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PopUpPitch MUGA refurbishment at West London Free School

The Challenge:

To provide a safe, all weather, multi-sport areas. The surface needed to be suitable for hockey, netball and cricket. The school site is small with only tarmac outdoor spaces available for sports use. We needed multiple areas that responded to the needs and technical aspects of a high quality sporting education – for example the ‘squeeze’ technique in hockey. 

The performance surface must work well when wet or dry and the cushioning of the surface has resulted in little or no injury.

Meeting the Challenge:

We initially laid three PopUpPitch areas. The largest covered our ‘basketball’ caged space and opened up the possibility of introducing hockey on the school site. Previous to laying a PopUpPitch this area was out of bounds when wet due to H&S. The lunchtime and after school sessions we are now able to run have contributed to a very high level of performance by the children. The PopUpPitch performance surface has been very responsive to all the needs of hockey. It has played like a true water based astroturf when wet and has enabled numerous skills to be taught which would have otherwise not been possible. The second space was a 4 lane 20 metre running PopUpTrack which is particularly useful in PE lessons for fitness testing. The third space was a square area which was used for small sided PopUpCourt games and various fitness tests. 

We did however experience problems in very strong winds, which could lift the tiles up. This problem was solved by PopUpArena providing a special tape to stick the EVA Ramped edges down to the tarmac. This has proved to be a successful solution and has enabled us to lay a PopUpWicket for cricket on the playground and transform the hockey pitch into a cricket pitch as well. We understand that a new heavyweight ramp edge is in production and this will prevent lifting in the future.

Impact:

The difference this has all made has been very significant. The learning of the pupils has clearly been enhanced through the quality of the surface and the variety it enables. The pupils always want to use the PopUpArena areas, whether it be a break time or during a formal Physical Education setting. The attitude of the children is very positive and they have pride over the facility in keeping it in good condition. Before we introduced the PopUpArena with the school being based in busy West London, most sporting activities were off site. Now we are able to hold many extra sessions on site due to this facility. Children now bring their own hockey equipment to play with at lunchtime, if not involved in a structured session, both of which would have been impossible previously. We are seeing participation rates soar and much enthusiasm generated in the pupils.

Specific example of a young person to benefit:

There are many children who have benefited from not only an increase in participation but also in an improved technical ability. Ridah Bouhiaoui, the inside right for the U13A hockey team has learnt and developed the ‘squeeze’ skill and regularly uses this to impressive effect in school matches, such as county competition. Other children who do not play in the teams have also been able to see others practicing. They copy the skills being taught and develop the confidence to replicate them in activities such as house competition.

Why did it work?

The simplicity of configuring and laying out the surface led to the project being very successful. The storage and portability of the PopUpArena is also relatively easy. The lack of a real sporting facility on the school site had often been highlighted previously but this solution has enabled us to have one and furthermore it has boosted the profile and quality of the sport at the West London Free School.


The lack of a real sporting facility on the school site had often been highlighted previously but this solution has enabled us to have one and furthermore it has boosted the profile and quality of the sport at the West London Free School.” 

 Sam Naismith | Headmaster