PUPILS and staff at a Wotton-under-Edge primary school are jumping for joy after the school was awarded a special accolade.

Blue Coat Primary has been recognised with a national Playwork award in the category 'Playwork in other contexts'.

The school's play coordinator, Mrs Murray picked up the playful 'woodpecker' trophy at the annual Playwork conference and award evening in Eastbourne earlier this month.

The aim of the awards is to celebrate all that is good about the playwork sector and identify people who have made a noticeable contribution and difference to the lives of those they work with.

Over the last five years Blue Coat has undertaken a whole school approach to improving outdoor play opportunities for every pupil, working alongside OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) CiC. The school has also worked with local business and charitable trusts to secure funds to transform their playground.

The primary's site now boasts a 50 tonne sandpit, a ‘Dengineering Zone’, a 400m2 Mud Kitchen and a scrap shed.

The children lead their own play and have permission to access sticks, rocks, mud and water, and are supported in learning to manage their own risks.

The Playwork award comes hot on the heels of Blue Coat’s play audit in July 2018, when the school scooped a top Outdoor Play and Learning Award (OPAL) award for its facilities.

And the assessor who visited the school was so impressed that he described it as ‘the best school for outdoor play in the UK’.

Mrs Murray said: "It is wonderful to have Blue Coat's commitment to play and a playwork approach in school recognised with this award.

"Play at Blue Coat is not a project or a short term goal – it is integrated into our everyday school life and positively benefits our pupils physically, socially and emotionally every day.

"A really special thing about our journey over the last five years is the support we have received from the whole school community; donations to support play, our parents helping to build mud kitchen furniture and mending existing equipment, or even just the not minding too much about grass stained knees, sandy toes and pockets filled with nature's treasures.

"Special thanks should go to Blue Coat PTA for providing the initial funding for the school to work with OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning CiC and, of course, to the Blue Coat pupils, for responding with such energy and enthusiasm to every new opportunity presented to them."