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Boris Johnson opens NEW Fresh Air Fitness Outdoor Gym at Cowley St Laurence Primary School

EDUCATION

Cowley St Laurence Primary school is one of 5 schools within Frays Academy Trust. Having seen the success of the outdoor gyms installed into sister schools, Cowley St Laurence were keen to install an outdoor gym at their school for their children to benefit from too.

Background

Head of School, Mr Davies “At my previous school we had one installed and we saw the benefits of that, we wanted something that would be long lasting and the children would get excited about and that they could use throughout the day, particularly at lunchtimes and breaktimes. The school wanted to ensure that children stayed more active throughout the day, especially during breaktimes and that they had variety during their PE lessons and afterschool clubs to boost engagement. Shaun McAuley, Director of Sport ‘It has been hugely successful in our other schools throughout the trust. It’s really increased physical development levels. Structured playtimes have been really good in terms of behaviour management. Afterschool clubs have improved in terms of participation levels. Lots of children are now signing up.

The Challenge

To make this project possible, the school needed to secure funding, which they successfully secured from The Big Community Lottery Fund. To cater for the large number of children the gym needed to have a high number of user stations whilst staying within budget. With concerns over childhood obesity levels, the school needed a solution that would benefit every child, even those who wouldn’t normally choose to be physically active during breaktimes and playtimes. It needed to look exciting and inviting. Enjoying the equipment would be key to increasing levels of participation in more active after school clubs too.

Our Solution

Fresh Air Fitness supplied and installed a nine-piece outdoor gym from their Children’s KS1 & 2 range of equipment. The selected products were chosen for several reasons. They are fun to use, getting the whole body moving, swinging or cycling. They are social pieces, many for 2, 3 or 4 children to use together, great for break and lunchtimes when friends want to take the opportunity to chat and catch up at the same time. Positioning of the equipment was key. They can be found in the playground in a clearly designated area, facing toward each other, so that children using the single pieces e.g. the Arm and Pedal Bike, still feel part of the group using the gym and can still communicate with friends. Of course, as well as providing this fun and exciting environment, the products also provide a variety of physical benefits. Cardiovascular equipment, including the new Cardio Combi, Air Skier, Elliptical Cross Trainer, Double Cross-Country Skier and Rider. These really elevate the heart rate, get the children moving and burning energy. They also build strength in the arms, legs and core muscles. Children used to regular physical activity can move at a faster pace, while those who don’t can move at a slower rate, building up stamina and fitness overtime. While two Arm and Pedal Bikes, a Hip Twister and a Seated Leg Press, facilitate whole body strength building, tone, flexibility, balance and coordination. The nine-piece gym provided 17 user stations allowing 17 children can use the gym at once.

The Feedback

Following the grand opening, by local MP Boris Johnson, there was huge delight that the children could use their new outdoor gym. “It was fantastic to have Boris Johnson here to open this new gym equipment. This new apparatus will have a hugely positive impact to the wellbeing of local young people, and we’re grateful to National Lottery players for making this a possibility”, said Mr McAuley. “We chose to work with Fresh air Fitness on this project because it's a company that we’ve worked with before at our other schools and we found them a very good company to work with. I certainly think it’s something other people should consider. It’s a fantastic company to work with, it's been a really easy process and the equipment itself is very good and the children will enjoy it for years to come”, said Mr Davies. Mr Davies added “If another school was looking to make a similar purchase, I would definitely recommend Fresh Air Fitness. The equipment is very good for promoting high levels of fitness, its something enjoyable for the children and in a time when obesity is on the rise, it’s certainly something that I think other people should consider.” This was echoed by Mr McAuley, “It makes the playground look really exciting. I would recommend Fresh Air Fitness gyms to anyone”.

If another school was looking to make a similar purchase, I would definitely recommend Fresh Air Fitness. The equipment is very good for promoting high levels of fitness and it’s something enjoyable for the children

MR DAVIES, COWLEY ST LAURENCE PRIMARY SCHOOL

It makes the playground look really exciting. I would recommend Fresh Air Fitness gyms to anyone

SHAUN MCAULEY, DIRECTOR OF SPORT, FRAYS ACADEMY

The Benefits

  •  Pupils are building cardiovascular and muscular strength while developing balance, co-ordination and flexibility.
  •  The gym allows 17 children to exercise at one time and the supporting lesson plan guides teachers through using the gym with a class of up to 30 pupils.
  •  The facility is now being used during PE lessons, complementing the curriculum, and as part of general break time and as an afterschool club.
  •  “We’ll be using the gym for athletics, to improve different parts of their body and health and fitness. We’ll also use it for National Sports Week, we love going to the gym and this give the kids the chance to experience their own personal gym” Shaun McAuley
  •  The gym will also improve physical literacy, social interaction and confidence. Supporting mental health and a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity.
  •  “What I like most about the outdoor gym is that its versatile and more than one child can use it at the same time and there is plenty of different equipment that they can use that promotes fitness in different parts of their body” Mr Davies
  •  With a 25 years guarantee, the new gym has provided an additional PE and sports facility that will be used by hundreds of children, benefitting pupils who already attend the school and those joining the school in future years.

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