Dorothy Goodman Academy provides education and support to children aged 3-19 years. The pupils have a wide variety of special educational needs and disabilities, including profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning difficulties and Autism. Some pupils also have social, emotional and mental health issues associated with their learning difficulties.
Following the completion of their new secondary school building, the school wanted to improve the outdoor play provision with a new multi-use games area (MUGA), creating a variety of play opportunities whilst catering for all abilities.
We were approached to supply and install a Special Cruyff Court, having been the official delivery partner of Cruyff Courts for The Johan Cruyff Foundation* for over seven years, supplying special needs projects across Europe. This court was the first one to be installed in the UK.
Special Cruyff Courts, supplied by the Johan Cruyff Foundation (a charity which supports and develops sports opportunities for children worldwide), are a modern interpretation of the traditional playing field or MUGA, ideal for healthcare centres, special schools and rehabilitation centres for children with disabilities. Designed to be as accessible as possible to young people with disabilities, the Cruyff Court enables children to actively participate in sports on the field or to experience sports and games through a more passive form.
The ballcourt was primarily funded by the Johan Cruyff Foundation and their UK charity partner, the People’s Postcode Lottery. In anticipation of the opening, the school displayed photos documenting the progress of the project and pupils created a handprint mural, pledging to follow the 14 rules of using a Cruyff Court – established in honour of the Cruyff Foundation founders’ football shirt number #14.
Following months of hard work seeing the project through to completion, in January 2020, Sutcliffe Play was delighted to be invited to the official opening of this first Special Cruyff Court in the UK.
“Working in partnership with the Johan Cruyff Foundation and Sutcliffe Play, we are proud to have the first Special Court in the UK at our school. This specially designed games area supports our pupils in their development of physical, social and team working skills through active and inclusive games. After watching it develop, the pupils are extremely delighted to have a specialist area that they can use.”
Janet Thompson – Headteacher at Dorothy Goodman School
*About the Johan Cruyff Foundation
The Johan Cruyff Foundation was started in 1997 by Dutch football player and coach Johan Cruijff, to provide opportunities for children, especially children with disabilities, to be active in sports and play. To that end it builds “Cruyff Courts”, small football fields with artificial grass, integrated into local communities.