Playground changes planned at Seal Primary Academy

‘CRAMPED’ conditions have led a school to seek to extend its current playground.

The Seal Primary Academy in Selsey has made an application to Chichester District Council to increase the size of the current site.

In an Ofsted inspection of November, 2011, the report stated behaviour at lunchtimes was ‘boisterous at times’ and in its design and access statement, the school said this was because of 352 children being cramped on to a playground far too small for that number of children to play safely.

The school added in its application: “As a result the school employed additional staff to supervise the children; this is currently an extra annual cost of £11,000 which could be better directed towards teaching resources in order to raise attainment across the school.

“Despite the additional staffing, the small space means that conflict between pupils unable to have the space they need to exercise continues.

“This has had a direct impact on attainment in lessons after break times because of the time spent sorting out conflict which could have been avoided if children were not so tightly packed in on the playground and had room to exercise.

“Since the arrival of a new headteacher in January, 2013, the roll has gradually risen from 342 in October, 2012, to 374 in April, 2013, with the roll rising weekly.

“As a result, the playground is now woefully too small to safely accommodate this larger number of children.

“Full capacity is 420 and, with the current rate of rise in pupil numbers, this figure is likely to be reached in the academic year 2013-14.

“At full capacity the cramped space is likely to become a health and safety issue and will have a clear detrimental impact on both behaviour and standards across the school.”

If successful, the application would see the existing hard-play area extended and linked to two independent hard-play areas to allow all children at the school to be able to interact.

The school has also proposed to provide a soft-play surface under climbing apparatus.

The school has claimed the extension of the playground would contribute to a decrease in conflicts between pupils and raise standards of educational attainment.