Can Quality Outdoor Provision In Schools Improve Attendance?

Can Quality Outdoor Provision In Schools Improve Attendance? - Asks Terry Gould, experienced and respected early years and primary consultant.


From the moment the structure went up attendance went up with it !!  Children  began coming to school earlier to get more time on the challenging structure and guess what …it was many of the boys as well as  some of the girls. It hadn’t been planned as a strategy for boosting attendance and it wasn’t in any NPQH programme or Ofsted suggestion handbook but it worked. Now the school has a thriving playground area before school begins .It has further developed provision through the  introduction of  “wake up and shake up” sessions and a host of other activities and games designed to appeal; and that only take place before school. They have also included a huge performance stage area and a large shelter structure so that parents and siblings and children can shelter if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Could you think out of the box like this school did  and consider what you could do to your  invest in your outdoor area that might attract children into school a little earlier and not only will you be combating disaffection and improving attendance but also helping to keep the children fitter and healthier and probably happier  through greater amounts of physical exercise, challenge and enjoyment !!

“This case study goes to show the validity of  Pendlewood’ s claim  to be more that just a company supplying outdoor play products products but  an active partner in developing  outdoor spaces that really do support learning and development  in motivational and measurable ways ”  Alan Pendlewood Managing Director Pendlewood  

Terry will be now be writing a monthly BLOG  for the Pendlewood website every month. Next month it will be on “Powering ahead through developing  a quality, sustainable  EYFS outdoor learning environment” Through  a linked competition we will be giving away FREE  six of Terry’s  acclaimed book   “Effective Practice  in Outdoor Learning” which was recently given a prestigious  silver award by the Practical Pre-School  school organisation

If you would like your school to receive features from our next blog – please click HERE and send us your details


The Rhino

Pendlewood are pleased to support the campaign for Rhino preservation.

 One of Pendlewoods long standing street furniture ranges is named after this amazing endangered creature – The rhino.  So we as a street furniture manufacturer will be doing our bit to try and save this amazing creature.   A donation of a percentage of the profits from the Rhino range of street furniture will be donated to  

Please help save the Rhino by signing this powerful petition.

The rhino is being hunted into extinction and could disappear forever unless we act now. Shocking new statistics show 440 rhinos were brutally killed last year in South Africa alone — a massive increase on five years ago when just 13 had their horns hacked off.

European nations could lead the world to a new plan to save these amazing creatures but they need to hear from us first! Fuelling this devastation is a huge spike in demand for rhino horns, used for bogus cancer cures, hangover remedies and good luck charms in China and Vietnam. Protests from South Africa have so far been ignored by the authorities, but Europe has the power to change this by calling for a ban on all rhino trade — from anywhere, to anywhere — when countries meet at the next crucial international wildlife trade summit in July.

Let’s raise a giant outcry and urge Europe to push for new protections to save rhinos from extinction. When we reach 100,000 signers, our call will be delivered in Brussels, the decision-making heart of Europe, with a crash of cardboard rhinos. Every 50,000 signatures will add a rhino to the crash — bringing the size of our movement right to the door of EU delegates as they decide their position.

Sign the petition below then forward the link widely: So far this year one rhino has been killed every day in South Africa, home to at least 80% of the world’s remaining wild rhinos. Horns now have a street value of over $65,000 a kilo — more expensive than gold or platinum. The South African Environment Minister has pledged to take action by putting 150 extra wardens and even an electric fence along the Mozambique border to try and stem the attacks – but the scale of the threat is so severe that global action is required.

Unless we act today we may lose this magnificent and ancient animal species permanently. Some Chinese are loudly lobbying for the trade in horn to be relaxed, but banning the trade in all rhinos will silence them. With the EU’s leadership, we can bring these international gangsters to justice, put the poachers in prison, and push for public awareness programmes in key Asian countries — and end this horn horror show for good.

The Twister Range

The Twister Range continues to Grow…..

 Street furniture that is contemporary and surprisingly and works in all environments – from urban streets to woodland settings.

Hand crafted in Great Britain from sustainably produced upper gulf redwood timber.

The timber is impregnated with Tanalith E, an eco friendly wood preservative.

 This gives our products a long life span that can compete and even beat many of the exotichardwoods that are used in street furniture.

Many of these street seats and tables are being used in schools ,universities, parks and public spaces throughout the UK today.

So not just street furniture but educational street furniture.

 Robust and designed to survive and thrive in many environments.  A true eco friendly bench that will fit into any woodscape or landscape setting

 Public seating designed for parks, academies, school seating, forests, river settings, university seating, courtyards, public seating, Street furniture.

Shawn the Sheep

Shawn The Sheep has been very popular over the spring months and a family of sheep have gone out all across the UK.   Keep an eye out for Shawn The Sheep in an area near you

Lyn Hayler – Cemeteries Manager – East Hampshire District Council “I have taken delivery today of ‘Shawn’ and he is just perfect thank you”

No Roof-ache for Pendlewood’s KEW canopies!

One thing that Pendlewood has always prided ourselves on is the quality and durability of all our products – and this was recently confirmed in the Pendlewood workshop during the construction of one of our Kew Outdoor Classrooms!

Already renowned as an industry leading design by schools, architects and decision-makers across the country, we decided to put to test the strength of our fantastic UV-safety roofs that are used on the range.

While it was always assured that the roof would be strong enough to withhold two or three of our less-bulky workers, even we were surprised at the results of the test…

As you can see from the surrounding pictures, we managed to get seven of our master craftsmen and Managing Director Alan Pendlewood to stand on the roof – without any sign of the roof being even slightly stressed from the excess weight!

The KEW roof can withhold much more than just the sun and the rain!

Pendlewood Managing Director Alan Pendlewood said that what was initially intended as a bit of light hearted fun during an afternoon break had actually proven a very apt and serious point.

He mused: “We have always known that our roofs are robust enough to withstand anything the infamous British weather tries to throw at them. However, we didn’t know they would be strong enough to comfortably withstand an army of Pendlewood’s most generously built gentlemen!”

“In all seriousness, this reinforces a message that we have been pushing for years – Pendlewood products are of the absolute highest quality. In the current economic climate people are looking for quality and products that will last – after all they don’t want to be buying the same product again in 12 months time.  It’s all about value and quality; and these are two things Pendlewood has always offered by the bucket load.”

Pendlewood gets on his Bike… for charity!

Pendlewood’s Managing Director Alan Pendlewood has always been up for a challenge… sometimes with success (building Pendlewood up from “2 men in a garden shed” to Small Business of the Year) and sometimes with not so much success (his many attempts to give up smoking!).

However, Alan has decided to embark on what he describes as “my biggest challenge to date”. He has decided to revert to his ambition of using the success and profile of the company to help out some local good causes… while helping himself at the same time!

Alan, after reaching the big 5-0 earlier this year and hitting a portly 16 stone, has decided not to accept the ‘pipe and slippers approach’ just yet and embark upon a personal crusade to get back into – and remain – in good shape… with the ambition of returning to what he admits is his “fighting fit weight” – 12 stone.

Always a keen cyclist, Alan has been riding his bike throughout the summer to try and get healthy and has now decided to link it to a news story he recently read, that touched his heart.

He read about the story of Steve Roberts, a healthy and courageous young man who battled bravely against skin cancer before eventually passing away after a brave 2 year fight, at the tragically early age of 27. In his memory his many friends and family started a fundraising charity called Shades4Ste, whose aim is to raise awareness of the risks of the malignant melanoma type of skin cancer that Steve battled against and in particular its direct link to a one off incident of sunburn in childhood.

Shelters like this will hopefully be in more schools than ever before thanks to 'Shades4Ste'

As Pendlewood are the leading manufacturer of sun shelters for schools, Alan felt that this was a cause he could link in and help with. As a result Alan and the charity are hoping to agree a link-up which will culminate have the aim of fitting as many schools as possible with to help eliminate the deadly threats of skin cancer from our youngsters. Alan and Shades4Ste hope that with the help, support and donations of the general public that one day every school in the area (and eventually the country) will have an ultra-safe Pendlewood shelter protecting their pupils from the dangers of the sun.

Therefore Alan plans on partaking in a monthly challenge to raise money for Shades4Ste. If the agreement is formalised, all the shelters that Shades4Ste purchase will be at major discounts from Pendlewood complete with our advanced CV safety roofs – which would kindly be provided at a reduced rate by Macrolux.

The first challenge that Alan has accepted, is to complete the famous C2C ride from Whitehaven, Cumbria to Sunderland, Wearside in just 2 days.  The 140 mile ride includes many peaks and troughs and hopefully will succeed in and losing excess pounds for himself but also raising plenty of pounds for Shades4Ste! The big ride will take place on Friday & Saturday August 27/28.

Alan is very excited about the long slog which lies ahead. He buzzed: “If there is one thing I love, its a challenge. And if there’s one thing I’m petrified of, its failure. This challenge is not going to be easy but the knowledge that this is for such a worthy cause that will help save lives is all the motivation I need. It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done… but it’ll easily be the most rewarding once I’ve succeeded!”

Alan appeared on Radio Lancashire to spread word of the good cause

Alan officially launched and spoke about the campaign in detail on the Sally Naden Show on BBC Radio Lancashire recently (Wednesday July 28 2009). If you missed it find it on the BBC player here.

Full details about (and the background behind) Shades 4 Ste charity can be found here.

Information on the C2C ride can be found here.

Should anyone be interested in sponsoring Alan, have any ideas for future challenges or want to find out more about this worthy cause, then email or call him on 01695 557 500 now!

Billy thrives and survives!

Pendlewood has long been a play-and-climb favourite with primary schools, nurseries and children’s centres and it recently received a well deserved update, which has gone down a storm with the lucky children and staff who have experienced the new and improved version!

The multi-access range has always consisted of:

The Billy – A simple but exciting design that acts as a great introduction to active, climb based play for young and early years children.

A real Tree-t for the pupils of Brabyn Nursery

A real Tree-t for the pupils of Brabyn Nursery

The Billy Goat’s Gruff – The ‘Gruff’, as it is affectionately referred to, is a larger and slightly more challenging structure that is also a natural progression from The Billy.

Gruff Love

Gruff Love

Previously the two products were only available in their ‘standard’ sizes and with ‘standard’ features. However, now there have been bespoke options and features added that are available to you should you want your structure to deviate from the norm.

The Billy is now available with a special bespoke tree house look that will further encourage cognitive role play, while also adding colour to the playground. In addition to this there are a variety of alternate options that can be added to the Billy if required.

The standard design sees the platform accessed by a scramble ramp, with a slide offering an exciting route down. As a bespoke feature, such as the one pictured that Brabyns Nursery in Cheshire have added to the playground, there is a option of a rope climbing net which can be added to give the youngsters another thrilling challenge when scaling or descending from the platform.

The Billy Goat’s Gruff has also had bespoke features and options developed. The standard design has two towers, linked by an exciting rope rope bridge. From one tower is a large slide, at the other end there is a vertical climbing ramp. However, a special wooden walkway was designed to replace the rope bridge following an enquiry from the Dowry House Nursery School in Preston, and after its successful construction and installation it has been added to the list of bespoke options available for ‘the Gruff’.

Pendlewood’s Design Manager, Piers Dutson-Steinfeld, is the man behind the new bespoke designs. ‘PDS’ gave an honest appraisal of why the Billy range had evolve. He explained: “The Billy range has been a popular staple of our play-and-climb range for many years. However, as we have continually raised the bar and redefined natural play-and-climb with products like The Paradigm and The Pyramid, I felt this range was in danger of being left behind. Therefore it was clear customers needed a few more options and flexibility and I think the result ensures Billy will have plenty of mates for many years to come!”

Lyndhurst Primary School Winners in more ways than one!

Lyndhurst Primary School in Oldham, Greater Manchester has been celebrating a worthy victory, after they received a superb Storyteller’s Area as a result of entering a fantastic Pendlewood competition!

Inspired into entering by class teacher Colette Donnelly, after reading about the sensational giveaway in our quarterly company newspaper, The Pendlewood Playground News, Lyndhurst entered the competition that required 3 simple questions answering correctly. The competition was fierce, with dozens of correct entries from our committed readership but it was the Oldham based school that was lucky enough to have their name pulled out of the hat!

The Flexi bench and Storyteller's Chair proudly sit at Lucky Lyndhurst!

The Flexi bench and Storyteller's Chair proudly sit at Lucky Lyndhurst!

Lyndhurst have therefore been treated to a Storyteller’s Chair – which is a long time Pendlewood favourite, as well as one of our newer products – the innovative and communal Flexi-Bench.  Both were installed by our highly qualified installation team, free of charge too.

Together the two winning products have combined to give an educational area that the school, pupils and staff of Pendlewood are all delighted with! In line with the government’s Learning outside the Classroom manifesto, the area gives children a mini outdoor classroom, an educational storytelling venue and fantastic seating during break times!

As you can see from the surrounding pictures it already looks right at home in the picturesque Lyndhurst outdoor area!

Storytime has never been so anticipated!

Storytime has never been so anticipated!

Alan Pendlewood, Managing Director spoke of his delight to give a school the chance of a fantastic educationally focused area, totally free of charge.

He buzzed: “There are few things more rewarding than giving schools the chance to win some fantastic Pendlewood products, as we are benefiting children without eating into the schools’ budget. Of course, we’d love to do it all the time but that’s clearly not plausible! I think the Storytelling Chair and Flexi Bench are versatile pieces of equipment that would enhance any school or play area and I’m sure next time Lyndhurst need some educationally focused play products, they will be straight on the phone to Pendlewood… or found browsing through the pages of the Pendlewood Times to see what great offer we now have on!”

Our latest edition of the fun-filled Pendlewood Playground News has another great competition this month, with some wonderful Early Years focused e-book CD’s to be given away. Edited by the well respected early years consultant, Terry Gould, they are a must for all Early Years focused establishments. For details on how to enter the simple competition, click here to request your copy of the latest issue!

Pendlewood Street Furniture – making a difference!

Pendlewood's street furniture is making waves across the UK

Pendlewood's street furniture is making waves across the UK

Enter “Lancashire’s best kept secret” into Google and what comes up?

The Forest of Bowland, Rossendale Dry Ski Slope and a hotel in Chorley! Well, while all three are worthy additions to the red rose county, none is the correct answer in our opinion. That prestigious honour should go to Pendlewood’s stylish and contemporary range of Street Furniture – although at its current rate of expansion and explosion in popularity, it won’t be a secret for much longer!

Street Furniture has been a crucial part of Pendlewood ever since we started the business back in 1995, and our master craftsmen have been creating high quality, long-lasting and stylish wooden benches, planters and tables ever since – both from our fabulous range of standard products and also working with architects to create sensational bespoke furniture too.

As Pendlewood’s play based sales and product range increased at a record rate, the street furniture was living in its shadows somewhat but in the past few years the section of the business has grown at an incredible rate thanks to our dedicated team of designers, who are now setting the standard in this field with a sensational and varied selection of contemporary products.

We have been responsible for a number of stunning projects across the country. These have included:

  • Seating areas and a reading garden at Kingston University in London,
  • Serpent benches at the trendy marina in affluent Southport, Merseyside,
  • Bespoke seating areas at Sir John Hunt Academy in Hampshire
  • Big & Beefy Planters on London Bridge
  • Planter Seats on Blackpool promenade
  • Big & Beefy Planters at Castle College in Sheffield
  • The crown jewel in the street furniture range, our sensational selection of award winning Serpent benches, at Devonshire Square in the heart of London’s financial district.
Our bespoke benches and planters at Kingston look fantastic.

Our bespoke benches and planters at Kingston look fantastic.

Bei Den Deutschen Hat Pendlewood Ein Guten Eindruck Gemacht! (Translation: Pendlewood make a good impression with the Germans!”

"Playground @ Landscape Magazine" features Europe's top play solutions

"Playground @ Landscape Magazine" features Europe's top play solutions

Pendlewood recently received international approval from an unlikely source – one of Germany’s leading play industry magazines!

We were headhunted by Playground@Landscape, a magazine produced for the German play market, but also distributed internationally in English too.

Browsing through, our HMS Bounty play ship caught the eye of Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Mueller.  He was so impressed that he contacted us asking whether they could run a feature on the exciting structure in an upcoming issue.

Sure enough, the latest edition of the publication has a large profiler on the Bounty, in a section entitled ‘New Projects’, which showcases the European play industry’s finest designs and constructions.

Pendlewood MD, Alan Pendlewood was delighted with the rise of his company to a name now respected across the continent. He quipped: “It won’t be long now until the HMS Bounty sets sail for schools all across Europe and I can assure the German children the fun play experiences won’t be lost in translation!”

The HMS Bounty installed @ Forefield, Merseyside was featured

The HMS Bounty installed @ Forefield, Merseyside was featured