Operation Playground

1st May 2015


In November 2014 the whole school went on a trip to Whickham Thorns, which is an Outdoor activity Centre based in Gateshead. The students were able to enjoy a range of outdoor activities which improved their confidence, gave them the chance to try something new and benefit from physical outdoor activity.  It also highlighted the fact that we have no outdoor equipment for students to use at break times, or as part of their P.E. lesson.


Our school was built in the 1960’s, so we are fortunate to have a large playing field and a tarmac playground, but sadly there is no equipment on either site. Our aim is to provide the students with a stimulating outdoor environment, where they can find ways of using physical activity to express themselves, and enjoy the challenges and rewards of exercise. Unfortunately there has never been sufficient  monies available to purchase the equipment we would like as it needs to be robust, challenging, user friendly and safe.  


In common with a lot of young people , a large number of our students enjoy playing computer games. We wanted to give our project a title, an identity, and define the “moves” we would need to make in order to achieve our objective. We had to find a concept they could understand which would engage them and encourage them to participate , express their ideas , take ownership of it, and accept a share in the responsibility of maintaining and caring for the equipment provided.


We need to have three separate quotations from Companies to ensure we get the best value for money, and we now have three designs that meet our expectations. We have also had to confirm that we don’t need planning permission for the equipment, and confirmation from Sport England that it is a suitable use of a school playing field, as there are not many schools that still have one.


Once we receive written confirmation from Sport England, we are ready to proceed.


We estimate that the cost will be around £60,000. We have a small amount of monies in school, we are eligible for grants which we will apply for, and are hoping to raise the remainder through sponsorship with local companies and organisations.


We appreciate that we are asking a great deal, but are “Aiming High, Dreaming of what Hillcrest could be like, believing we are doing this to make it a better place, and with help and support we will succeed.