Term and Holiday Dates 2017

Autumn Term: 05 Sept '16 - 21 Oct '16
Autumn Term: 31 Oct '16 - 21 Dec '16
Spring Term: 03 Jan '17 - 10 Feb '17
Spring Term: 20 Feb '17 - 31 Mar '17
Summer Term: 18 Apr '17 - 26 May '17
Summer Term: 05 Jun '17 - 21 July '17

(Use as a guide only. Dates may differ between regions, please check you local area here).

By Jon Alexander 18 Apr, 2017

The Academies Show is the leading free-to-attend event for schools and academies. Bringing together education professionals, key decision makers and high quality service providers, the show offers unrivalled networking opportunities and the tools to better understand the latest education policies. The event includes conferences and hands-on theaters, as well as many key note speakers .

The Playcubed team are looking forward to meeting you and discussing your playground ideas at stand 546.

When: Wednesday 26th April 2017, 09:00 - 16:30
Where: Excel London. ( View on maps )
Tickets: FREE, must be pre-booked online. Tickets can be booked here .
Event website:  www.academiesshow.london/

Venue and travel information can be found here .
By Jon Alexander 08 Feb, 2017

Play England's release,  Charter for Children’s Play,   describes play as: ‘what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons.’ Play should be freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people should be able to determine and control their play by following their own instincts, ideas and interests.

Play has also frequently been described as ‘what children and young people do when they are not being told what to do by adults’ . Many adults think that play is unnecessary; however play is a vital part of childhood and is necessary for every child’s healthy development. Through play children are able to develop the skills and abilities they will require as they grow older . Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity that is fundamental to the healthy growth, development and well-being of individuals and communities. 

It can take many forms; how a child plays is unique to him or her. For some, playing can be doing nothing in particular, it can mean doing lots, being boisterous, showing off, being contemplative, overcoming difficulties...etc. Through play children explore the world and learn to take responsibility for their own choices . Play can be sociable or solitary, play can help children to climb, swing, gallop and chase. It can help them to try new things out, push boundaries , develop confidence, explore and experiment the world around them. You can read more on the benefits of play here .

Having time and space to play gives children the opportunity to meet and socialise with their friends, keeps them physically active, and gives the freedom to choose what they want to do. Play supports children to move through each stage of their development naturally, allowing them to make friends, come to terms with difficulties, follow their instincts, think and learn from others. When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives, 'playing' and 'friends' is usually at the top of the list!

By Jon Alexander 06 Feb, 2017

Here we explore the top reasons why Artificial Grass has become so popular in schools:


Maxmise the use of your space

Artificial Grass fully utilises the space your school has by making it available for all-year-round use. Often schools have areas of natural turf which, whilst great in the warmer months, cannot be used during the winter. Such areas are prone to becoming boggy in the wet, and normally take such high footfall that they are more akin to mud patches than grass areas! This is where artificial grass comes into its own – it is ready for action all-year-round and stays looking it’s best even after years of heavy use! By choosing Artificial Grass you are maximising the use you can get out of your outdoor areas.


Minimal Maintenance

Artificial grass requires minimal maintenance, and even then a simple regular brush over is virtually all it needs. No more weeding, mowing or watering. You can read more on this in our Artificial Grass Easy 5 Step Maintenance Guide .


At last, Clean Uniforms!

The parents will thank you! Investing in artificial grass spells the end of muddy, grass-stained uniforms and footprints in the corridor!


It Blends in with the Natural Surroundings

A further benefit of Artificial Grass is that it’s unobtrusive to the eye. Like natural turf in appearance and colour, artificial grass blends in with natural surroundings without looking ugly or drawing attention to itself (that said, there are plenty of coloured options if you're after something ‘louder’).  In fact it’s becoming more and more popular as a domestic garden surface due to its pristine appearance.


Add some Style!

If you have a larger area, artificial grass is a great way to add some style to your playground! It can be mixed with other artificial surfaces , cut into shapes or patterns or used with contrasting colours with amazing results. Take a look at the surfacing in these projects at The Rise School and  Plumcroft Primary School .


Save Long Term

Artificial Grass enables you to save on maintenance and labour costs.


Soften the Blows

Although not a safety surface in it's own right (more on that below), Artificial Grass does have impact absorbing qualities, helping to cushion falls and making it a safe option over other playground surfaces.


Keep it safe

When installed with our optional UltraMat, artificial grass is a compliant safety surface. This means it can be used beneath playground equipment to meet safety regulations and satisfy fall height criteria.


If you considering having Artificial Grass installed at your school please contact us on 01322 279799 , send us an email or fill out an online enquiry here .

By Jon Alexander 03 Feb, 2017

A Themed Play Area is an area that replicates a real life situation. For example a library, a fire station, a theatre, jungle themes, historical scenes, space…the only limits are your imagination! Our bespoke design service means we can take your ideas for any theme (within reason) and create it into a feasible and compliant play space. We have recently installed areas themed to The Railway Children and X-Factor!

Themed play brings a number of unique benefits to children’s development.

By Jon Alexander 17 Jan, 2017

Propose something different!

Lots of schools will be applying for funding for an outdoor learning area. Can you make your project stand out by theming it with a focus on healthy living, wildlife or the arts? The project needs to be original and creative, whilst also being relevant and current.


Share it out

Think how the new development can be used, not only by the school children , but also  the wider community. Could community groups use the facility in the evenings or at weekends? Could you make ball courts or grassed pitches available? Is there a heritage or ecological aspect that could be exploited – could the space be used for community research or local history? Consider the use of the facility during the holidays for a school holiday camp. Your application will carry more weight if their are wider beneficiaries than just your school.


Get community buy in

Consult the community before you prepare your bid. This can include questionaires to pupils and parents, making contact with local youth groups, community organisations and voluntary groups. Find out whether they could use your space and what they would use it for. Early consultation can help you design a project that will benefit as many people as possible, strengthening your bid for funds. Include quotes from children and potential beneficiaries to make your bid stand out. Advise on how the new area will improve the users health and well-being, with the inclusion of outdoor gym equipment or a trim trail .


Take the initiative

Its worth showing some initiative by arranging some fundraising events yourselves. Whilst it may feel your putting yourself out for such a small proportion of the funds, it puts your application in a more positive light in the eyes of decision makers. School Discos, Quiz Nights, Sponsor Challenges, Fun Days, Talent Shows, Raffles, Jumble Sales, Car Washes and Bake Sales are all possible fundraising ideas!


Avoid Assumptions

Never assume that a funding body, whether local, regional or national, is familiar with your community, your school, the geographical area, local issues or your educational track record/reputation. Always include a context for your project that demonstrates your expertise as a school and the need for the project.


Write well

Good writing is the key to a good proposal. When presenting your bid, write in clear bold sentences. Don’t use acronyms or jargon. Use active language that is positive and persuasive; 'this project is necessary because...' rather than 'If this project doesn't happen...'. It may be worth contacting a bid writing company to get it done professionally. 

 

A thoroughly researched scheme with imaginative ideas, and a well written proposal is far more likely to succeed in securing funding. Visit our funding page for contact details of some funding groups.

More Posts

The endangered school playground

  • By Jon Alexander
  • 13 Jun, 2016

With schools under pressure to provide more classroom spaces, the need to utilise your outdoor space has never been more important.

With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate, particularly in our inner cities.

Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play, and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand.

Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result of a baby boom, coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century.

Companies such as Playcubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Experts and studies constantly agree that play and the benefits it provides help children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities, then will that learning benefit disappear?

Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected.

Schools located in the rolling countryside are less affected, often having ample outdoor space available - maybe even a couple of playing fields chucked in too. If your school is one of these, you're fortunate. The issue climaxes in the towns and cities, especially around the London areas, where demand for classroom spaces is high and ever-increasing. Building development schemes in such areas are rife, meaning the opportunity cost of an open space (playground) is very high. And as the construction schemes continue, more and more housing becomes available, increasing the pressure on school spaces even more as local populations rise.

Experts such as Playcubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being.

Until recently schools had to provide a specific amount of  outdoor space per child for team games, depending on the number of pupils they educated. But that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play.

It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms.

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