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Friday, May 11, 2007
School with no playground
No, this is not about a failing inner-city school that has been found to have no outside space, but the most expensive new flagship school that is being designed not to have a playground. I thought this was quite an extraordinary story. The Foster-designed school in Cambridge will treat its pupils like employees so, it is believed, they will not require free time outside. What this says about our approach to workplaces is also somewhat weird. Most workers leave their office for lunch, even if only to stroll to the local sandwich shop - a degree of freedom the school's pupils will not be allowed.

There are sports pitches, but no playgrounds - and an argument is being made that this will reduce bullying. But bullies do not need playgrounds to operate - and children do need spaces to learn to socialise and negotiate public behaviour. And in a word of warning the article ends:

'A school without a playground has been tried before - at Unity city academy in Middlesbrough, said to be modelled on a Tuscan mountain village. Two years ago, Ofsted said it was a "failing" school, with the lack of playground contributing to "the negative attitudes of the pupils". The school hurriedly got itself a playground.'


Anonymous Rob said...


You wouldn't catch me sending my kids there. Makes me want to reach for my Herman Hertzbgerger book and see what he had to say about playgrounds.

9:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kids goal is recess...too much energy..too much home stress...need to unwind with friends and have fun

6:34 pm  

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