Project information

Yerbury Discovery Playground Project

We have launched the Yerbury Discovery Playground Project (YDPP) because our playground is in urgent need of repair. Research shows the importance of outdoor play for young children’s educational as well as physical, social and emotional development. We have a vision for an amazing transformation.

September 2010 - September 2014

Charity information: Yerbury Home School Association

Yerbury Home School Association logo
  • Need


    The Yerbury Playground is outdated and in urgent need of repair. There has been no capital investment in our outdoor space in the last 30 years and some of the play surfaces are unsafe. School initiatives that extend classroom learning by taking small groups out of class for focussed activity are struggling to find space within the school building. We want to create outdoor space that will be safe, develop creative play and extend learning activity.


    The Yerbury Discovery Playground Project is a vision for the transformation of Yerbury’s outdoor spaces. Rather than updating with one-off improvements we have developed a Master Plan with four new zones that have been designed by a parent and professional architect in consultation with every child and teacher within the school. The Mind and Muscle zone is now the focus of our fundraising efforts. Within this zone we have designed an amphitheatre (Learning Circle) for extended outdoor learning.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To redesign and build new outdoor spaces at Yerbury School including the Mind and Muscle Zone.


    » Complete the design by May 2013 and build the Mind and Muscle zone by September 2013 with 'Learning Circle', 'Urban Jungle' and 'Trim Trail' features.

    What success will look like

    Success will be building the Mind and Muscle Zone with a Learning Circle, and it being used as an outdoor classroom and performance space by pupils and teachers.

    Aim 2

    To make the design and build process a learning opportunity for the pupils.


    » Every pupil in the school has already contributed to the Master Plan design. Further workshops with be carried out to create the final zone design.
    » Pupils will learn about and be involved in fundraising through our "Dragon's Den" initiative to raise money for the project.

    What success will look like

    Success will be pupils feeling that they have contributed to the design of their new outdoor space and therefore using and enjoying it more actively.

    Aim 3

    To extend access to community groups where there is a local need for the new outdoor facilities.


    » Carry out an audit and mapping exercise of local groups and identify where there is a need for an outdoor learning/performance space.
    » Devise a plan which will meet the administrative and project management needs of a Community Access Scheme (Staffing, Insurance etc).

    What success will look like

    Success will be identifying at least 2 community groups that will use the new zone as a resource, particularly the Learning Circle or amphitheatre.

    Aim 4

    To manage the project effectively.


    » Management of the project will be carried out by the project Steering Group and a recruited Quantity Surveyor, monitored by the School Governors.

    What success will look like

    Success will be an effective build that comes in on budget and to schedule by September 2013.

    Aim 5

    To identify and secure finance for the project.


    » To hold fundraising events at the school throughout the year to raise income.
    » To encourage online donations via our new website from parents and the wider community.
    » To apply for funding from private and public sector funding sources.

    What success will look like

    Success will be raising the £50,000 for the project by May 2013, to allow for suppliers' lead-in times and to ensure a build start date of July 2013.

  • Impact


    The new Mind and Muscle zone will create a more dynamic space in our tired playground. The design will bring visually exciting elements and colour into the space that will inspire creative and physical play. The Learning Circle will alleviate the issue of lack of space in the school and bring learning outdoors. The zone will also have areas for sensory discovery (Urban Jungle) and more demanding physical play (Trim Trail). We will survey pupils and teachers about how and when they use the zone.


    The main risk is financial. There is no more capital funding from the local authority to fund this project so the parents of Yerbury have brought together a larger fundraising group to deal with this risk and supplement their ongoing events fundraising activity. We have created a website for online donations and are making applications to other public and private sector funders. We have also created a flexible design that will allow for any cash-flow constraints.


    Donors will receive the monthly school newsletter with updates on progress for the build of the Mind and Muscle zone and be invited to an opening event when completed (if donors provide contact details).

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £29,400 Materials (timber seating, raised platform, cladding, trim trail etc)
      £4,000 Planting and lighting (planters and plants, lighting and sound
      £5,100 Resurfacing safety surfaces
      £5,000 Labour for build
      £4,000 Project management Quantity Surveyor
      £2,500 Contingency at 5%

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    The Morris Trust £5,000 Guaranteed
    The Mercers' Company £1,500 Guaranteed
    School fundraising events £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Islington is the 5th most deprived borough in London and has the 2nd highest level of child poverty in England where 49% of children in the borough live in poverty. Nearly ¾ of the most deprived children in Islington live in overcrowded accommodation. Islington has the least open space of any London Borough, which is why outdoor space is so important to our pupils. Yerbury Primary School is the largest primary school in the borough with 482 pupils aged 3-11.


    Yerbury responds to the needs of a wide range of beneficiaries. Yerbury is ranked above the 80th percentile nationally for the percentage of children from minority ethnic groups. There are 38 children with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, including 7 with statements and 20 with physical or sensory disabilities. Outdoor space for socialisation and inclusion is essential to ensuring our equality aims for our pupils. Local community groups in need of space and facilities will also benefit.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are a group of dedicated and proactive parents and teachers with key skills across design/architecture, consultation, communication, project management and fundraising. The school have long-identified the need to develop the outdoor spaces and the parents are fully supportive of the initiative. The YHSA have agreed that funds raised through YHSA activity will go towards financing the playground project. and we have raised 35% of the budget of the Mind and Muscle zone to date.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Venetia Wolfenden

    Venetia Wolfenden, parent and professional architect, is giving her time and expertise in kind to consult on and design the new spaces.

    Anthony Mirams

    Deputy Head Anthony Mirams, who has been at the school for over 10 years, is on the Steering Group and will lead on effective project management.

    Claire Segal

    Claire Segal, parent and professional fundraiser with over 10 years experience, is part of the Fundraising Group (giving her time and skills in kind).

    Mary Gibson

    Mary Gibson, Headteacher, overseeing the project, has been teaching for 42 years in Islington and was awarded an MBE in 2010 for public service.

'The redesigned playground will make maths lessons outside much easier to manage, more fun and more productive.’

Margaret O’Neil (Yerbury School Maths Coordinator)