We are very fortunate to have fantastic outside space within our school grounds. Working with Hampshire County Council's Principal Landscape Architect, we have established a strategy for the development of our landscape to make sure we are making the best use of all of our outdoor space.
Last year a group of representatives from across our school community, including pupils, parents, staff and governors met together to explore our school grounds in detail and initially to determine how various places are currently being used.
Here are some quotes gathered as part of the initial workshop:
We know we are very lucky to have all the space that we have. Plus, we have lots of nature and freedom of movement!
Outdoor learning happens sporadically throughout the year but is weather dependant. Much of the learning that does happen outside is PE based, but other lessons including Maths, Science, Art and English do also take place at times.
It was thought by many at the workshop that across the grounds there are a wide variety of play and socialising activities for the pupils to get involved in. Quieter spaces for pupils to enjoy other activities are more limited and perhaps in areas that are classed as “out of bounds” for large times during the year.
Vision and Aspiration
Our aim is for our school grounds to fulfil our mission to Inspire, Learn, Achieve for all pupils. After the initial workshop, it was then time to gather the views of our group representatives about their vision and aspiration for our grounds both in function and appearance. The group selected images to describe the types of spaces they would like to see in the future school grounds. They discussed these together and then presented their thoughts on positive and negative aspects of the selected images. Key spaces were then identified as part of the vision, these included:
- Spaces to encourage exercise and creative active play?
- All weather space that can be used all year round
- Use of environmentally friendly resources
- Spaces to enjoy and learn from nature
- Outdoor learning across the curriculum and use of the environment to support the curriculum
- Space that enhances sport
- Places to relax and socialise with friends
- Places to actively play and undertake sport
- Places to support mental health and wellbeing
- Places to grow plants and vegetables
- Spaces to sit
- Additional space to play/hold PE lessons on a non-field surface
The Senior Leadership Team and the Principal Landscape Architect then worked together to put all stakeholder ideas into a strategy plan, that shows our ambition for the school grounds development.
The plan covers 8 different areas with an ambition linked to each:
Area 1: All weather trail
Ambition: To provide an access route around the school field area that enables year-round use of the grounds for a variety of play and learning opportunities.
Area 2: Environmental Woodland Learning Spaces (2a and 2b)
Ambition: To create a curriculum-based space to use for outdoor learning across the curriculum.
Area 3: Nurture Space
Ambition: To create and provide a self-contained nurturing space for staff and pupils to use for calming and quiet time outside of the classroom, or away from the playground. Area to promote tranquil and calm time for all who need it throughout the day, and in all weathers.
Area 4: Seating throughout the grounds (4a, 4b, 4c)
Ambition: To create calm spaces to enhance health and well-being where pupils and/or staff can sit and have some time away from screens and activity. Places to talk, or enjoy the quiet.
Area 5: Nurture Space
Ambition: To provide a space for individual teaching or nurture activities to take place outside in the fresh air, and with all resources needed to make this a positive place to be. Area to also be an alternative space for lunchtime reading/colouring for those who would prefer something different from the physical play on the playground areas.
Area 6: Fenced Sports Area
Ambition: To enable the pupils at the school to have a dedicated hard surfaced sports area for ball sports, both for lesson time but also for matches against other nearby schools.
Area 7: Field Area
Ambition: Retention of existing large open field area for free play, sports and to hold large school events.
Area 8: Planting and Growing Area
Ambition: To provide a well-resourced area that supports the Design and Technology curriculum for all pupils throughout the school. Area to also enable those pupils who would like to do more growing through a Gardening Club a place to gather and enjoy the activity.
We are now at the exciting stage of breaking down the landscape strategy into specific area action plans, to begin putting our vision into action. Over the next year we will be asking for volunteers to support us with the strategy, as well as beginning fundraising activities and seeking sponsorship. If you would like to be involved or are able to support us in anyway, please contact Miss Smith or Mr Grant by emailing or phoning the school.