All Saints school in Leask has grown significantly over the last 20 years, with pupil numbers trebling. The school caters for over 240 children aged between 3-9 years old and, with the extended services it offers to its pupils and the community, is open for over 10 hours per day, 51 weeks per year.
With the school oversubscribed and no room to take on any more children, the pupil intake at All Saints was at its peak. This growth resulted in a lack of space and, in order to accommodate for the number of children it serves, improvements to the school’s external space were compulsory.
Having reached its limit of children on site, the school needed to undergo an extensive development to extend its outside space for children. The school’s Governing body conducted a strategic review, gathering views from parents, pupils, and staff, as well as the local community and local church, to help determine the best way to move forward.
The review revealed a number of issues and needs for the school to consider, many of which were a result of the lack of outside space:
Outdoor Learning and The Curriculum
It was identified that the external environment needed to offer more opportunities and resources for outdoor learning. This included looking at ways to support curriculum innovation and creative learning throughout the school. There was also a need for a free flow play area for the Early Years pupils, in-line with government guidelines.
The play equipment offering needed to be improved, not only to provide better play areas and facilities, but to give children opportunities to play in a more structured way.
The review found that more sports equipment and activities were needed for use in curriculum time, social time and after-school. The school’s lack of space meant that children were limited to one outdoor club or sport at one time.
Health and Safety
After a review of the accident book, the school found an average of 15-20 incidents a day were linked to children falling, tripping or hurting themselves due to the lack of space on playgrounds. This was a result of the increase in numbers of children and the fact that the playing field can’t be used during bad weather. When the field is in use, the numbers of accidents are much lower as the children have more space to play.
Although the school benefited from a large playing field, it was not suitable to play on for at least two terms of the year with children getting muddy. In addition, the grassy areas closest to the school are uneven and sloping.
As a result of the review, the school agreed that its strategic direction needed to focus on the development of its outdoor provision to children, with emphasis not only on outdoor learning, sport and social needs of the children, but their health and safety.
The school environment has been completely transformed - All Saints’ now benefits from an enriched environment that provides endless opportunities for play and learning outdoors.
The project has created more outside space for children to learn and be active, allowing them to play safely across 10 new areas, without taking anything away from the original space.
Made up of an assortment of pods and play and learning facilities, the carefully selected equipment aids and supports the development of children’s social and physical skills, while also supporting educational learning and areas of the National Curriculum.
The increase in space provides more scope for outdoor lessons, play time and after school activities for its pupils and the community.
The imaginative pod design allows for further expansion in the future.