Child's Play Wins Blue Coat a National Award

PLay Team award march2016We are thrilled to announce we have been awarded a National Playwork award at the 7th Annual Playwork Awards.

The category Playwork in other contexts celebrates organisations that are not primarily playwork settings, who are using playwork innovatively, and with strong benefit to young people.

Our Play Coordinator, Mrs Murray, collected the award at a glitzy ceremony on Eastbourne Pier, as part of the National Playwork Conference. [Even, 'Stroud Life' managed to catch light of the fact in a recent article!]

Mrs Murray said “To call the recent effort and changes at Blue Coat a 'project' does not do justice to the commitment and passion that the whole school feel towards play, and the fact that play is now more of a 'way of school life' than a project.

All 300 children at the school have benefitted - the benefits can be broadly summarised in three ways; they have space, they have stuff and they have permission! We are thrilled to receive recognition through the National Playwork award”.

All children at Blue Coat have inputted into play developments and shared their thoughts and feelings through a whole-school pupil play survey. Significant areas of the school that were previously out-of-bounds are now open for access. Large loose parts, the ‘Scrap Shed’ and ‘Mud Kitchen’ pots and pans, have provided endless opportunities for creative, active and social play. The playground landscape changes everyday - shaped and shifted by the children. They are swinging in homemade hammocks, building bug homes from mud, 'cooking' the bark chip, riding in milk-crate sleighs, defending a fort, and lying with their friends in the long meadow grass.

The Midday Supervisor team has been transformed into Blue Coat’s 'Play Team', shaking off the ‘dinner lady’ label and reinvigorated with new job descriptions, new uniforms and play training.

The play areas are not restricted by age and we see fantastic cross-year friendships, and younger children learning social skills from older pupils (and sometimes the other way around!). All benefit from this.

Reception pupils 'settled in' to playground life quickly this year due to the massive choice of activities and 'stuff' for them to get started with, and we have seen an overall improvement in behaviour.

More and more young people are benefitting from the project - younger and older siblings use the site before school, families come to 'out of hours' play events, and funding for our latest play facility, ‘The Play Beach’, a 60 tonne sandpit, will unlock community events for groups serving young people in Wotton-under-Edge.

For regular updates please see our Play Blog.

PLay Team award march2016