Creating A Safe And Secure Outdoor Playing Area For Younger Pupils

Project Overview

Bodsham Church of England Primary School

Ashford, Kent

Date Complete



Bodsham Church of England Primary School is sited in an area of outstanding beauty and is a small rural school attracting pupils from the neighbouring villages and beyond. The school has an established reputation for its forward thinking approach and despite its size (there are currently 90 pupils from reception through to year 6) is regularly one of the first to respond to new recommendations / trends pertaining to advancements in primary education.

The school boasts wonderful grounds and is nestled in the heart of a stunning local landscape dominated by the surrounding farming community. As a result, from an early age, pupils at Bodsham have always been encouraged to engage in outdoor activities which offer them a practical and appealing approach to learning.

Pupils in the reception and year one classes had exclusive access to a dedicated outdoor play area, which backed onto their classroom. The large area is grassed and has previously been fenced with Jacksons round top palisade. However, teaching staff were keen to extend the usage of this area by creating a year round facility, rather than one, which just relied on the often elusive good weather!


The installation of a wooden deck offered the ideal solution, providing the children with regular access to the outdoors in a safe and controlled (and non- muddy!) environment. As with any school purchase, the focus was on selecting a product that was specifically fit for purpose, as well as aesthetically pleasing. It was also important to identify a product that combined durability with lasting peace of mind to deliver a low lifetime cost investment. As a result the Jacksons 25-year guarantee, (which is applicable to all of the company’s timber products) was very appealing, promising permanent protection against rot and insect attack due to the unique Jakcure preservation treatment. Timber that has undergone the Jakcure process is totally safe and is harmless to man, animal and plant life – and requires minimal maintenance.

Jacksons (style 1) balustrade was installed around the perimeter of the smart new deck to deliver a stylish, but also safe boundary to the edge of the decking. With the deck in situ, it was decided that a shelter would further enhance its usage opportunities. Protection against the summer sun was an important consideration, but equally the shelter would need to withstand the harsher winter elements. The Zone, an innovative freestanding timber construction unique to Jacksons, provided the perfect complementary feature to the deck, delivering an airy and spacious retreat for the children.

Two standard Zone units were installed side by side to create a semi-covered reasonably sized space for the children to play in. The Zone’s polycarbonate roof is tough and hardwearing, and the clear panels also maximise the amount of daylight filtering through them, resulting in a light and inviting space. The Chevron Hit and Miss timber panels used as a partial infill on the sides and back of the Zones, not only give some protection from weather, but blend beautifully with the surrounding balustrade and decking boards – the whole structure is also in keeping with the rural local landscape. Commenting on the project, Head Teacher Mrs Elizabeth Pettersen says, “We are delighted with the new outdoor play / teaching area for our younger pupils. As a school we make it a priority to ensure all of our children regularly play outside and enjoy the untold benefits of socialising and also learning in the great outdoors. Working with Jacksons we have confidence that the investment we have made represents sound use of the school’s budget – as well as delivering a lasting legacy for pupils of the future”.

Products Used

  • Decking and balustrade
  • Timber palisade fencing and gates
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