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Children at a County Durham primary school are making even more of the outdoors thanks to an equipment donation from a regional employer.

The Banks Group has given Collierley Primary School in Dipton a number of new, surplus items from its nearby Bradley surface mine for use in its exciting outdoor play area, including extra-wide corrugated pipes that are being used as tunnels or slides or can be utilised however the children see fit.

The new resources have been added to a growing woodland and garden space at the school, which has seen new play resources including a digging area, mud kitchen, road, scooters and rollover bars put in place over the last year.

Two of the tunnels have been put in the ground by the school and covered over with a mound of earth to make them secure for the children to crawl through.

Collierley Primary School holds an accreditation from the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPaL) Primary Programme for its commitment to providing high quality outdoor facilities for its 164 children, who range from nursery to Year Six pupils.

Earlier in the year, a party of Collierley children took part in a community archaeology day at the Bradley site, which saw them examining the excavations that had been carried out as part of the preparation of the site and learning more about both how the work had been undertaken and the history of the Pont Valley.

Angela McDermid, headteacher at Collierley Primary School, says: “Outdoor play in a safe and stimulating environment is an essential part of our day, and the children love being in the open air, whatever the weather.

“We see the benefits of the children spending time outside in terms of the development of their creativity and problem solving skills, how they work together and how they use their imaginations to do different things every day.

“The children are using the equipment that Banks has given us in all sorts of different ways, and what’s especially nice is that parents are telling us that they’re then sharing their ideas, creations and experiences with them at the end of the school day.

“The pupils who visited the Bradley site still talk about everything they learned about there to this day, and it’s great for us to now have access to some of the equipment that they saw.”

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The Collierley children were very enthusiastic and well-behaved visitors to our Bradley site, and seeing them making such good re-use of this equipment in an excellent setting is great news for everyone concerned.”

For further information on the Bradley surface mine project, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/projects/mining/bradley

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