Nottingham

The school playground was a grim expanse of tarmac edged on one side by an elevated section of the six-lane Nottingham ring road.

We set up an ‘office’ in the school hall using rolls of corrugated cardboard to create walls, and spent a day with all of the staff and children thinking about what could be done. At the end of the day we had a list of over thirty activities the playground needed to facilitate. A common theme was a need for peace and quiet, animals and plants.

We created a huge ‘living’ tunnel with climbing plants forming the side and roof. A sound system plays birdsong. Within this space the whole school can meet for lunches and events, and parents can wait and socialise.

Smaller gardens lead out from the tunnel creating opportunities for smaller groups to enjoy structural outdoor activities such as dance, drama, reading and role play.

This was an immensely rewarding project, especially so as the staff have told us that it has transformed school-life by turning a liability and an eye-sore into an asset and resource.