Shade Sails at Milton Park Primary School Portsmouth
The Brier School in the West Midlands no longer wanted the weather to get in the way of the enjoyment, learning opportunities and education that comes with being outdoors. With students having additional needs that range from moderate learning difficulties, up to more complex needs, time outside is highly-valuable to their development. Installing a school shelter seemed to be the perfect solution, and this is when they decided to bring in A&S Landscape. The team helped with the entire process from design and manufacture, to the final installation. The end result needed to be durable and had to accommodate different sporting activities, whilst also providing a long-lasting outside cover solution.
The solution that ticked all the boxes for the Brier School was the Covered MUGA™ – a sporting canopy that provides cover for a multi-use games area. We had a large area to work with, and so the Covered MUGA™ which is designed for larger areas, was decided as the best solution for the school’s needs. The final shelter measured 29605mm x 24680mm, and once installed, the outdoor play area was affectionally called ‘The PlayZone.’
A Covered MUGA™ is great for creating a space for outdoor play, and can even be used to generate revenue for schools. The optional extras are largely dependent upon sport pitch layouts however, schools have choices with features such as fencing, surfacing, lighting, goals, hoops, other sports fixtures.
All children came to benefit from the addition of ‘The PlayZone’ at the Brier School. Key Stage One children use the area as a bike and trike track – perfect for when they are learning! Children of other ages do all sorts of activities, ranging from quick cricket, relay races, and even sponsored walks!
It’s not just sporting activities that are being enjoyed under the new school shelter. Thanks to the ability to use the outdoor space at any time of year – Christmas 2017 saw ‘The PlayZone’ hosting a Winter Wonderland event – bringing festivities and cheer to all.
The school understands the countless benefits that playing outdoors can bring to children with special educational needs, and are so proud their pupils have the option of outdoor play at any time of year. Realising the benefits, they have offered the space to the wider community. Local children with learning difficulties are able to come with their families to enjoy the space, and the Orchard Trust (a charity that supports children with learning difficulties) use the area for their summer school. There is rarely a day when this space is not benefiting children and their families!
“This space has made such a difference to the children, they can be outdoors and get fresh air all year round, regardless of the weather. Different classes use the PlayZone in rotation when the weather is poor, meaning that everyone has the chance of some fresh air and exercise. It took more than two years planning because of the size and design. The children are loving the PlayZone and a little bit of outside time each day helps with their concentration levels as well as their fitness.”
– Russell Hinton, Headmaster at The Brier School
With such a focus on academic growth, some may reason that PE removes a student from essential classroom time, restricting intellectual performance. At the same time, there is proof that frequent exercise can help a student to increase their concentration in the classroom, benefitting their other studies as well. With young people experiencing an increased pressure on their exam outcomes, these are numbers that cannot be overlooked. A curriculum must be followed that considers both mental health, and academic growth. Moreover, studies have also indicated that the benefits of exercise include ‘better cognitive functioning’ and ‘greater bone strength’.
All of these points centre on what is best for the student yet, figures also show that PE is enjoyed by many school children. In 2006, research confirmed that the majority of Year 9 pupils in the UK named PE as their favourite lesson. Should we then, for once, also consider what children enjoy, instead of what is best for them?
It is conceivable that outdoor lessons are consistently halted by unexpected mediums, largely rain. When this occurs, the lesson is either brought inside to a school hall. Or, if there is no other arrangement available, it will be abandoned outright. This restricts a child to a small space, and prevents them from spending well-needed time in the fresh air.
The Brier School is a flagship special school located in the borough of Dudley, the West Midlands, North West of Birmingham. It was clear to see the pride that the staff at the Brier School took in their students. They were extremely positive and helpful throughout the whole process and were incredibly pleased when the cover meant students were able to play outside all year round.
Working with a school that has an excellent reputation, and takes such pride in their students was a genuine pleasure to work with. We were extremely happy to be a part of this outdoor play project that will benefit students for years to come. You can find out more about this fantastic project by watching our case study too.
When it comes to creating the perfect outdoor, undercover sporting facility for your school, there are no better experts in the field than A&S landscape. With sporting clients such as The Olympic Team GB and The FA, we have a range of expertise across all sporting activities. Whatever the size of your organisation, we ensure you receive the best possible service from one or more of our highly-skilled professional team. And even after your canopy is installed, we will continue to support you and answer any of your questions.
Having provided school shelters, sporting canopies and other cover solutions for over 44 years, we have built up a wealth of knowledge. In that time, we have carefully selected a range of canopies that offer the best solution for our clients. The Covered MUGA™ is one of these, being made from durable materials that are resistant to wear and is made to the highest specifications wherever it is installed. It is an example of a truly bespoke sporting facility. To find out more about our Covered MUGA, you can download the datasheet here.
As well as the Covered MUGA™, there is another option for your Multi-Use Games Area – the Maxima Tepee. This product boasts solid steel framework with an integrated gutter system, comes in a wide range of sizes (is modular in form, so can be extended), and comes as brightly-coloured as you like. Like the Covered MUGA™, it is extremely durable – being manufactured in galvanised and PPC steel.
We also offer a range of smaller shelters if you’re not looking for something quite as large as the Covered MUGA™ or the Maxima Tepee, including those for smaller playgrounds. You can rest assured that all of our shelters are designed to protect against all kinds of weather, from harmful UV rays to the typical-British downpour.
Whatever you would like for your shelter, we’ve got you covered. Our family-led company is dedicated to giving you a service that is welcoming, reliable and personal to your needs. We can advise you on anything from design to aesthetics to cost and will give you our support from the original concept, right up until the finished masterpiece.
We hold several industry-specific accreditations – all of which are well-respected within the field of outdoor canopies. We have also developed close relationships to local authorities and educational bodies all over the UK, who trust us to deliver quality shelters to schools,colleges and universities.
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