“Our children have access to two tarmac yards and both spaces can rapidly become dominated by our avid footballers to the detriment of all those not wishing to play ball games. The knock on effect of this is that our more vulnerable children or those with language challenges felt unsafe in the playground environment. Additionally, those with specific health care needs or mobility issues were feeling that they were being singled out with cries of ‘watch out for xxx’ drawing attention to their disability and going completely against our inclusive nature. When I heard that a young girl with severe physical difficulties was too scared to play outside for break-time I knew we needed to find a solution.”

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Having seen Smooga at Wales NAHT Conference, Lisa decided this was the perfect answer and applied to the local Community Council to help with funding. Fortunately the Community Council, recognising the pressing need to separate part of the junior playground, agreed to fund the whole project.

Lisa comments: “I was absolutely delighted when we received the funding and I was able to tell the parents of the little girl who was thinking of missing playtime all together that we had a solution. However, on the day it arrived I have to admit I thought, ‘what I have I done?’ as a mountain of blue panels appeared in the playground on a dreary November day and I wondered if it really could live up to my expectations and the promises I’d made. I’m delighted to say we have never looked back and Smooga has more than exceeded my expectations.”

Case Study Tonysguboriau Primary School Image

Smooga Impact

After just one term with their Smooga in place, the staff and pupils of Tonysguboriau Primary School are enjoying more peaceful, inclusive and safe playtimes. Lisa explains:

“We haven’t been terribly creative yet with our Smooga but simply using it to reorganise our outside space has paid dividends. The footballers now have a safe space to let off steam and demonstrate their best moves. The other space has become a more relaxed playground where our less confident children feel safer and more included in playtime.”

Added Benefits

While Lisa had rallied hard to get a Smooga for Tonysguboriau Primary School to separate one large space, she has been surprised at the other benefits. Lisa said:

“In effect we thought we were getting a fence that would protect one group from the other, what we have got with our Smooga is so much more. The height and colourful nature of Smooga is just right in that it does the job but doesn’t feel like an immobile barrier between the two sections. The whole playground feels like one space, just a much safer space for all involved. What we definitely hadn’t expected was that it’s also become a meeting place and improvised seating. Children gravitate towards our Smooga, sitting on the base to quietly chat or play more sedate games.”

Still smiling at the turnaround a lorry load of plastic playground dividers has had on Tonysguboriau Primary School’s playground, Lisa concludes:

“We could have opted for a wooden or metal fence to do the same job but thank goodness we didn’t. An immovable fence would have created a very clear barrier and segregation between the different groups and no amount of paint or murals could have overcome this. Our Smooga has paid us back many times over already especially when we see some of our most vulnerable or ALN children safely, and confidently, now enjoying the playground with their friends.”

Smooga creates a multi-use sports area and reduces playtime conflict

Smooga is perfect for creating a pitch for hockey, football, netball and rugby. Schools have also used Smooga to create an area for skating, help facilitate cross country running and some have even used the panels to create a maze! Feedback from schools tells us that the creation of a dedicated space for different activities significantly reduces playtime conflict and maximises active fun time.

Contact us for advice on the right solution for your school.