These kids aren't mucking around!

These kids aren’t mucking around!

Pupils at a school in Scotswood have been ‘mucking in’ to boost their learning, thanks to the creation of a muddy play pit.

The children have been developing their motor skills through creative play and where we might see just mud, these youngsters have been exploring far and wide.

Pupil Naomi said: “I want the animals or dinosaurs in here. Then we can hide them, then dig and find them.” With Pryam digging and exclaiming: “I think it’s a dinosaur tooth…it’s sharp and will tear up meat”. Ayssem added:: “It’s a swimming pool, race you! I swim so fast in the new pool – watch me!” as he ‘swam’ away.

New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) – the regeneration partnership creating new homes at The Rise development nearby – funded the works, which were carried out by construction business HMH Civils.

Early Years coordinator and Reception teacher, Nicola Bond, said: “This new learning area has opened up a world of outdoor learning opportunities to our enthusiastic pupils. Creativity has increased ten-fold allowing the children to open their minds and lead their own learning in a safe environment. Tactile play like this is fantastic for developing fine motor skills which help children who are starting to master pencil control back in the classroom. Thanks to NTWDC and HMH Civils for providing this excellent resource for us.”

NTWDC is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and Keepmoat, established in 2013, to breathe new life into the west of the city through a £265 million, housing led regeneration programme. Since building began more than 500 homes have been completed at The Rise, in Scotswood.

Lee McGray, Director of NTWDC, said: “Our partnership has a great relationship with Bridgewater Primary School and have worked on a number of projects together to benefit the pupils – many of whom live at The Rise. We are delighted that this muddy play area is providing a safe and fun place for the children to learn and grow.”

Andy Lee, Construction Manager with HMH Civils, added: “We have helped with a number of projects for the school and it is always a privilege to help and curate outside playing areas. The muddy play area will enable the pupils to explore and  benefit from playing in a controlled muddy environment.”

About New Tyne West Development Company

To date, working with Newcastle Futures, Generation NE and Newcastle College, NTWDC has already supported 19 young people through their apprenticeships, 68% of which have gone on to secure employment within the industry.

Other initiatives to support training and employment, include the creation of the NHBC training Hub at The Rise, supported by Newcastle City Council, Keepmoat and North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).

This state of the art training facility will operate for the next five years and will train up to 100 apprentices a year. This will include apprentices from other major housebuilders and bricklaying contractors to maximise the hubs potential and produce the next generation of bricklayers.

NTWDC sub contractors are also backing the training hub, with regional firm DPH Construction supporting three young people through their apprenticeships.

When completed, The Rise will comprise around 1,800 homes with its own £6 million district heating system – already in place – and a neighbourhood centre, including community, retail, and health provision space.

About Keepmoat 

Keepmoat is a top 10 UK home builder and leading partnership focussed home builder providing high quality, affordable homes across the country.

Committed to a multi-tenure strategy we partner with local authorities and registered providers to deliver much needed new homes for sale, affordable rent, and the private rental sector. We are the largest delivery partner of Homes England and have delivered thousands of new homes in partnership with them since 2009.

Over 70 per-cent of our customers are first-time buyers, and the average selling price of a Keepmoat home is £179,000.

We deliver more than just new homes; we transform communities and improve the lives of local people. We have a national presence combined with local knowledge and expertise across the whole housing lifecycle – from finance, design, and planning, to developing and building.

For more information about Keepmoat, please visit

About North of Tyne Combined Authority

The North of Tyne Combined Authority Brownfield Housing Fund is a £32m fund supporting the preparation of land for new homes across the North of Tyne. It is part of the national Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities £520m Brownfield Housing Fund.