outstanding outdoor spaces

New Delaval Primary School, Northumberland

Andrew Miller, Deputy Headteacher at New Delaval Primary School, explains how the installation of new playground equipment has not only transformed the outdoor area in their new school, but has also helped to achieve part of the school’s goal of providing the six areas of learning outdoors for the Foundation Stage.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
We had the opportunity to develop our playground facilities as we moved into a newly built school in September 2009. The children had also expressed their disappointment at the lack of playground equipment compared to their old school grounds and were getting bored at playtime. To tackle this we began to plan the development of the new outdoor area!

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
Playforce stood out from the other contractors from the start. We met representatives at the Education Show in Birmingham and were very impressed. We were also impressed with our local Outdoor Grounds Consultant as he listened to what we wanted and discussed our needs with us, rather than telling us what we should have! Playforce were also very competitive with the price and worked with us to help us achieve what we wanted rather than being inflexible. The Playforce installation team was also second to none!
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The greatest benefits are that the children now have something to keep them occupied at playtimes, and this has helped to reduce the behavioral incidents that had been occurring at these times.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
The Octagonal Shelter has been used as an outdoor classroom and the Reception children are using the Water Play Basin for water play on a regular basis. The Fitness Trail with Swinging Logs and Hanging Rope Traverse has been well-used at playtimes and lunchtimes and we have had various different activities on the Fitness Trail where children can compete against each other or against the clock.
What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The greatest benefits are that the children now have something to keep them occupied at playtimes, and this has helped to reduce the behavioral incidents that had been occurring at these times. The Water Play Basin has helped the Foundation Stage to achieve part of their goal of achieving provision of the six areas of learning outside. The Octagonal Shelter has also provided a dry and secure outdoor learning base from which we can base a wealth of outdoor lessons across all of our age groups. Neither staff or pupils can imagine how we managed without the playground equipment!
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