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New Adventure Playground opened by Olympic Gold medalist
Pupil, staff and invited guests from the local community were joined by an Olympic gold medalist on June the 14th to celebrate the opening of a bespoke Adventure Playground for pupils with complex learning difficulties.
London 2012 Olympic rowing gold medallist, Heather Stanning was on hand to cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony.
Headteacher, Jane Headland said:
“The school desperately needed new playground and outdoor classroom space to meet the needs of our students with complex needs. It has been an amazing achievement by all associated with the school in achieving our goal.
“The children love the fantastic new playground and it’s proving popular with all of the students and young people in the secondary school.
Designed and installed by national play company Infinite Playgrounds.
Mrs Headland commented that
“As soon as we saw what Infinite Playgrounds could offer we knew they would be right for us. The company worked closely with the school on all aspects of design and installation and we are delighted with what we have created together. Infinite Playgrounds have been a pleasure to work with.”
The Infinite Playgrounds team were asked to transform a 900 square metre area of ground which contained a grassy bank, an area of tarmac and a wooden bench which had been underused for some time.
The brief was to create an outside space that could be used as an outdoor classroom, to develop pupils’ ‘skills of investigation, curiosity, communication, imagination, creativity, problem solving and physical exploration’.
The design uses natural materials and takes advantage of the geography of its surroundings. The new facilities include a landscaped bank complete with a water valley, a ball pool and classroom canopy. This is complemented by a climbing structure, slide and bridge, complete with a basket swing and tunnel. One of the areas proving to be a big hit with young people is the ‘sensory cave’ with tiled interior, sensory lighting and a living roof.
Reading-based Ms Stanning is one half of Great Britain’s coxless pair team with Helen Glover and together they won the first gold medal at London 2012 for Great Britain. The duo are currently training for this summer’s games in Brazil.
“The level of thought and creativity which has gone into this new facility is amazing.”
Mrs Headland added:
“We have been pleased how quickly some students have made progress by being able to access the equipment.”