Thornton special school pulls through for pupils after being forced to delay new playground plans due to Covid-19

Dedicated staff at a Thornton special school made sure children didn't miss out on fun and games after they were forced to delay plans for a new sensory playground due to Covid-19.

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 3:45 pm
Red Marsh Special School have put some of their money from Swallowdale to create two mini playground for pupils. Picture by Dan Martino
Red Marsh Special School have put some of their money from Swallowdale to create two mini playground for pupils. Picture by Dan Martino

When Red Marsh School was awarded £10,000 from the Swallowdale Trust in 2019, it was hoped the money would be used to develop a large outdoor sensory playground. But shortly after the plans were prepared, Covid-19 struck and the country was plunged into lockdown - forcing all building work to be delayed.

But teachers at the school didn't want the children to miss out on a fun playground experience, and so got to work creating two 'mini playgrounds' with some of the money provided.

Sarah Holyhead, family support worker at Red Marsh, said: "We had a company come and do us a quote for a full sensory playground and we had all the plans drawn up, we had that amazing donation from the Swallowdale Trust and other small charities, and we were very close... then of course Covid-19 happened. The very day we were supposed to have a visit from the builders, our school went into lockdown.

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Red Marsh Special School have put some of their money from Swallowdale to create two mini playground for pupils. Picture by Dan Martino

"So we used some money from the Trust to renovate our corridor playground, which is a small playground between two classrooms.

"We built two play zones, and put up some benches which we will be able to move into the larger play area when it's finally built. We have got some lovely sensory artwork, some chalkboards for the children to draw on. We've got two play stations with tables at special heights for our children to access, which can be filled with water or sand."

The school still hopes to use the rest of the money from the Swallowdale Trust, as well as donations from other charities and school funding, to create a much larger sensory playground later in the year.

Sarah said: "I have got an appointment next month with the company that gave us the original quote and we're just going to go for it. What we have is what we havem and we're hope to have it all done by the autumn."

Red Marsh Special School have put some of their money from Swallowdale to create two mini playground for pupils. Picture by Dan Martino

Applications for this year's Swallowdale Trust £10k giveaway are now open. To apply, email [email protected]