Springfield Community Special School is a co-educational primary school for pupils aged 3–11 with special educational needs. Situated in pleasant and extensive grounds on the outskirts of Leek, Staffordshire, the school has recently undergone a major development of its outdoor facilities.
Although the school has access to a large outdoor area and learning resources, it lacked permanent outdoor facilities. Staff set out play equipment each morning and cleared it away at the end of the day.
Teachers felt it was time to develop an external learning environment to incorporate motivating and enjoyable activities and equipment for all pupils. The area had to be visually enhanced and it was essential that new facilities would promote play in a safe, secure environment, providing the opportunity to take risks safely.
Class Teacher, Lisa Price undertook 12 months of research into the pupils' special requirements. She paid particular attention to companies' abilities to adapt equipment or produce bespoke equipment, and Sovereign was chosen to carry out the project.
The plans evolved through discussions with children, staff and governors. Sovereign worked with Springfield to overcome potential problem areas, redesigning and altering product specifications where necessary, until the final design was approved.
Area one: Activity zone
- Whiteboard and chalkboard wall games for creativity
- Cleveland bench
- Nursery picnic table – without seats, to accommodate wheelchair access
Area two: Play tower
- Hot Potato tower with slide and log climber for challenging but manageable activity
- Pencilvania fencing and gate
Area three: Musical play
- Musical play area to allow children to express creative flair and promote creative, rhythmic, aural, concentration and motor skills
- Musical bat pipes
- Rattle wheel
- Bongo drums
Area four: Activity zone
- Sand pit and water play equipment installed underneath existing canopy for promoting physical, cognitive and social-emotional growth, and increasing sensory experiences
- Activity panels and wall games to broaden logic, hand-eye co-ordination, and problem solving skills
Area five: Bespoke activity trail
- Bespoke low-level activity trail to develop confidence and enhance co-ordination skills:
- Stepping stone
- Clatter bridge
- Balance weaver
- 65sqm 20mm May Green wet pour safer surfacing
Area six: Seating spot
- Cleveland benches
- Nursery picnic tables
- Activity panels
Area seven: Discovery area
- Minibeast box and wormery
The children have great enthusiasm for their new learning environment. They have shown through their behaviour that they feel safe and secure and enjoy making their own choices about risk when playing on the equipment.
“This has been a highly successful project. Sovereign has provided us with an excellent service, thus enabling us to provide our children with a wonderful new, exciting and stimulating play environment.” – Ruth Zimmerman, Headteacher