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The Perfect Playground for a New School

As our new and returning pupils come to Gorton Primary this September, not only do they have a brand new school building to learn in, they also have a fantastic new playground. We aimed to create an outdoor space that equalled the quality of the new buildings and which demonstrated our ambition to deliver the highest standard provision for our children. Working with playground contractor, ESP Play, from Burnley (https://www.espplay.co.uk/), we set out to build a safe, inclusive outdoor space that was inviting, inspiring and stimulating and which provided children with extensive opportunities to play, learn and participate in sport.

Designed for our children

ESP Play carried out an extensive site survey and produced a design that perfectly matched our needs. They have divided the space into three clearly separated areas so that Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children can play separately and on age-appropriate equipment. There is also plenty of room to accommodate new year groups as our school grows. Thankfully, the lock-down didn’t prevent the installation team carrying out their work and despite this being a large-scale project, the playground has been completed in time for the new academic year.

Everyone catered for

Each of the three play areas has been subdivided into a series of activity zones that help keep the spaces safe and improve accessibility to the many features installed. Our Nursery area features a realistic roadway, perfect for tricycles, an early years’ wobbly bridge, a balance beam and mini-challenge climbing net, a mountain and mines tunnel, a wigwam and an outdoor chalk board. All of this is set in a landscaped space that uses all-weather, artificial grass, planters and trellises to add a touch of greenery.

The Reception area is similar in its design but has slightly more challenging climbing equipment to suit the needs of these developing pupils. Here, the children will find early years’ jungle bars, a spinning balancing log, a rope and beam climbing structure, and even a traversing wall. In addition, it has an outdoor whiteboard and a roadway that incorporates a small ride-over bridge. It, too, is landscaped with artificial grass, trellis and planters. The final area is designed for both our older pupils and for sporting activities.

A key feature is the specially created mini football pitch which we’ve sectioned off with picket fencing so that the hustle and bustle of the match don’t interfere with play or activities taking part in the rest of the playground. There’s a multi-skills zone, comprising an array of target, stepper, jumping and exercise markings that can be used for both PE and playtime fun and there’s even a basketball net complete with markings.

At the other end of the playground is a quiet zone where we’ve installed three picnic tables and a large octagonal shelter with seating. The shelter not only gives children somewhere to sit and chat during play-times; it also doubles up as an outdoor classroom and is ideal for storytelling, circle time, show and tell and many other learning activities. Finally, across the entire length of this section of the playground is a grassed area where children can sit in the sunshine and relax.

Icing on the cake

The completed playground is the perfect conclusion to the new school building project. It provides Gorton Primary with the age-appropriate outdoor spaces for all our pupils and gives unlimited opportunities for them to learn, have fun, develop essential skills, socialise and take part in sport and physical activity.

It also means that pupils can be assured of high-quality provision outside and that learning can easily transfer from one space to the other. Overall, everyone at school and at Vantage Academy Trust is extremely pleased with the new playground; the staff, governors and parents who have seen the finished playground are delighted with the results and the children who have already been lucky enough to give it a try think it’s fantastic. We are so excited to see everyone playing together in this fantastic new space over the autumn term.

The Perfect Playground for a New School

As our new and returning pupils come to Gorton Primary this September, not only do they have a brand new school building to learn in, they also have a fantastic new playground. We aimed to create an outdoor space that equalled the quality of the new buildings and which demonstrated our ambition to deliver the highest standard provision for our children. Working with playground contractor, ESP Play, from Burnley (https://www.espplay.co.uk/), we set out to build a safe, inclusive outdoor space that was inviting, inspiring and stimulating and which provided children with extensive opportunities to play, learn and participate in sport.

Designed for our children

ESP Play carried out an extensive site survey and produced a design that perfectly matched our needs. They have divided the space into three clearly separated areas so that Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children can play separately and on age-appropriate equipment. There is also plenty of room to accommodate new year groups as our school grows. Thankfully, the lock-down didn’t prevent the installation team carrying out their work and despite this being a large-scale project, the playground has been completed in time for the new academic year.

Everyone catered for

Each of the three play areas has been subdivided into a series of activity zones that help keep the spaces safe and improve accessibility to the many features installed. Our Nursery area features a realistic roadway, perfect for tricycles, an early years’ wobbly bridge, a balance beam and mini-challenge climbing net, a mountain and mines tunnel, a wigwam and an outdoor chalk board. All of this is set in a landscaped space that uses all-weather, artificial grass, planters and trellises to add a touch of greenery.

The Reception area is similar in its design but has slightly more challenging climbing equipment to suit the needs of these developing pupils. Here, the children will find early years’ jungle bars, a spinning balancing log, a rope and beam climbing structure, and even a traversing wall. In addition, it has an outdoor whiteboard and a roadway that incorporates a small ride-over bridge. It, too, is landscaped with artificial grass, trellis and planters. The final area is designed for both our older pupils and for sporting activities.

A key feature is the specially created mini football pitch which we’ve sectioned off with picket fencing so that the hustle and bustle of the match don’t interfere with play or activities taking part in the rest of the playground. There’s a multi-skills zone, comprising an array of target, stepper, jumping and exercise markings that can be used for both PE and playtime fun and there’s even a basketball net complete with markings.

At the other end of the playground is a quiet zone where we’ve installed three picnic tables and a large octagonal shelter with seating. The shelter not only gives children somewhere to sit and chat during play-times; it also doubles up as an outdoor classroom and is ideal for storytelling, circle time, show and tell and many other learning activities. Finally, across the entire length of this section of the playground is a grassed area where children can sit in the sunshine and relax.

Icing on the cake

The completed playground is the perfect conclusion to the new school building project. It provides Gorton Primary with the age-appropriate outdoor spaces for all our pupils and gives unlimited opportunities for them to learn, have fun, develop essential skills, socialise and take part in sport and physical activity.

It also means that pupils can be assured of high-quality provision outside and that learning can easily transfer from one space to the other. Overall, everyone at school and at Vantage Academy Trust is extremely pleased with the new playground; the staff, governors and parents who have seen the finished playground are delighted with the results and the children who have already been lucky enough to give it a try think it’s fantastic. We are so excited to see everyone playing together in this fantastic new space over the autumn term.