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Youngsters at Middlesbrough’s Abingdon Primary School & Children’s Centre are really enjoying their ‘rubbish’ lunchtime play sessions.

For the pupils are adapting a host of recycled materials donated by Scott Bros to create their own mini adventure playgrounds, dens, and sculptures – which is breaking down language barriers and helping them develop interactive skills.

Abingdon is part of a network of more than 300 primary and secondary ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ committed to supporting young people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

It aims to create a culture of welcome and inclusion, whilst raising awareness of issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom have been forced to flee war zones.

The school has grown from 450 pupils to 600 over the past two years, with more than 40 different languages spoken and 91 percent of children speaking English as an additional language.

Keith Smith, the school’s behaviour, and wellbeing lead, said that play, creativity, and fun is a universal language which unites those from diverse countries and cultures.

The school had previously amassed a collection of materials, ranging from planks, tarpaulins, pallets, and tyres, all of which had to be disposed of due to precautions surrounding the spread of Covid-19.

He said: “The school is in a built-up area and our only outside space is the playground, so we had to get creative and start building up a new collection of materials.

“These donated items really encourage the children to get involved. These are pupils who may not be able to speak each other’s languages, but they communicate and learn through the medium of play.”

Headteacher Adam Cooper added: “The resources are invaluable and allow the children to develop and harness their imagination and cooperation skills through open ended play. The children just love playtime!”

The school issued an appeal for materials which was answered by Stockton-based Scott Bros.

Director Peter Scott said: “As a family-run company specialising in recycling, it’s always fantastic to be able to find a new and constructive use for materials – which, in this case is creating some joy and putting a big smile on these children’s faces!

“We also hope it will help educate the next generation on the many benefits of recycling.”

The school is also appealing for additional donations of items that can enhance their play sessions, including used bikes, toys, or dressing-up costumes.

For further information contact the school on 01642 210567 or email

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