Case Study: Hillside Primary School – Free Flow Play Areas

Hillside Primary School – Free Flow Play Areas

Hillside Primary in Stoke-on-Trent had recently undergone considerable internal refurbishment works and an extension to the school building, and therefore they wanted to continue this through to the whole of the school grounds. The school required a complete revamp of all external areas over a 3-5 year plan and their aim was to start this process in their Early Years setting as this was the area in most need of development. This would provide the required free flow of the curriculum from indoors to outdoorsTheir second target was to revamp their underused, tired KS1 space which included a grass area that housed an old trim trail. Their third target was to provide KS2 with a physical play area and an extension to their all year round hard standing surface.

 We needed to ensure an outdoor space within the early years setting could be utilised in all weathers. There was a wind tunnel effect in the area, which was a specific problem. We provided a bespoke timber shelter with a PETg screen at one end to prevent the wind tunnel effect and also provided vinyl roll down screens along the length of the structure. With the early years setting we extended and enclosed a soft surface physical play area, two physical play units, a play stage with holey poles to encourage den building and changing play spaces, thermoplastic markings, and a play house with seating to encourage role play.

For KS1 we provided an age appropriate trim trail and all weather bound mulch surfacing, whilst we provided a trim trail and climbaround which increased in difficulty for KS2, along with bonded mulch surfacing and artificial grass.

 The children now benefit from fun, challenging free flow play area within an outdoor setting.

 Hillside Primary School has extensive grounds and wanted to create activity zones which further encouraged healthy, active play. We wanted our children to have fun, but also wanted to offer challenge. The trails that Broxap installed were designed and built around this brief. They challenge our pupil’s strength, balance, confidence and coordination. Each area presents personal challenge, an element of risk-taking and encourages teamwork and decision-making. The play areas are used daily,adding an extra dimension to our playtimes. The children, throughout the school, look forward to using the equipment and will do for many years to come

– Mrs Karen Schonau, Headteacher, Hillside Primary School