Parents raise £25,000 to buy all-weather pitch for school

Pupils are looking forward to the new all-weather playground
Pupils are looking forward to the new all-weather playground
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A PRIMARY school which has failed to meet basic PE targets is set to receive new all-weather sports facilities to boost its poor record – thanks to a £25,000 fundraising drive by parents.

Pupils from St Mary’s Primary, in Broughton, only received an average of one hour and 15 minutes of PE per week over the past year, compared with the recommended minimum of two hours.

This has largely been put down to the lack of facilities at the East London Street school, which have been described as “degraded” and “unsafe”, with children often tripping and falling on the playground’s uneven concrete surface.

Parents decided to take matters into their own hands and launched a major fundraising drive to raise enough cash to pay for a new all-weather pitch which will allow children to play football, netball, basketball and tennis.

In just three years, they have managed to raise the £25,000 needed.

Fiona Bradley, chair of the school’s parent council, said: “The back playground is very old and degraded and basically trips children up.

“Children fall over and various people who try to run football clubs at the school say it’s really not safe.

“The money will pay for an all-weather pitch which is much softer.

“We are hoping that it will be in place by the end of next term.”

Fundraising events have included summer barbecues, Christmas fairs, a sponsored spellathon, and a parents and teachers quiz night.

Parents also made calendars, which they sold in aid of the playground facilities.

Local councillor Joanna Mowat, who also has a child at St Mary’s, said: “The sports facilities at St Mary’s are basically a large bit of crumbling Tarmac at the back of the school. It’s an inner city school, we don’t have lots of space or sports facilities.

“The new sports surface will mean they can have a five-a-side football pitch and another court for netball, basketball and tennis, which means that the kids can get outside, which they can’t really do at the moment.

“It’s been three years of non-stop fundraising.

“The parents have been absolutely fantastic.

“I have been involved on the periphery, but parents have done an incredible amount and it’s really heartening that we can all pull together and get an improved service.”

City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren added: “Well done to the parents who have raised such a considerable sum of money.

“They have really done a great job.

“It’s for such a good cause in that the school was not meeting the two hours of PE that all of us wanted it to, so this will really assist and help the children to become healthier, which is one of our key objectives.”