Children playing on new school decking

Local pre-school decked out with help from National Grid

Mark First and Pre-school CE Academy receives £9,861

Based on the Somerset Levels in the village of Mark, near Burnham-on-Sea, Mark First and Pre-school CE Academy provides an enriching education environment for local children. With the help of a £9,861 grant from National Grid’s Community Grant Fund, the school was able to rejuvenate its outdoor play area.

The pre-school’s outdoor area had become a hazard for the children. With decking that was slippery when wet, the pre-school had little choice but to close that area off for use for the safety of the pupils.

In a bid to open this area up and encourage outdoor play, the pre-school sought to build a permanent polycarbonate cover. With help from National Grid’s funding, Mark First and Pre-school CE Academy was able to complete phase two of their renovation and rejuvenation project; meaning that they could extend the time when the decked play area could be used.

The funding provided also helped fund the creation of a new tarmac path to connect the sheltered play area to the garden, helping open up nature to young pupils while at school. In addition, the school was able to finance the purchase and construction of a new shed, which houses the outdoor play equipment, planters to allow the pupils to grow their own food and an upgraded sandpit to encourage imaginative play.

The Community Grant Fund has improved the play provisions for pupils and has enabled staff to extend the range of planned learning opportunities available. Children are now able to access the outdoors all year round and in all weathers.

The new decking and pathway will encourage imaginative play for years to come.

Cheryl Bull, Early Years Lead Teacher, said, “We would like to thank the Hinkley Connection Project for the grant funding. It has made a huge difference to the Pre-School provision available to parents. Our children now have direct access to the outdoors, where they are able to explore and extend their learning even further.”

Stephen Haskayne, Senior Project Manager on the Hinkley Connection Project, commented: “It's a delight to see the Community Grant Fund helping young people access the outdoors at Mark First and Pre-school CE Academy. The new decking and pathway will encourage imaginative play for years to come.”