Forefield Junior School, Crosby
Pendlewood and Forefield
Junior School in Merseyside recently combined to give the pupils of the Crosby
based school an unbelievable new play area, based around an epic play ship.
It took a summer-long journey to design, construct and install arguably our most epic and adventurous play structure to date as the HMS Forefield, as it has been named, is a truly gigantic play design that is crammed with challenges and features that will challenge the pupils physically and stimulate them mentally.
The process was challenging, exciting and ultimately incredibly successful. As a result we thought we would take you through the entire process from start to finish!
DESIGN STAGE by Piers Dutson-Steinfeld (Chief Designer)
"We were originally approached by representatives of Sefton Council who were working on behalf of Forefield and had heard all about Pendlewood. They had an idea about some sort of ship based structure as they had seen our HMS Intrepid and felt that this was an avenue that they wanted to pursue.
The challenge for me and my team of designers was to take their proposals and try to turn it into something that was even more amazing than the previous ship based play areas we had done before. I wanted to make it even more challenging and exciting, while not compromising the safety requirements. As Forefield is a large school with a high number of pupils I really wanted to ensure that the design was fully inclusive and DDA compliant - we needed to create an experience for absolutely every pupil.
After we had finished the design we invited staff from Sefton and Forefield to come to Pendlewood and view our plans. We looked at the designs, discussed and swapped any ideas and from there a brilliant playground was approved!"
CONSTRUCTION STAGE by Alan Pendlewood (Managing Director)
"The Construction of the HMS Forefield took a fair amount of time, a huge amount of skill and a tremendous amount of hard work! Not only is the ship extremely large to craft and assemble but it is also packed with so many challenges and obstacles that they all took up a lot of time being made to exact sizes and then set to fit within the HMS Forefield.
For example our (incredibly skilled) team of joiners had to incorporate some incredibly complex challenges such as fitting mirrors, complete with Moon and Star shapes, into the crawl tunnel that runs underneath the ship's decking level. There were also a large mast, chalkboards, a specially created Captains' Chair and steering wheel and the likes of the Cargo Net that needed fitting safely to the side of the ship.
I can only commend the lads on the difficult but outstanding job they did. I think that attending the Opening Ceremony and seeing the smiles and gasps of surprise on the children's faces made all the stress and hard work more than worthwhile!"
INSTALLATION STAGE by Paul Heaton (Workshop Manager)
"The ship was put together in the workshop but was so huge we had to order 2 delivery vans to take it the 15 miles or so from Skelmersdale to Crosby. In fact the structures were so big they actually required a police escort!
Once we arrived at the site we had a tight deadline to work to - it was the summer holidays and we needed it fully installed and approved by Health & Safety and Playground Inspectors before the children returned for the new school year!
Luckily all my staff did a sterling job, functioning as a great team and getting the job done way ahead of schedule. It was the biggest install we've done and probably the best also if I'm being honest; It's very rare these things go without a major hitch... but this really did!"
THE SCHOOL's VIEW by Ron Naylor (Headteacher @ Forefield Junior School)
"Everybody at Forefield Junior School is absolutely thrilled with the play area. We really enjoyed working alongside Pendlewood, who were always available, helpful and receptive to our input and needs right throughout the process.
The result was a play structure way beyond the wildest dreams of our pupils and as a result playtime has never been so enjoyable for the children... or this easy for the staff!"