Arbour Vale Specialist School Sports College, Berkshire

In order to add more variety to their playground, Arbour Vale Specialist School Sports College chose new equipment that would help them combine play with sports. They tell us how it has changed their daily routine and helped improve a range of skills.
Why did you want to develop your playground?

As a school sports college, we’re always looking for new ways to encourage our pupils to take part in active and creative play, eventually leading into sports. We wanted to develop our playground so that it would have an area dedicated to combining play and sports as well as musical, creative and discovery ideas. The new space would allow us to incorporate play into all areas of the curriculum and spend more quality time outdoors.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?

The Playforce brochure caught our eye and by looking at examples of other schools on the website, we knew that the team had the right experience to design something for us. We weren’t sure what the best approach was for combining play and sports but Playforce already had some great ideas to develop in our space. The team made sure that the staff and pupils were involved at all stages – although many of the products were from their standard ranges, we really feel as though the playground we’ve ended up with is completely bespoke to us.
We really feel as though the playground we’ve ended up with is completely bespoke to us.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?

By choosing a variety of equipment to include in our playground development, we have given ourselves the opportunity to take a range of lessons and activities outdoors, showing the children how being active can be a way of life. The Music Panels are a big hit – the children can make as much noise as they want without disturbing the other classes. If we want to offer our pupils a more interactive science lesson we can do with the Flow Wall and Chalk Board, too.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?

Breaking up the typical routine and taking lessons and play outdoors has inspired and motivated the children. The equipment has challenged them to approach new activities in a creative and imaginative way. The flexibility to move outdoors during class has boosted their productivity and attention spans. It’s fantastic to see play and sports coming together in an innovative and unique outdoor space.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Play and sports shouldn’t be seen as two separate things, with the right play equipment they can come together as one exciting and motivating activity. Mixing active equipment with more creative and exploratory ways to play can help bridge the gap and add to the fun.