outstanding outdoor spaces

St Andrews St Marks CE Junior School

St Andrews & St Marks CE Junior School in Surbiton, near Kingston-upon-Thames, won a Gold Healthy Schools Award last year and was further recognised for their work towards all children having a healthy mind and body with the Active Kingston Healthy School of the Year award in 2019. We talked to Playforce consultant Tom,  about their recent playground redevelopment and how this contributed.
Why did they want to develop your playground?

The school values are Believe, Achieve and Succeed - and they underpin everything they do. The problem was they felt their outdoor space was really letting the children down. There were lots of problems with rotten and broken equipment caused by a combination of bad maintenance, over the years, as well as wear-and-tear. The children weren’t able to use a lot of this old and outdated equipment and the school decided something needed to be done. 
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The zones we proposed really worked for them - in particular the active area and the role play zone. They particularly loved the idea of embedding the three values in the colourful Wetpour surfacing. Tom Dean, Outdoor Grounds Consultant
How are they using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?

They wanted a space that would really embody (and promote) their values - not only delivering zoned areas for different activities, but that would help them to demonstrate how the school values could be taken into different areas of childrens’ lives. The children use each of the zones for different things, whether that’s active and role-play or mark-making. There are quiet areas for them to sit and for teachers to take lessons outside, but there are also spaces for performance and assembly. 
Why did the use Playforce?

They involved the children in the appointment process - it is, after all, their playground. They asked all the companies to do a proposal and the children voted on the one they wanted. They told us they particularly loved the Zip Wire, we proposed, but it wasn’t just that. The zones we proposed really worked for them - in particular the active area and the role play zone, with Triple Woodland Tower. They particularly loved the idea of embedding the three values in the colourful Wetpour surfacing.

What are the biggest benefits they’ve seen for their children?

First, they told us they’ve been able to demonstrate their commitment to the children leading healthier, active lives. The children spend a considerable amount of time outdoors and being active - not just at playtime but also during lessons. Staff are enthusiastic, now, about taking lessons outside and using the playground for learning. Importantly - and crucial for an urban school, such as theirs, this increased level of activity helps the children to burn off excess energy, meaning they’re more focused during the school day. 
 

Featured products include:
Triple Woodland Tower (0.9m, 1.2m & 1.5m)
Metal Cable Runway - 20m
2 x Wall Mounted Chalk Board - 1625mm x 1500mm
Wall Mounted Magnetic Whiteboard - 1625mm x 1200mm
3 x Wall Mounted Game Board - Chalk Board
Monkey Walk - Plus (Inc Rubber Step Posts)
Trapeze Swing - Plus (Inc Rubber Step Posts)
Bouldering Wall

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