The school grounds design guide was commissioned by the DfES following the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee report, ‘Education Outside the Classroom’, which concluded that
“school grounds are a vital resource for learning”
“capital projects [should] devote as much attention to the ‘outdoor classroom’ as to the innovative design of buildings and indoor space”.
When imaginatively developed, school grounds can contribute to curriculum teaching and learning, and to better recreational and social interaction of their pupils. As well as contributing strongly to children’s understanding of ‘green’ issues, they can make a positive impact on the sustainability of the schools and their locality.
They can also encourage children to take part in a range of physical activities, which contribute so much to their health and well-being. Integrated thinking and design are crucial to the successful development of schools’ buildings and outside spaces to achieve these aims.
This school grounds design guide shows, through a number of live examples, how well-designed, well-used and well-maintained school grounds can provide a wonderful resource that can benefit staff, pupils and the wider community.
The DfES is pleased to have worked in partnership with Learning through Landscapes on this publication and very much appreciates the work they continue to do particularly the support they provide to schools to help them make the most of their school grounds.
While this design guide was first published in 2006, we feel it still offers useful information and suggestions for school leaders and landscape architects seeking advice and support.
We suggest you also visit the following for more design advice and inspiration:
- Lessons from a study tour of Berlin Playgrounds
- The Good School Playground Guide
- Play Logs in Schools
- Open Sand in Schools
- Pollinators in School Grounds
- Orchards in School grounds
- Natural Play Project film