An enterprising group of pupils who persuaded their Oldham primary school to provide better outdoor play facilities are celebrating a new playground.
The youngsters, members of the school council at Fir Bank Primary School in Royton, helped to transform the school’s play area after appealing for an improved outdoor space for key stage two pupils.
Headteacher Hazel MacKay took their ideas on board and the new playground, designed, built and manufactured by family firm Creative Play, has been unveiled.
With features including a ‘watch tower’, fireman’s pole, and climbing wall, the new play area is proving so popular that teachers are currently in the process of timetabling break times to accommodate the pupils at different times.
The new facility is also encouraging the children to be more active, sociable and better able to concentrate when they return to lessons.
“Children from our school council, who represent all our key stage two pupils, came to me and said they felt their outdoor facilities weren’t as good as key stage one and could we look at improving them,” said Mrs MacKay. “I am keen to make a difference and thought it could be a very meaningful project for our school and surrounding community.
“We asked companies to tender for the work and the children developed ideas of what they would like to be included. We asked three companies to pitch for the work, with the children being involved at every stage.
“Our pupils felt that Creative Play was the best in the way they interpreted their ideas so that’s what we went with.”
Creative Play’s Design Director Tom Briggs who oversaw the project, said: “It was terrific working with the children and we took their ideas and incorporated them into the designs.
“We created large printed visuals to create impact for the children so they could display them in their classrooms. We’ve since heard from Mrs MacKay that there is more co-operation, less arguing and more physical activity among the children and it’s really satisfying to play a role in that.”
School council member Oliver Morgan, ten, is delighted with the new play facilities. “It is brilliant in every way. Everyone enjoys it and it gives us something fun to do at break time. It’s also getting us active because before it was built, we’d just walk around.
“When we were designing it we really liked the idea of a watch tower because we can watch the football matches being played on the pitch nearby.”
Oliver’s classmate Eve Williams, ten, also a member of the school council, said: “Our new play area is very fun and everyone really seems to like it. Also, we all help each other with things like the fireman’s pole which helps everyone to get along well.”
Headteacher Mrs MacKay added: “Since the new play facilities were installed I’ve noticed that there is less standing around as it encourages the children to be very active.
“As well as enhancing their physical development, the new facility seems to have fostered a real spirit of co-operation as they help each other to tackle different sections, like the climbing wall and the fireman’s pole. The children are encouraging each other and waiting their turn rather than pushing and shoving and it’s lovely to see.
“I’m very proud of the children. They’ve played such an important role in making this happen and it is a legacy for future generations.”
The school’s new play area includes a four tower Jigsaw system, with a central higher tower to act as the ‘watch tower’ overlooking the tarmac sports play area. The project also includes safety surfacing and boundary mesh fencing to help secure the area.
Each Creative Play playground is designed to suit the client’s specifications, depending on their budget and location.
All of Creative Play’s equipment is designed and manufactured in Chester by the company’s in house teams, who use state of the art equipment and each specialise in timber, plastic or metal.
Creative Play’s own teams install all of the equipment and surfacing to meet the requirements of the client and their own rigorous quality standards.
For more information visit: www.creativeplayuk.com
or call 01244 375627. Facebook and Twitter @CreativePlayUK
Date: 20 July 2017