Tower Hamlets school pupils enter competition to re-design their playgrounds

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    A new competition launched by the Landscape Institute in collaboration with Canary Wharf Group will offer Tower Hamlets primary schools the chance to win £5000 to improve their grounds. The competition, The Playground Project, will bring a professional landscape architect into a school to work alongside key stage two pupils to help them re-design an aspect of their school grounds.
     
    Outdoor environments are a great learning resource for children and engaging them with the design process is a fantastic way to create something that the children will be proud of and create a lasting legacy. Improving school grounds is essential for promoting healthy lifestyles, inspiring imaginations and encouraging problem solving skills. Previous schemes[1] found that school ground improvements led to the children playing and learning outside more and provided a lasting impact on teaching practices and attitudes to learning.
     
    A group of seven primary schools in Tower Hamlets are entering the competition and the winner will be announced in June 2016. Pupils will be asked to submit a design for their playground and the winning school will have the opportunity to implement an aspect of the children’s design. It is also hoped the competition will widen their horizons and develop an understanding of potential jobs and professions such as landscape architecture. The seven schools taking part are:
     
    Cubitt Town Junior School
    Robyn Bruce, Headteacher of Cubitt Town Junior School said: ‘As a school we are conscious that building aspirations is  a major stepping stone in leading to a ‘want’ to do well academically for our children. Residing in one of the most deprived Boroughs in London, our children are not often exposed to the opportunities that are out there for them and we need to link what they do in school each day to the wider world of work. A project such as The Playground Project allows us to do this. Allowing us to help raise pupils’ awareness of a wider range of prospects that are available to them in their future careers. It gives them the opportunity to use different skill sets, meet professionals , discuss  pathways into careers as well as work together collaboratively to create something which could potentially be a legacy for the school from our pupils.’

    Halley Primary School
    Helen Collinge, Assistant Headteacher at Halley Primary School said: ‘At Halley are very lucky to have a fantastically large playground areas for both KS1 and KS2. However, feedback via our school council over the last year has been that the children would like to develop the playground further. We hope that by working with the Landscape Institute, the children will not only be able to shape the future of our playground but can also gain an valuable insight into a very interesting career path.’

    Harry Gosling Primary School
    Jo Potkins, Early Years Foundation Stage Leader at Harry Gosling Primary School said: ‘Our school is situated in a part of London where green space available to children is extremely limited.  The majority of our children live in flats where they do not have access to safe outdoor space. This project is a chance for our children to work with an expert and become interested in, and contribute to, the design of their outdoor spaces in school. In the long term, we hope that the children's involvement in this project will also inspire their families  to make more use, and take care  of, the outdoor spaces which they have near to their homes as well.’

    Lansbury Lawrence Primary School
    Owen O'Regan, Headteacher of Lansbury Lawrence Primary School, said:  ‘We want to create play spaces for all of our children that are child led and encourage children to explore and follow their interests. Spaces that develop children's imagination, communication and social skills through play. Our children working alongside a professional landscape architect will mean that it is their imagination that will create this space and watching their ideas become reality, will give them real ownership of the project.’

    Manorfield Primary School
    Paul Jackson, Interim Headteacher of Manorfield Primary School said: ‘Quality outdoor learning spaces are essential for the education and well-being of all children.  At Manorfield, we aim to give children quality in all they do and know that the quality outdoor environment will impact positively on the learning of the children.’
     
    Stebon Primary School
    Helen Lavery, Assistant Head & The Poplar Partnership Project Manager of Stebon Primary School said: ‘Stebon has significantly improved its quality and size of building indoors- now we want to make the outdoors reflect the amazing learning opportunities available to our children. Who better to help us design the spaces than those who use it most?’

    William Davis Primary School
    Annika Eadie, Headteacher at William Davis Primary School said: ‘William Davis Primary School is a small school in the heart of Shoreditch. We have a limited outside space which we want to develop to create a playground which is physically challenging and develops children's skills, knowledge and understanding. Our ambition is to use our children's ideas to create a feature that will stimulate learning, play and creativity.’

    Poppy Smith, Education Development Officer at the Landscape Institute said:
     
    ‘As the professional body for landscape architects, we wanted to set up The Playground Project to help connect landscape architecture to a younger audience, and inspire schools’ to develop their outdoor environments. Broadening children’s career horizons is a key aim of ours and who better to have a say about their own playground than the children who use it.’ 
     
    John Garwood, Managing Director, Canary Wharf Group said:
     
    ‘We’re delighted to be supporting this competition which we hope will introduce design and landscape concepts to several children at schools in our borough, Tower Hamlets. It’s critical that we encourage young people to consider future employment in the building and landscaping industries and we hope this competition will inspire many of them to do just that.’ 
     

    ENDS

     
    Further information:
    Please contact:
    Nick McClelland, Media Officer, Landscape Institute
    020 7685 2658
    Follow us on twitter @talklandscape

     



    [1] Supergrounds project by the charity, Learning through Landscape.

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