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SEN October 20, 2016

Ponds, a great learning resource for all

Who: Phoenix School, Tower Hamlets in London is a well-established special school for children from 3 to 19. They offer a rich and stimulating curriculum and have a holistic approach. Their mission statement is “to offer a positive, life enhancing education, providing opportunities for the development of each individual’s potential”

Why: Head teacher, Stewart Harris, understands the value of ponds at school, with the sensory benefits of water together with the fascinating micro worlds within and was delighted to find a great solution to the safety issues.

The solution: Stewart commissioned Creative Pond Covers Limited to cover a pond installed near to the classrooms in an unused outdoor space. The cover was designed as a clover leaf and individual leaves lift and swivel to give safe access for pond dipping and maintenance. The pond has been hugely popular and local charity Thames 21 has found that sticklebacks are very at home there and successfully breed in the pond.

With the success of the first pond, Stewart was keen to include a pond on the roof terrace of their new sixth form premises ‘Bow Building’ (Building Schools for the Future). It was designed to fit into a soothing, calm space and is a polished stainless steel abstract cover with flowing lines.

The school have now developed a neglected wooded area where their grounds adjoin the public park where they discovered another pond. They had no hesitation in commissioning a cover for this and a nature inspired cover is now installed.

The benefits: Ponds are a great habitat, particularly where there is limited outdoor space, they contain fascinating creatures and children can see life cycles and food chains in action. Outdoor learning is really important at Phoenix School and environment fortnight is a regular feature of the whole school calendar, in which all pupils are encouraged to take an active part. Using the pond across the curriculum can engage the children in subjects from Maths to ICT.

Safety concerns shouldn’t deter schools with statemented children from installing a pond. Well designed, safe and practical covers from Creative Pond Covers Limited make it easy for schools to get the most from this fabulous learning resource.

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