Outstanding Contribution Award - Please Vote Now!

clotc logoCelebrating success is a central part of Blue Coat's school ethos. This happens on a daily basis when we learn and play, but also we carve out time each Friday to celebrate the huge diversity of achievements of our pupils in our end-of-day worship.

However, successful pupils require successful adults to nurture them. Recognising this, we have nominated Mrs Murray, our play expert, for an Outstanding Contribution award offered by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). 

We are delighted that her hard work and inspiration has enabled her to reach the final stages of nomination, in a shortlist of just 4 nominees from across the UK! 

The winner will now be decided by public vote. Please, we ask that every member of the Blue Coat community gets behind Mrs Murray in recognition of how she has transformed play at Blue Coat into an essential part of the children's daily development.

Please cast your vote on the following link. No registering is required - just a mere 2 clicks. Multiple nominations are accepted by accessing the vote from several devices.

Don't forget to share this widely with friends and extended family on social media platforms to show support - thank you! 




Here is Mrs Murray's nomination in full:

"Rachel Murray is Play Co-ordinator at Blue Coat CEVA Primary School. As little as 2 years ago, when Rachel started her role as Play Co-ordinator, she was faced with a bare playground and field space filled with bored (often disruptive) children who were separated into Key Stage age groups.

Problems with accidents, behavioural incidents, overcrowding were some of the results of unfulfilling play in the school. Rachel clearly had her work cut out for her.

Engaging with children, families and staff from the outset , Rachel transformed this bleak situation into an oasis for play where children now thrive creatively, socially, emotionally and spiritually in a purposeful play environment in which they get to take risks and gain huge rewards as a result. In her short time she has established a skilled and happy 'play team', introduced a huge 'mud kitchen' on previously barren land, funded and created a 50-tonne ‘play beach’ for sand play, and engaged families to develop the site and recognise the true value of play in making their children ‘Future Ready’. She has completely engaged our pupils with the value of play and managing it safely and purposefully through regular ‘play assemblies’ that address issues, concerns or common risks posed in play.

Benefits for the children have been almost countless. Social opportunities have been enhanced, helping all children but particularly those with communication and language Special Education Needs (SEND). The inclusive nature of the school’s play offer has meant that Pupil Premium, disabled and SEND pupils have enriched opportunities to develop key skills for overcoming their learning barriers. Pupils have become more resilient and effective in managing risk in their play (despite ‘sword fights’ and building with scrap), resulting in fewer accidents on the school records. Pastoral behavioural issues are at an all-time low due to the engaging and co-operative nature of much of the play. But most of all, the children report to be “happier “and consider themselves to be “more creative” and “better at getting along” – immeasurable but reassuringly positive and critical results of the school’s improved play.

The development of the school site has offered children access to far more space for more of the academic year, owing to previously restricted or unused parts of the site being opened and the introduction of purpose built ‘welly sheds’ making the school field accessible all year round. It also offers them a huge diversity of play opportunities owing to the nature of these areas and the ‘stuff’ within them.

In recognition of the huge benefits brought to our children, the school was awarded ‘OPAL Platinum Play’ status only months after Rachel’s start at the school from a very low baseline audit score. Shortly after, the school was given a National Playwork award for innovation in play. Since then, the school has been visted by experienced and new senior leaders and playworkers, as well as universities reaearching play, to look at the school’s dynamic approach to play, within the context of its ‘Future Focussed’ vision. Play is also now one of the school’s biggest attractions for new parents.

None of this would be possible without Rachel Murray, owing to her passion, commitment and innovative approach to bringing the highest quality of play to Blue Coat School."