Multi-coloured metal railings brighten up school grounds

Project Overview

Bardfield Academy


Date Complete



Bardfield Academy located in Basildon, Essex is part of the South Essex Academy Trust providing primary education for children aged 2 to 11. With an inspiring motto of “Striving to Achieve, Together we’ll Succeed”, they are a welcoming school focusing on positive relationships built between children, parents, and staff.

With their funding coming directly from the government, academies have more control over how they approach learning and how they do things overall; they can choose not to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. Bardfield is part of the South Essex Academy Trust (SEAT) – which actively works together to achieve the best for children and staff. The school implements a curriculum that uses technology, focusing on enthusiasm and creativity to make the children’s learning memorable.

Academy trusts are not-for-profit companies that need to ensure that their investments into facilities and improvements to their schools will be long-lasting and add value, with sustainability and durability as key factors in the decision-making process.

The fencing which separates parts of the school recreation areas was due for an upgrade as it had started to look a bit dull and weathered, with the paint on the wooden fencing starting to fade in places. The inadequately treated and painted wooden fence provided little resistance to the elements, and the rails facing the playing field for the older children made it easy to climb from the outside. The upgrade would need to include multi-coloured fencing – like what was originally envisioned and installed - to provide both visual stimulation and good aesthetics while being in keeping with the other metal fencing on site. Please note, when specifying or installing fencing around an area where children will be present, we always recommend using anti-trap fencing which conforms to RoSPA and BS EN 1176. We understand this is not always possible due to other considerations.

The Project

To keep the site split up into its original KS1 play area and much larger KS2 playground and playing field, over 100m of coloured Bow Top fencing in alternating colour combinations of red, yellow, and blue panels were installed alongside two green Bow Top gates. The KS1 area was also divided further, with one of the gates allowing or preventing access to different areas when open or closed, including the climbing frames, play equipment, and the garden play area. A smaller amount of the coloured fencing was also used for the Nursery’s outdoor area, which was sealed off to all other areas with access only from inside via sliding doors.

Bow Top fencing is commonly used around the perimeter of schools at a height of 1.8m; with its pale-through-rail construction and hidden connectors, it is inherently strong and durable and is excellent for demarcation. With a 1m fence height, the coloured fencing provides a friendly and welcoming boundary solution that matched the existing. Pale spacing conforms to building regulations for anti-trap and the domed post cap design is beneficial in areas frequently used by children as it is much safer than some more traditional angular designs. When children are going to be playing around the fencing, such as a playground we always recommend anti-trap bow top fencing but this is not always possible if an exact match to existing fencing is required.

Two Bow Top gates were installed to match the coloured fencing, one to provide access to the larger playing field and the other to manage access between school areas. Gates can be fitted with hinges on either side and include self-closing hinges with a magna latch for safe closing. The use of gates inside and as an outside entry point provided an easy way to manage access to specific areas for different groups of children.

Our metal railings and vertical bar fencing and gates are made from hot dipped galvanised steel allowing them to endure harsh environments as this form of barrier protection helps to protect from rust and corrosion. Supplied galvanised as standard to BS EN 1461 specifications with the option to be powder coated to an architectural grade in one of our standard colours at additional cost.

The academy opted to have the fence panels alternately powder coated in bright colours instead of one colour, with the posts coated in green to match the gates and provide a colour contrast making them stand out from the panels, providing a more colourful background than if not coated. All our products are powder coating on-site at our Ashford facility, allowing us complete control over the process.

Advantages of using architectural grade polyester powder coating:

  • - Durable finish that is resistant to abrasion
  • - Coating won’t chip or crack unlike traditional paint
  • - Very colourful and bright finish options
  • - It is not affected by heat or light and will retain its original colour throughout its lifespan
  • - Non-solvent application means less volatile organic compounds are emitted during the coating process, making it a slightly more environmentally friendly product
  • - Helps to provide products with a long life which works towards many sustainability goals
  • - Bespoke colour combinations to match with branding or existing colour schemes

The fencing and gates in this installation benefit from our 25-year guarantee, which not only gives the academy peace of mind as to the longevity of their investment but represents an overall lower lifetime cost and works towards their sustainability goals.


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