Army of 20,000 Volunteers Needed To Boost Outdoor Play

Source – BBC News – By Judith Burns

An army of 20,000 volunteers will be needed for a new initiative to help children play safely outdoors, say campaigners. They will be asked to help build new playgrounds, staff existing ones, run play schemes and street parties. The government has given £2m to help local groups boost outdoor play in their communities. Campaign group Play England says children should be able to play outside after school or in the holidays.

The group’s director Catherine Prisk said: “Playing outside, chalking on the pavement. climbing trees and riding your bike are simple pleasures that many of today’s children are missing out on. “Play is essential for children’s health and happiness now, and for making friends, building key skills for the future and for feeling you are part of a community.”

‘Never climbed a tree’

The money, from the Big Society Fund, will be divided among 17 local and national organisations dedicated to improving facilities and opportunities for play. The organisations will match fund the government award. According to Clare Colvine of Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau, volunteers will be asked to help according to their skills. “For example one person could be asked to help dig a paddling pool but someone with good web skills might be asked to construct an online map of outdoor play facilities in particular area,” she said.

A growing body of research has found that today’s children do not have the same chances to play outside as their parents. For example a survey published by Play England last year showed that one third of today’s children had never built a den or climbed a tree. One in ten said they had never ridden a bike. Figures from the same survey, conducted by OnePoll last June, revealed that seven out of 10 families felt that taking their children to an outside space to play was a real treat.

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd said: “this is all part of our drive to create a bigger stronger society where people are empowered to make a difference to their community.” The 17 organisations involved have formed the Free Time Consortium which will not only improve play in their own areas but produce resource and information packs for other groups hoping to follow suit.

The consortium includes groups in Tyneside, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes and Plymouth

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University of Derby plans £9m sports facilities upgrade

Source – BBC News

The University of Derby is planning a £9m expansion of its sports facilities including a new sports hall. The complex would be located on the university’s Kedlestone campus and, if approved, would be finished in 2013.

Director of Derbyshire Sport David Joy said the university needed new facilities to compete with nearby sport centres like Loughborough. The facilities, including a two-storey pavilion, would be open to both students and the local community.

‘Outward looking’

A university spokesman said it was aiming to be in the top 50 universities for sport in the UK by 2017. “We are very much in the early stages of this project – considering the best ways in which to take our commitment to sport forward,” estates director Ian Willgoose said.

Mr Joy said: “The facilities at the university are really quite old now compared to lots of other universities in the region and further afield – they are really past their sell-by date.

“The university is very outward looking and clubs from outside the university already use the sports facilities at the Kedlestone campus and this is a logical extension of that.” Derby City Council has recently announced plans for a £20m sports and concert venue at Pride Park, including a velodrome, which is expected to open in 2014.

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Parents fear ‘supersize’ primary schools, says Netmums

Source from –  BBC News education correspondent by Sean Coughlan

 Parents are worrying that a shortage of places is creating “supersize” primary schools, according to the Netmums website. A surge in the birth rate in some areas has meant a rapid expansion of schools, with temporary classrooms added. A survey of mothers’ experiences on Netmums found concerns about children being “overwhelmed” at big schools.

Parents reported their reservations about primary schools that in some cases now had more than 700 pupils. “The rising birth rate means we are seeing the birth of mega primaries,” said Netmums’ founder, Siobhan Freegard.

Official forecasts last month showed that an extra 450,000 primary places will be needed in England between 2010 and 2015. Many local authorities are under pressure to find room for such an expansion – such as building temporary “bulge” classrooms.

But the Netmums website says there is disquiet among parents – with fears that expansion will change the character of primary schools and the pressure on places will make it harder to get a first choice place.More than a thousand parents contributed to a discussion about the places shortage. Although not a representative sample, it showed parents voicing concerns about schools with a one-form entry becoming schools with a two- or three-form entry. In some cases, parents said there were now up to five primary classes in a single year.

“It can make smaller children feel overwhelmed,” said one of the Netmums contributors, who expressed concern about less attention to individual pupils and fears about bullying and gangs.

“I think that big schools will definitely affect some children, especially quiet, less confident kids,” wrote another.

“Our city has increased so much in the last six-seven years, but building one more small school was nowhere near enough judging by the struggle for places.”

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Bespoke Playground Markings

Our Thermoplastic playground markings are a fantastic way of bringing the school playground to life. Our design team are often asked to work on bespoke ideas for thermoplastic playground markings and it provides a great chance for them to get their creative juices flowing.

From animals to pirate-inspired adventure trails, our designers can bring most requests and ideas to life and turn them into fun and exciting ways to enhance the school playground. Starting with a few simple sketches, our designers work out the best ways to make the most of the available space and begin to come up with concepts for the bespoke playground markings. Once an initial idea has been put together, it is priced up to ensure that it is a realistic option based on the school’s budget. When our team are happy with both the design and the cost, the playground markings are brought to life in a 3D CAD programme and presented to the school for feedback.

When the school is happy with the design and has placed an order, we send out our CRB vetted installation teams to start laying the thermoplastic in the designated playground area. Featuring a glass bead additive to provide a non-slip surface, our markings are burnt onto tarmac or concrete and are ready to use within just 15 minutes of being laid.

Our playgrounds come with a 3 year guarantee but are likely to last for up to 10 years, requiring little to no maintenance whilst keeping their bright, vivid appearance – the perfect solution for brightening up your outdoor space!

This Summer, the design department are busy working on a brand new playground concept based on the fundamental movements of dance. Featuring 7 basic dance moves, the playground markings are intended to get children moving throughout their time at school and provide them with a new and exciting way of developing their fundamental movement skills. With the design process in full swing, we are working hard to make sure that our new range of playground markings are just as successful as our popular Multi-skills, MADE and Kandu Zones.

To find out more about our brand new range of dance markings and to follow their progress from start to finish, keep checking our news section or contact us here for more information.

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