Tower Hamlets school wins £5,000 inaugural playground project to re-design playground

Manorfield Primary School in Tower Hamlets has won £5,000 from Canary Wharf Group to improve their grounds as the inaugural winner of The Playground Project.

A group of seven primary schools in Tower Hamlets entered the Playground Project competition run by the Landscape Institute in collaboration with Canary Wharf Group.

Manorfield Primary School, was the winner and Halley Primary School and Lansbury Lawrence Primary School, were highly commended for their projects.

The Playground Project, brought a professional landscape architect into Manorfield Primary school to work alongside key stage two pupils to help them re-design an aspect of their grounds. 

The school’s winning design was for a new area that will become an outdoor classroom for whole class/small group teaching. Pupils will also be able to use a living wall as part of the new science curriculum. 

Pupils’ ideas were central to the final design and they measured the space and drew out their ideas onto bird’s eye view plans with the help of Neil Hutchins, a Landscape Institute Ambassador. Working as a team, the students discussed each strong idea and drawings to come up with the final design.

Poppy Smith, Education Development Officer at the Landscape Institute and chair of the judging panel said:

"The pupils worked collaboratively to create a simple yet effective design to enhance their school, claiming back an uninspiring and underwhelming space. Once completed it will provide a valuable learning resource for the children. The pupils can now appreciate this area as a ‘space’ in which they can start their lunch break in a calm and reflective mood. We also loved how the project has stimulated the school to consult students further on future developments.

Hutchins said:

"One of the main reasons that I enrolled onto the LI’s Playground Project was to have the opportunity to work directly with school children and promote the role of landscape architects.

"I was nervous prior to undertaking the first session with the children as being placed in front of 30 eight and nine year olds was quite daunting, however I quickly discovered that they were extremely receptive and I found that the children became totally engaged as the sessions progressed and thoroughly bought into the ideas of regenerating the chosen space coming up with wide range of ideas. I ended up looking forward to the weekly sessions and opportunity to undertake a different role to that I do on a day to day basis."

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