Children’s ideas have been used to build a pirate ship in school

A former mound of earth at Leesland Infants and Junioir School is ready for a new 'Pirate Ship' to be built. (l-r) Gracie Evans, Mikey Smith, Charlie Barton, Lily Mann and Hollie Whitear. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142597-7899)
A former mound of earth at Leesland Infants and Junioir School is ready for a new 'Pirate Ship' to be built. (l-r) Gracie Evans, Mikey Smith, Charlie Barton, Lily Mann and Hollie Whitear. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142597-7899)

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As part of an exciting transition project for the Year 2 and 3 children of the Leesland Federation in Gosport, we were set the challenge to change an unused bit of land, in our school grounds, into something exciting, writes Year 3 leader Rebecca Dyer.

We wanted the unused space to become something fun that the children could enjoy.

It’s been a hill that they have loved sliding down but it’s not safe for them to go on.

We are trying to develop our school grounds further and this is a part of that.

The pupils were sent a letter by the associate headteacher, Jackie Pick.

They were then told that they had five days to think of a plan, talk through their ideas and draw their designs which they then had to submit by the deadline.

All the children were really excited about this project and were bursting with ideas.

Some of the ideas the children came up with were castles, treehouses, forts and pirate ships.

All the children voted on the designs and a pirate ship was the most popular choice.

The final designs were displayed.

Work began on preparing the ground during the summer holidays.

Four companies have been in and given us a quote for the work. Once the ground is settled, work will begin on building the pirate ship.

It makes more use of the grounds we have got here because they are very big and spacious.

It allows the children to have an area that they can play in.

The team work involved is great.

It was the children’s idea which is brilliant.

We took them out on a trip to a local play park for them to see the other parks.

It was all part of a transition project for the Year 2 children who were moving up from the infant school to the junior school this month.

It helped the children get used to the junior school before they started their learning here.

We wanted to get them more involved in their new school.

The children came back and drew their own designs and we had a year group vote on the best one.

This project takes into account our school ethos of teamwork and creativity as well.

All the children are eagerly waiting for the project to be finished.

We are planning to have a grand opening of the ship when it’s ready, with all the children dressing up as pirates and taking part in their very own pirate day.

What the pupils say

Mikey Smith, seven, Year 3

‘I really enjoyed designing the pirate ship and I was glad to be part of it.

‘I’m looking forward to it being built and I hope it looks really nice.

‘I hope it has really fun and safe equipment for the children to play on.’

Charlie Barton, seven, Year 3

‘I’m looking forward to the pirate ship.

‘It’s going to be fantastic.

‘I think the pirate ship will be amazing because the whole of Leesland will be able to play on it.’

Holly Whitear, seven, Year 3

‘I really enjoyed the project because it was fun.

‘I liked it because we got put in a group, we came up with ideas and then we voted on the best one.

‘I’m looking forward to going on the ship on the mound.’

Gracie Evans, seven, Year 3

‘Planning the pirate ship was really good fun.

‘We got to work in a group and plan our ideas. We then voted on the best one.

‘I am really looking forward to the pirate ship being built so all the children can enjoy going on it.’

Lily Mann, seven, Year 3

‘I really enjoyed designing the pirate ship because it was fun.

‘The best bit was drawing the plan. I am really looking forward to it being built and then playing on it.’

Proof that we take pride in our art work

Leesland Junior School has been nationally recognised for outstanding contribution to arts and cultural education, writes arts co-ordinator Tim Moss.

Artsmark Gold has been awarded to the school.

We have always prided ourselves on our creative curriculum and have never let the government’s focus on core subjects marginalise the arts in our school.

It has always been part of the vision for the school using art, drama, music, dance, poetry, creative writing, animation and many others, to enhance the learning which takes place in the school and provide our pupils with really rich experiences during their time here.

Up until a few years ago, we were unaware what Artsmark entailed and that it was an award that was available to us.

Once we had reviewed the criteria which were needed to achieve Artsmark, we realised that with a bit of work and more focus on how we structure our arts provision, Leesland had the potential to obtain Artsmark Gold.

We didn’t need to change our vision or our curriculum, we just had to ensure there was a really broad and consistent coverage of the arts.

More extra curricular activities were started.

Now looking forward, we are beginning to provide our young students the opportunity to achieve an Arts Award at Discover and Explore level and will be starting a Streetspere Project with Bay House students, if we can secure funding.

We are very proud of achieving Artsmark Gold and feel that it is not just a reflection of the hard work, but a celebration of Leesland’s ongoing vision to provide the young people creative, fun, varied and exciting opportunities to express themselves.