School grounds are more like car parks, according to CABE

CABE has warned that while the standard of proposed new school buildings is rapidly improving, the design of school grounds is not.

According to CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), car parking for teachers and visitors dominates many proposals, while play areas are often uninspiring and do not recognise the varying needs and ages of different pupils.

Some grounds are designed to face north, while others would become narrow wind tunnels. 

By contrast, CABE believes that good school grounds should provide attractive space for socialising, exercising and learning.

When properly designed, the grounds can enhance the quality of the whole school environment for relatively little cost, according to the Government design adviser.

CABE has now published six best practice case studies on school grounds. They include the American School in London, where extensive consultation with staff and students has led to well-designed outdoor spaces which include a rock wall, an allotment and seating areas to hold classes.

Speaking at yesterday's (23 March) Learning through Landscapes conference, CABE chief executive Richard Simmons said: "If some of the designs that we are seeing are built out then teachers and pupils face the prospect of spending playtime in the car park.

"A school is judged by the whole site and not just the buildings, but many school grounds display a failure of imagination."

School grounds are one of the 10 criteria used by CABE to assess design quality in the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

CABE's case studies on school grounds are:

American School, London

Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline, Scotland

Everest Community College, Basingstoke

Prospect School, Havant, Hampshire

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Liverpool

Hadley Learning Community, Telford

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - tips on how to optimise your application for a gardening job

Sargent's solutions - tips on how to optimise your application for a gardening job

Making your job application stand out can be key to landing a senior or head gardener position, Alan Sargent explains.



These versatile, evergreen shrubs can flower from October right through to the end of May, Miranda Kimberley finds.

Business planning - cash-flow management

Business planning - cash-flow management

Wider market volatility can have a big impact on cash flow but there are ways to avoid problems, Neville Stein explains.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Products & Kit Resources