Celebrating 10 years of Forest School

IMG 0932On Friday 2nd November, all pupils and staff took part in a Forest School extravaganza to celebrate 10 years of Forest School delivery.

The special event was supported by a grant from The Ernest Cook Trust.

All classes joined together on the school field for a whole day of ‘learning outside the classroom’, Forest School and play. There were over 20 activities to take part in and the children got to choose what they took part in and when, giving them lots of freedom throughout the day. The event was held as part of the international ‘Outdoor Classroom day’ initiative, with over 3.5 million children taking part around the world.

Activities included a barefoot trail, wood whittling, playing conkers, willow weaving, clay craft, bug hunting, den building, pioneering, nature art, rhythm sticks, Hapa zome (Japanese art using leaves, petals and hammers!) and mud painting.

The children were supported by over 60 volunteers from the Blue Coat community, including the original members of Blue Coat’s Outdoor Club in 2008, now students at Katharine Lady Berkeley's secondary school.

The day concluded with a school assembly on the field around a campfire.

Mr Brooks, Forest School Leader said, “I love leading Forest School at Blue Coat. It is wonderful seeing the children working together, developing  their decision making, their independence and creativity – skills that fit perfectly with our school vision of being ‘Future Ready’  - all whilst gaining a love and respect for nature and the world around them.”

Many thanks to all who supported the event, by donating resources, preparing activities or volunteering on the day itself.
Here are some photos of the event:

Street Play events

DlsmekLXoAU10blWe are pleased to announce some new dates for 'street-play' events, inspired by the Playing Out movement (find out more here: Playing Out).

The Blue Coat car park and driveway will be closed to cars and open for play! These events are kindly supported by Gloucestershire County Council's Growing Our Communities Fund. The events are free and no booking is required.

Bring toys, games and kit that you want to play with. We have a long
tarmac drive, so you are welcome to bring bikes, scooters, ‘heelies’ and roller skates. Please bring your own helmets and pads.

Face paints, teddies, dressing up, street hockey, unicycles and circus toys all welcome – bring a rug/camping chair and some snacks.

Additional play equipment and pavement chalks will be available.

All are welcome – bring brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, grandparents and cousins. If you are friends with families in other local schools, then bring them along too.Dls1e8iXsAUW7Vh


10am - 12pm Friday 4th January
10am - 12pm Thursday 21st February
10am - 12pm Sunday 7th April
10am - 12pm Monday 27th May


Important info

Parents are responsible for supervising their children during the event.
Please play within the school driveway and car park, not on the public footpath.
No dogs on site please. No alcohol, smoking or vaping on site.
Toilets will be open at the entrance to the school hall.
No car parking available in site. Please use nearby parking (e.g. Chipping Car Park) or walk to the event if possible.
Please do not bring ride-on toys with real motors (e.g. mini motorbikes).

Beach Babies Under 5s autumn term 1 dates

IMG 20160705 150954073The Play Beach at Blue Coat school field is open for special outdoor sand play sessions for children under 5 and their parents / carers.

Adult supervision is essential. Local parents, grandparents and childminders are all welcome. Buckets and spades are provided. School toilets are accessible for children.

Please dress for the weather! The sessions will still run on wet days.

Tuesday mornings
8.55am - 9.45am

11th September
25th September
9th October

Play Beach ‘Beach Babies’ sessions are free of charge. No booking is required. Parental / adult supervision is essential.   Please help keep the school site clean and tidy. No smoking or e-cigarettes. No dogs on the school site.

Any enquiries, please contact Mrs Murray via the Blue Coat school office.

The Play Beach was supported by Tesco Bags of Help, Big Lottery Awards for All and the Magnox Socioeconomic fund.

Blue Coat Buddies at play

Blue Coat Buddies have been announced and the Buddies have spent their first few playtimes together, getting to know each other.

The Buddy system connects Reception and Year 6 children in pairs or threes in special friendships for the children's first and last years at Blue Coat, respectively.

Buddies support and learn from each other, through play at break and lunch times and through special events throughout the year. 

Here are some photos from the first few days together on the playground. If you can't spot your Year 6 or Reception child on here, then more photos of play time will be shared throughout the year (for children with permission) on this web page and on Blue Coat's Play Twitter account @Blue_Coat_Play.

OPAL Platinum play

IMG 20160915 124353706We have some fantastic play news to share with the school community!

Blue Coat has achieved a Platinum level award for our commitment to outdoor play and we are the first school from over 300 Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) schools across the UK and Canada to score a perfect 100% on our audit. We were described by our assessor as “the best school for outdoor play in the UK”.

Over the last 4 years, Blue Coat has undertaken a whole school approach to improving outdoor play opportunities for every pupil, working alongside OPAL CiC. Blue Coat took the unusual step of employing a Play Coordinator to lead this initiative, working with the Play Team to ensure that all its 314 pupils reap the multiple benefits, including increased activity levels, development of social skills, and improved mental health.

We have worked with local business and charitable trusts to secure funds to transform our playground. Our site now boasts a 50 tonne sandpit, a ‘Dengineering Zone’, a 400m2 Mud Kitchen and a Scrap Shed. The children lead their own play and have permission to access sticks, rocks, mud and water, and are supported in learning to manage their own risks.

Michael Follett, Director of OPAL commented, "The whole school community should be immensely proud in what they have achieved. It is no exaggeration to say the Blue Coat is not just UK leading, but World leading, in its approach to providing for the developmental needs of children through play and fulfilling the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 31.

The school’s dedication to ensuring every child has outstanding play opportunities, every day, with no exceptions has become a reality. In my 18 years of working with school I have never come across anything as good or as comprehensively integrated into every aspect of school life.

Play at Blue Coat has become an essential way that the school provides for the needs of the whole child. Behaviour management, activity, wellbeing, school ethos and values, community relations, creativity, agency, self-confidence and resilience are only some of the areas of life that the school has improved through their approach to play.

Blue Coat have pioneered the role of the Play Coordinator and demonstrated the value of having a significant and well-regarded post to manage both and strategic and operational aspects of play".

Mr Ryan reported, "We're delighted to receive this recognition following the commitment we made to play four years ago. Particularly at a time where larger primary schools such as ours face funding cuts that can jeopardise anything that's not seen as essential to the National Curriculum. Nevertheless, we do see play as an essential part of every child's development, More than that, we feel passionately that each child should have a right to high quality, fulfilling play. This award recognises that passion and belief."

"The school's success in this field is truly a team effort. We're fortunate to have a very talented group of professionals in our Play Team. But we also have to have responsible and creative children to make it work so well, along with the support and commitment of parents, staff and governors."

"Michael Follett (OPAL) has helped guide us to transforming our school from one in which segregated (Junior versus Infant) play and bare playgrounds were a daily reality for our pupils. Now, the children own and lead their play, providing a long list of benefits that should help secure their Future Readiness, including social and emotional development, risk management, creativity and spiritual development. We couldn't imagine play at Blue Coat being anything else now."

Head's Tweet

from Mr Ryan

What a brilliant end to the week with Milepost 2 pupils exhibiting their Greatest Showman learning vehicle to parents. Well done!

30 Nov 18 at 2:52pm