Setting the Scene

Ashton Gate Primary School is a busy, friendly school in Bristol. It is in an urban part of the city and the playground has limited outside space that is predominantly tarmac. At the centre of the site is a Victorian school building.

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Customer Objectives

Due to the site layout including a Victorian school building at the centre there was a number of underutilised spaces in the existing playground. The first was an area underneath that an existing waterproof canopy installed by the parents. The second was an area to the end of the playground which was unloved and had little focus.

The school had a small existing Mud Kitchen area that had been built by the parents, which the children really enjoyed using so the school wanted to improve and enlarge this offering. Because the site is quite urban with minimal green the school were keen to introduce an opportunity for the children to plant and grow their own vegetables, plants and herbs.

The layout of the Victorian school site meant that children often had to walk outside to move between classes and if the weather was inclement this could mean children getting cold and wet.

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Our Solution

We suggested that the space under the Canopy be turned into a Storytelling area promoting communication, learning and literacy by installing a Book Hub and Storage Unit along with Perch Benches for seating. We brightened up the space by laying Just Like Grass surfacing over the tarmac to differentiate the area. It is now a lovely quiet space where the children can enjoy reading, listening and sharing stories. At the end of the playground we suggested installing a Performance Stage to give the area a purpose and a focus. The children now enjoy role play and a space where they can express themselves and watch or entertain others.

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We extended and developed their existing Mud Kitchen area, to enable more children to enjoy messy play at one time, and since the teachers wanted this area to be blocked off at certain times we designed small fence panels with chalkboards which could be used as blockades and were easily moveable. We also installed a Dual Planter which has been designed to give multiple children access to the soil and planting at the same time.

We designed a bespoke waterproof Canopy to fit between the buildings to allow the children to move between classes in the dry; this was especially challenging as the buildings were protected and therefore we couldn’t affix the canopy to the building itself and had to tactically place supports and angle the roofing to properly cover the area. This also created an extra space protected from the elements for storage, which the school utilised by installing our Welly Boot Rack to keep all the wet weather wellies in order!

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Originally published Oct 26, 2021 10:47:54 AM , updated July 6, 2022

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