outstanding outdoor spaces

Withymoor Primary School, Staffordshire

Mrs Harper, Headteacher at Withymoor Primary School in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, tells us how a new playground has helped to promote better behaviour at playtime.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We wanted to enhance the play experience of Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children in particular, as well as their strength and co-ordination. We wanted our outdoor space to provide opportunities for co-operative play/turn taking and to provide shaded seating for playtimes and for use as an outdoor classroom.

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

The Playforce website and brochure was user-friendly and helpful. Coupled with the presentation of the proposed play area, this helped us to visualise the finished product more readily. The relationship with our Outdoor Grounds Consultant was also key in helping us to communicate our needs and ultimately end up with a playground which not only meets our needs but excites the pupils.
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By far the biggest benefit is that we now have fewer behaviour incidents at playtime because children are more engaged in productive play.

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

Our Octagonal Shelter has been used on numerous occasions as an outdoor classroom and the pupils thoroughly enjoy getting out of the classroom to learn in a different environment. At playtimes, the Limes Tower Unit keeps the more active children occupied with role play games whilst the Hexagonal Tree Seat provides the perfect place for pupils to sit and socialise.

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

By far the biggest benefit is that we now have fewer behaviour incidents at playtime because children are more engaged in productive play.

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

Adequate supervision is required when the children use the equipment, which of course is not rocket science! It’s also important, if you’re installing musical and noisy equipment to consider the neighbours when planning their location. The last thing you want is to have to relocate such a lovely addition to the playground.
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