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Climbing Frame, to mat or not to mat!


Phil
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Hi all

We have been very lucky in that the school PE budget has paid for our new wooden climbing frame.

However I have been trying to write the risk assessment and have hit a few issues and wondered if anyone had any ideas.

 

It was suggested that I could find a Risk assessment on line and use that - nothing has come of my hours searching

then

It was suggested by another that we did not need to use matts with PE equipment anymore.

am confused now, in the A-Z book they show the climbing frame with mats and sell them seperately, we did not buy these as we still have the old ones from our previous frame.

 

Thanks

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The last I heard was that the Riddor guidelines were that if there was a falling height of more than a metre (so feet are ever more than a metre off the ground) you needed extra protection eg matting. We had a child break their elbow falling off a tiny little tikes slide onto grass! They confirmed that as the falling height was less than a metre then there was nothing else we should have done in terms of the flooring/ protection. Hope that helps x

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From a school PE point of view, we use wall bars (you know the ones you pull out that go nearly to the ceiling). Our guidelines (AfPE) are that we do not use mats unless the child is supposed to be jumping onto them. Mats provide a unrealsitic sign of protection and encourage children to climb higher than they feel safe because they think that if they fall it will be a soft landing - which actually it won't even with a mat there. Children have to be taught to manage appropriate risk in this (well supervised) situation. However, that's not to say that an outdoor piece of climbing apparatus doesn't require some sort of protection around it!

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Is it in or out ? We use mats but want to change them but cannot find the required thickness for safety ! I know about the metre height thing and I must say the false sense of security with mats is interesting as I feel if we did not have mats we would have less jumping.

Outside we have climbing frame too but no extra matting just grass .

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This is interesting. I recently read of a head teacher in New Zealand who decided to allow risk. He told all the staff to stop saying NO, DONT, BE CAREFUL...The result was that the children had fewer accidents and there was less telling tales 'he did this, she did that'

I tried it very briefly when we were using the school grounds, they've got a fab outdoor area. One staff had told the children they couldnt go onto a piece of equipment (A frame with climbing handles one side and smooth boards with rope the other) anymore because she wasnt able to supervise it, so I suggested we tell them if they could go on it but only as far as they felt safe and not to ask for help. I stood back and watched, some went over, some climber part way, but all of them knew themselves when to stop, when they didnt feel safe..

At playgroup yesterday we had our whole climbing frame out and helped every child to complete the climb they were attempting. with words of warning as well as encouragement, but I'm sure the New Zealand way taught the children more.

Mats: No idea :D

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Yes and 2/3 adults supervising the various 'danger' spots. Many years ago the climbing frame could be accessed however the children wanted but a child slipped off the bottom of the slide and broke her collar bone. Mother sued and since then the climbing frame has had a real hold on us.

The thing is, you cant foresee every risk, we didnt foresee that slipping off the end, when your feet are within inches of the floor could result in such an injury. To be honest I think they're more of a tripping hazard!

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We are really careful about saying 'careful' when they're trying things too since I read an article about children being so fearful of everything (can't remember where I read it) . Obviously sometimes we do say careful but with certain things deliberately don't, just keep an eye! Accidents happen, thankfully when the child we had broke their elbow the parents were super understanding and the hospital said it was just one of those things, short of having an empty space accidents are bound to happen! Just usually they aren't quite so bad!

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I tread something recently about the language we use. Something to do with using the words 'that was tricky' against the words 'tried hard'. If I can find it I'll pop back, but it was a tweet so may be buried for ever!

Edited by Rea
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During our PE session we have a very large climbing frame out with no mats under it. According to the PE coordinator mats give a false sense of security and that they aren't thick enough to protect anyway. I have been really impressed with how well my class have explored it (its the first time we have had it out with FS2). It's the same with other types of apparatus we don't have mats for them to jump on to, they jump on to the fall if and when they feel ready. I really emphasis its about them doing things that they are comfortable with.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We have an answer! acciording to the H&S guy at county the answer is in the PE book and that says mat .

So this week the children have enjoyed having the climbing frame out again!

 

Thanks for all your help

xx

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