A 'SAD' plot of school land could serve as a playground once again, years after being condemned over safety concerns.

John Henry Newman Academy, in Littlemore, has appealed for help to fund a £18,000 transformation of a former early years play area, which was used by reception pupils at the school.

For years children have been forbidden from entering the deserted area, after the old equipment was deemed unsafe and ripped out.

The school needs an extra £5,000 to cover the costs of reviving the playground, which headteacher Katie Screaton described as 'sad' and 'neglected'.

She said: "The surface of it can't be used at all, it's unsafe and there are trip hazards.

"It looks horrible. It's inadequate for learning and it's just not fair for the children.

"We've got a good, strong early years team and we need to do our utmost to make sure it's a really fantastic school for the local community.

"Families are put off by the lack of outdoor learning spaces for the younger children."

Older children at the school have access to a different playground, but reception children only have a small outdoor space.

Ms Screaton added: "It's quite restricted. In those early years the curriculum is not so classroom-based.

"You need to have coordination skills and be able to climb and and stretch. It's good for development.

"The children are very excited by the prospect of having this area.

"I would be absolutely delighted to see it come together – it's exactly what the children and their families deserve."

She credited the school's parent teacher association and the local community for generating a large chunk of the project costs.

Parent Eve McWilliam, who has two children at the school, has launched a JustGiving appeal to plug the project.

She wrote on the fundraising page: "The children are at a huge disadvantage educationally since a lot of their learning is done through play and they are really limited by their outdoor learning environment.

"We desperately want to get the playground sorted out so that the children at this school have the best possible foundation to their education and start a positive and fun journey into learning."

The school in Grange Road plans to resurface the former playground, build new play equipment and lay artificial turf.

It will host a Christmas fair on Saturday from midday until 4pm, to help raise funds for the project.

Members of the public are welcome to pop by to browse stalls, take part in activities and visit Santa's grotto.

To donate online visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jhnacademyplayground.