Moorfield School, Preston
Moorfield Special School Headteacher
Mike Phelps had long feared that the dreams and desires of his pupils to push
boundaries and be "extreme" with their play, was a step too far for
the play industry... then he found Pendlewood!
The main goal he and his pupils had was fairly clear - combine extreme play with integration. However, this was even more challenging than it sounds, as we had to comply with the strict health and safety legislations attached to a DDA compliant project.
Pendlewood's design team had to bear this in mind as they went back to our HQ and started to draw up a plan to fulfil the ambitions of Mr Phelps and his pupils. The area available was relatively large but consisted of little more than tired and vacant surfaces such as grass and concrete.
We decided that a castle themed play area would be a great way to go as we could incorporate a number of various exciting play features to such a design. This included:
Undulating Bridges, A chained rolling bridge, A Twisting platform, A basketball net, Traversing walls, a Rumble Track with a water splash element and a Rope Pyramid.
The castle itself was designed to be a
huge structure that acts as the centrepiece of the playground, taking up more
than square metres and being 1.2 metres high.
So, the design was set and the vision was extreme; all that was left to do was construct this epic, ambitious area. Naturally that was easier said than done and a (near) year-long journey to construct the playground of the children's dreams followed.
Pendlewood was extremely innovative in our construction. In order to make sure everything was suitable for the children and was able to be thoroughly inclusive, regardless if their disability, a life size prototype was produced and Moorfield pupils were invited to our factory to act as ‘Test Pilots' (see image 8)! This was extremely brave of them and certainly aided the development of the play area, as it sorted out a good few issues and allowed us to gain an insight into what the pupils thought was working and what wasn't.
Following their visit we took on board the feedback and began the final construction. After some hard graft from all involved, the full project was eventually completed, installed and then passed by health & safety inspectors.
A sensational opening day, which included a guest of honour - Preston & England football legend Sir Tom Finney - saw smiles on the faces of teachers, pupils and Pendlewood staff alike! The realisation had hit everyone: The journey had been completed successfully! What was considered an impossible dream was anything but. Through the hard work of everybody connected to the project Moorfield's children could now be extreme!
The project was a hit with not just the pupils and staff of Moorfield but with the judges of the highly respected Horticultural Week Landscape & Amentity awards too, where it came 3rd in the Best Playscheme category, a national competition.