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  • Client: Headteacher, Mrs. Philippa Holiday
  • Project: Castleton SEN School
  • Budget: £70,000
  • Year Installed: 2017

Castledon SEN School Interactive Sona Arch

About Castledon SEN School


Castledon SEN School work on attributes necessary to help students lead as independent and fulfilled a life as possible. In addition, they support each pupil by providing an extensive range of programmes and therapies both on and off site. The school take pride in their dedicated team that help meet the differing needs of every young person. The staff offer provision to pupils from year 1 to year 11 within the school site. The pupils who attend have a wide range of complex needs, these include autism and communication difficulties. Prior to the summer holidays, the school decided to revamp their playground, offering their pupils something new and unique that will cater to the differing needs in the school, and provide therapy through play during break time. This project included the Interactive Sona Arch and dynamic inclusive play equipment.

Inclusive Play & the Interactive Sona Arch


Castledon school chose to progress the revamp of their playground in two phases. As a result, the staff were able to see what products worked best, and tailor the second phase to compliment this. The staff were looking for equipment that would cater to all pupils and their complex needs, allowing the students to access the equipment with ease. In addition, the equipment still needed to provide elements of challenge and risk that the children could enjoy on a daily basis.

Jupiter Play worked with our leading suppliers; Yalp, Park Leisure and Inclusive Play to create a design that provided the school with fun and unique play opportunities. Our partners at Inclusive Play are the only company in Europe to solely focus on equipment tailored to special needs. Extensive research with experts goes into product development with the team, to ensure that all children are provided with equal opportunities to play. Understanding the different needs the pupils at the school have, we decided to incorporate inclusive products that provided dynamic movement to help develop vestibular and proprioceptive senses.

In addition to this, we decided to incorporate the Interactive Sona Arch as the focal piece of the playground. The Interactive Sona Arch is an inclusive and accessible piece of equipment that can be enjoyed at any age. By combining advanced digital technology with traditional playground fun we can provide children with a new, exciting way to play. The Sona Arch was developed to use a motion detector camera at the top of the arch to monitor the play below. Allowing children to react to math sums, have dance offs, and learn a different language through means of play. As Yalp continue to develop new games, the school can change the games and provide the children with new challenges!

Adapting the Interactive Sona Arch Games


The majority of the games on the Sona arch are developed to be progressive. As a result, individuals playing have to reach a certain score before they pass to the next level. This scheme encourages children to motivate one another and beat their previous scores. After the first week, it became clear the children struggled to reach past the beginning levels.

A number of students struggle with information processing disorders which made locating correct answers in the allotted time very difficult. After feeding this back to the game programmers, we were able to reduce the speed of levels down a substantial amount. As a result, this provided children with more time to find the answers and progress further. After the amendments, children were getting more enjoyment out of the Sona, as they could play for longer. Reaching higher levels has also helped with their confidence levels, as it was something they couldn't do before.

Result of Phase 1


Castledon school are over the moon with the first phase of their play area. The children enjoy going outside during break, and playing on their new equipment together. The staff can monitor the Interactive Sona Arch use statistics online. The only time the use statistics have fallen below the average is during the weekend when the pupils are home. Since the success of the project, the school are already starting to work on the second phase. Keep a look out to see what new products will be installed into the school soon...

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The children love the new play area, it is great to see it all finally installed! I'm sure there was little struggle coming back from the summer holidays to use their play equipment again!

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