outstanding outdoor spaces

Bishop Tachbrook School, Warwickshire

The children at Bishop Tachbrook School had visions of a new playground that would allow them to play together and enjoy their break times, even on those dreaded rainy days. Headteacher, Andy Brettell shares his experience of how the school’s partnership with Playforce has allowed these children to realise their dreams and become part of the design process for their fantastic new outdoor area.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

A year ago, we didn’t have a lot of provision for play in our playground. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to develop our school grounds, we decided that the playground was the most important place to start.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?

Having been impressed by previous installations at other schools, we decided to contact Playforce. As the market leader, with a good reputation for trouble-free installations, Playforce were the natural choice for us.
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So far the biggest benefit we’ve seen for the children is that the new surface means that even on really wet days when the grass has to be off-limits, children can still use the new equipment – which of course they are delighted with!

How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?

The installation forms part of a trail leading around the school grounds which incorporates an orchard, a wildflower meadow, a meditation garden and further play equipment. This exciting new addition to our grounds is an important tool to enable us to deliver outdoor learning and educational play for our children. Incorporating the natural environments of the orchard and wildflower meadow alongside the more active play equipment also allows our pupils to observe the seasonal changes in their environment whilst of course having lots of fun! The Tangle Tree Climber, in particular, has been a big hit with the children, and the All Weather Safer Impact Surfacing ensures that it doesn’t hurt if they fall.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?

So far the biggest benefit we’ve seen for the children is that the new surface means that even on really wet days when the grass has to be off-limits, children can still use the new equipment – which of course they are delighted with!

Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?

We involved the whole school in the planning and design process and so the children now recognise that the finished outdoor area meets their project specification. By listening to our pupils we have created a design which avoids the children queuing up for their turn on the equipment during their playtime and the children can access the apparatus from all sides. This was a specific requirement of the school council and we have since seen that it clearly works in practice too!
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