is essential for all children and it helps with a multitude of areas for child development as well as physical development, emotional, mental health and well-being. An added bonus is that these benefits appear to be long term. Within our community, we have a large and growing number of children who would benefit from being able to integrate with their peers through outdoor play.

These are some of the conditions our children are dealing with: wheelchair or walker dependent, balance and physical coordination restrictions, as well as children who have emotional, social and mental health and included in that are children with anxiety and anger management. Children diagnosed under the autistic spectrum and those with sensory needs. Children with hearing impairment, pupils with attention and focus difficulties, others with an auditory processing disorder and many children have an Educational Health Care Plan.

We have our eye on new equipment that will be accessible for those in wheelchairs and walkers that will enable them to strengthen their upper bodies through playing with interactive outdoor equipment. For those pupils with sensory needs, other activities that will improve coordination, require the development of skills and will encourage teamwork with their fellow classmates.

The new play equipment will be made accessible for all children as we want to foster an environment of inclusion right from the day they join the school.

St. James’ School is in the heart of Emsworth, a vibrant coastal community of over 10,000 people, and it has 240 pupils on the role. The St. James’ Association, is the registered charity of the Parents who fundraise across the year for educational experiences and equipment for the children.

In addition to the pupils, the school buildings are used by the wider community. For example, community youth groups, such as the Brownies who use the school hall for their weekly meetings, and would also benefit from access to the new playground equipment. As will other local families who participate in St. James’ ‘open days’ when the grounds are open for special functions and fetes. This project enhances the experience of our children, who in turn provide so much enrichment to the community.

Whilst over several years we could raise the money to buy the specialist play equipment, we are applying for funding now as the need is more urgent as each day a child is excluded from joining in, the more isolated those children will become and the harder it will become for them feel fully part of the school.

This project is all about enabling our children to enjoy playing outdoors together and where no child is excluded from joining in. We want our children to learn to respect each other, to acknowledge their differences and value each other as individuals out in the playground as well as in the classroom. Finally, and most importantly, we want them to all have fun playing and learning together through inclusive play for all.

The St. James' Association

St. James' Primary School is a lovely school that puts the safety and well-being of its pupils as a priority. The School goes out of its way to ensure that every child, regardless of the complexity of their needs, is gently nurtured and included in all activities so that they thrive at school.

Location: Emsworth