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.

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

Next Steps

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.

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

Strategy Plan

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.

Ideas and Requirements:

  • Discuss further appropriate surface treatment for differing areas of the route, and share thinking with HCC Property Services Management Surveyor to discuss further if additional approvals might be needed.
  • Additional areas of changeable activity throughout the grounds will be supported by this trail, and can have seasonal changes made available too eg—spotter cards for nature, art and colour, exercise etc. Pupils can access independently and enjoy a different activity along the journey of the trail.
  • Include areas of willow tunnel as shown to add to the excitement

Area 2a and 2b: Environmental Woodland Learning Spaces

Ambition: To create a curriculum based space to support all aspects of the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Area to be a teacher led space to be used in curriculum teaching time and to enhance and encourage outdoor learning across all parts of the curriculum in all year groups.
  • Encourage all learning to be enhanced by closer contact with the natural world in this space, and for the health and well-being of teaching staff and pupils to also be improved by using this area to teach within.
  • Discuss further with all teaching and support staff what the area needs to enhance it further and help create a desirable space to teach within. Ideas to include, a firepit, Bug Hotel, mini beast spaces, seating permanent and/or flexible, storage, shade/shelter

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.

Ideas and Requirements:

  • Area to include all aspects of sensory relaxation including sounds, smells, taste, texture and colour. Planting to be named with QR codes for children to explore and find out more, and resources made available for reading, drawing, colouring and painting to take place in the space
  • Area to also include a polytunnel to enable pupils to enjoy the nurturing activity of planting and growing all year round, and in all weathers.

Area 4: Seating throughout the grounds

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 4a—Banked natural seating using the existing landform including shade.
  • Area 4b—Current chamomile lawn to be replaced with artificial turf with bench seating.
  • Area for table tennis to also be enjoyed.
  • Area 4c—Use existing landform to create amphitheatre style seating for storytelling and class performances.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Each individual area to be discussed further with HCC Landscape Team for advice on contractor support for landform re-design.

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.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Discuss the area further with all teaching staff to enable the space to become well-loved, and understood that it can be used both for dedicated lessons or spontaneously.
  • Explore the options available for natural shade to be created over the space to provide shade and shelter all year round.
  • Include all weather resilient book storage for the outdoor library that pupils can use at break and lunchtimes.

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.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Existing facilities area available adjacent to the school grounds and SLT will contact the Parish Council to see if use of these existing community spaces may be possible.
  • Additional gates to be included, as shown to enable safe access immediately from school to these pitch areas.

Area 7: Field Area

Ambition: Retention of existing large open field area for free play, sports and to hold large school events.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Continue to manage and maintain the existing open grass field area to ensure all games and activity can take place throughout the year.

Area 8: Planting and Growing Area

Ambition: To provide a well resourced area that supports the DT 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.

Ideas and Requirements

  • Discuss area further with all teaching staff to decide what resources are needed for the area to support curriculum learning

Contributors and Donations

Lazy Suzan furniture

We received a friendship bench kindly donated by Lazy Susan Furniture for children to enjoy the outside space in our grounds. Children have already been using the bench during playtime and lunch and we hope they will continue to do so for many years to come. We would like to express our gratitude to Lazy Suzan Furniture for making this generous donation.

Tesco Community Grant / Groundworks UK

Our local community voted for our Tesco Community Grant in the Hook Store for us to receive a donation of £1500 to enable the purchase of a poly tunnel and raised beds. The intention of the project being to enable children to benefit from further experiences in the outside areas of our grounds, growing plants and vegetables. The poly tunnel now accommodates a number of raised beds and seasonal vegetables that children are caring for.