School Play Areas Portfolio

Fairfield Road Primary School

Brief
To enhance the main pedestrian entrance way into the school which was very drab and dominated by a very ugly building not owned by the school.  The head teacher wanted to create an attractive and fun entrance route as well as detracting attention away from the next door building.

Solution
A fun as well as functional entrance way into the school has been created that focusses attention away from the neighbouring buildings that once dominated.

A wide straight primary path leads directly to the front of the school, whilst a winding secondary path meanders each side of the main path which children run along and play.  These paths are in bright primary colours and include a bridge and stepping stone maize.

Timber posts at different heights add interest and divert the eye away from the building, as well as providing enclosure and height.

Near the main entrance to the school, curved timber seats are placed so parents can wait comfortably for their children.

School Play Area Gallery (Click images to view larger)

Fairfield Road Primary School

Whitefield Primary School

Phase 1 – Memorial Garden
Brief
To create a memorial garden in memory of two teachers and a pupil who recently died.  This needed to include seating areas and informal play, which included a den and a water feature.

Solution
We created three small seating areas for informal seating and teaching. A willow den was constructed over the path, which divides the areas and once grown will be completely enclosed. The willow will continue to grow and will be used by the children for willow craftwork. The central water feature creates a focal point, a relaxing sound for contemplation, as well as a safe environment to splash and play with water.

What the teachers said:
“Just to say … its fantastic. It’s exactly what we wanted and will be a wonderful tribute to the staff and the little boy whose memory it will preserve in a really positive way in a wonderful, relaxing and calm space. Thank you”
Jill Wright (Deputy Head Teacher)

Phase 2 – Reception and Key Stage 1 Play Area
Brief
To create a ‘natural’ play area which can be used for forest school activities, be multi-functional and encourage imaginative play.

Solution
Opportunities for natural play are provided with posts that can be used to make dens etc. Small mounds add interest and height as well as encouraging children to develop their motor skills and physical fitness.

There is a large sandpit with a water pump and basins for digging and water play. There are two large areas for outside teaching, which are surrounded by posts to attach bright coloured canopies to provide shade and shelter.

There is a growing area for fruit and vegetables and plants are grown such as Cornus and Hazel that are to be coppiced for craft work shops and den building. The plants include grasses, bamboo, Lavender and Buddleja for their sensory qualities. There is also a trundle track with different textured paving and a raised performance space.

What the teachers said:
“Just to say …children have been out using the space this week for the first time and it’s amazing!…Thanks for a great design – you must come and visit when they’re playing in it- it’s a joy to see!

Jill Wright (Deputy Head Teacher)

View the plan of Whitefield Primary school memorial garden >

School Play Area Gallery (Click images to view larger)

Whitefield Primary School

Kettleshulme Primary School

Brief
To design, produce construction drawings and project manage a quiet area within the school grounds, which can be used as an outdoor classroom, to grow herbs and vegetables, as well as encourage wildlife.

Solution

Working closely with the pupils and teachers, three options were produced. These included a series of curved paths, connecting the different areas.

School Play Area Gallery (Click images to view larger)

Kettleshulme Primary School

Charlestown Primary School

This is a primary school in north Manchester which had minimal play facilities for the children. Rebecca has now designed and implemented five phases for the school over the last few years.

Brief
To create different areas for the Foundation, Key Stage 1 and key Stage 2 classes that can be used for a variety of activities such as three wheel bikes, seating, outdoor teaching and growing, as well as informal play, jumping, climbing and exploring.

Solution
We created bike tracks with varied landforms and natural play items such as boulders, climbing poles and stepping stones.  These provide all weather outdoor play with intrinsic play value to help develop balance, coordination and physical development. Timber raised beds are incorporated for growing vegetables and flowers and are at the right height for informal seating.
Their are a number of outdoor classrooms provided throughout the grounds for the different age groups that provide opportunities for teaching, picnicking and seating.  There are also areas for informal natural play, with a timber bridge, boulders for climbing and sitting, blackboards bolted to the wall for scribbling and games and climbing walls and net.
Three canopies have been installed throughout the school grounds, making it possible for the children to be outside all year.

At the last Ofsted inspection the inspectors commented how much they liked the outdoor spaces that have been created.
What the teachers said ‘…The playground is wonderful and the children really like it. I can’t thank you enough for all you help and hard work…Head Teacher

School Play Area Gallery (Click images to view larger)

Charlestown Primary School