Christmas has come early at a North East primary school, which was presented with a new playground.
Featuring weighing scales, a large chalkboard, giant paint and ‘tuff’ spot tables, the new play area at Collierley Primary School in Dipton is designed to help students get creative.
Donated by the Durham Villages Regeneration Company (DVRC) – a partnership between Durham County Council and Keepmoat Homes – it forms part of a community engagement programme.
Pupils have previously visited Keepmoat Homes development – Coppice Heights – in the village and designed the safety posters which adorn the hoardings surrounding the site. In addition, the children worked with apprentices from New College Durham – who also benefited from work experience with Keepmoat Homes – to create a welly store and changing area for the school.
Geoff Scott, Social and Economic Impact Manager with Keepmoat Homes, said: “Collierley Primary School is at the centre of the village and at the heart of the local community. Through engaging the school and its pupils we are helping to foster a positive relationship of trust and respect.
“We have been able to engage the pupils about the dangers of building sites, whilst providing them with fun and interactive facilities and equipment to challenge them physically, creatively and educationally.”
Installed in the early years play space for use by both nursery and reception children (aged between 3 – 5 years) the equipment was chosen via consultation with the facebook school community and the pupils.
Angela McDermid, Head Teacher at Collierley Primary School, said: “At our school we are passionate about learning outdoors and giving the children in early years open access to nature throughout the day. We are overwhelmed with the donation as we currently have no fixed play equipment in this important area of school.
“Children’s learning is firmly embedded when they are actively involved in investigations rather than being passively taught, so we are confident that this new facility will significantly enhance the learning environment for the children.”
DVRC is currently developing a site just off Palmer Road at Dipton. Coppice Heights will include a mix of 59 two, three and four bedroomed homes and is one of four live DVRC developments, with others at Seaham, Peterlee and Chester-le-Street delivering a further 278 homes.
Since formation in 2001 the partnership has invested over £150 million and has just begun work on its 2,000th home, at Chester-le-Street. Around 25% of properties have been built for shared ownership or affordable rent. A unique profit-sharing arrangement has also provided funds in support of local authority initiatives and services.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Outdoor play is an essential part of growing and learning so I’m very pleased that we have been able to support pupils at Collierley Primary in enjoying a healthy childhood by providing this play equipment. It’s also great to see that through our development at Coppice Heights we have been able to offer something that will have a lasting legacy for the wider community.”