New playground for Exeter Junior School

Exeter Junior School pupils and staff are delighted with their new playground. Work was carried out over the summer holidays, ready for the autumn term.

Pupils in the co-educational school for 7-11-year-olds were shown plans in advance and enjoyed picking and choosing which play equipment they wanted.

Devon-based company Outdoor Play UK manufactured and installed the bespoke wooden playground equipment using pressure treated redwood timber sourced from FSC certified forests.

The governors of Exeter School invested a considerable amount of money to modernise the existing play area.

A priority for the junior school community was a secure and safe playground with zoned play for different age groups as well as open play areas.

Balancing, hanging, traversing and climbing are all encouraged on the new equipment which includes adventure trail equipment such as climbing trees, flower stepping pods, balance beams, and wobble boards.

The open, bright and sensory playground includes game and puzzle play panels, dragon fly seating, and a superb Black Rock Castle, fit for a royal – and imaginary play!

A tyre walk, trapeze swing, low pole climber and tunnel net are sited on soft safety surfacing for active play in a safe environment.

A curved seating area with the play panels and ladybird has been designed as a quiet place for sensory play and outdoor classroom use.

A bespoke Dartmouth gazebo is another site used for al fresco lessons and talks from visiting speakers.

Year 3 pupil Aras said there were lots of things to climb on and so much to do.

Miles said: “The fort is an amazing place to climb and hide and helps me to use my imagination.”

Lizzie said the outside classroom was a great place to be together in the outdoor environment.

Arthur said: “My favourite part is the ‘Exe Trail’ -it’s a really fun obstacle course that I enjoy using every day.”

Marietta enjoys using the ropes and games such as ‘Four in a Row’ and ‘The Frog Puzzle’.

Mabel said: “The equipment with green netting allows me to practice my gymnastics.”

Benjy likes swinging on the monkey bars whereas Jiaqi said it was hard to decide what to go on as there is so much choice.

Rosanna said: “It uses up all my energy! There are lots of different combinations and types of obstacle courses.”

Henry enjoys the climbing net and poles and Barney finds the wobbly benches so much fun: “There is a round one with a maze – you have to have good balance.”

Jack said he liked the big round spring that you can balance on to get the marble to the centre.

Exeter Junior School Headmistress Saskia van Schalkwyk said the new playground has been a huge hit with all of our pupils. 

“It has created an enhanced outdoor learning environment where pupils can explore and continue their learning whilst having fun with their friends.  The Exe Trail allows the pupils to climb, balance, jump and work as a team, all vital skills to help with coordination and development, whilst the new outdoor classroom has already been used for maths, science and reading lessons. Pupils have space to take time out and sit and talk, with new seating areas designed specifically to offer a quiet space. It has truly transformed our outdoor play provision.”

Operations manager Craig Stewart worked closely with Outdoor Play UK. He said it was a pleasure to handover the new playground at the end of the summer holiday.

“I put a lot of trust in Chris from Outdoor Play to ensure that the project was completed and delivered on time. The commitment to Exeter School from Chris and his team was outstanding and the quality of the surface and play equipment is excellent.”

Outdoor Play UK director Chris Burley said they had successfully installed hundreds of play projects over the whole of the UK.

“We have been in the playground industry for 13 years and manufacture and sell our own equipment in-house at our yard in Newton Abbot, Devon.

“We have loved working on the Exeter School project as this is one of the largest that we have completed with a great variety of equipment installed.”

The Exeter Daily