Photo gallery: Pupils from Thurton win award for playground design

A 'PROUD' headteacher has praised her pupils after gaining an award and a Commendation for their hard work put into creating their school playground.

Year's 3 to 6 pupils from Thurton Church of England Primary School scooped an award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and a Commendation from the South Norfolk Design Awards in the building category, for their designs and finished work.

Cassandra Williams, headteacher, said: 'We are so proud of them.

'This playground is all about fun, risky play in a safe environment, where imagination can be used and a space where children can challenge themselves.'

The children were given the task in the autumn term last year to develop the school playground, following the new school building being built on top of the old playground.

Inspired by the picture book 'Window' by Jeanne Baker, the children explored what they wanted to see out of their own window and what they wanted to adapt in the local environment.

Mrs Williams said: 'They wanted make the flat patch of ground where the grass didn't grow very well into something interesting and where they could have fun.'

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The school council visited two schools in Suffolk - Brampton Church of England Primary School and Holton St Peter near Halesworth - where playgrounds had been developed with the local environment in mind and in an environmentally sustainable way.

Mrs Williams added: 'The three main themes that kept on re-occurring in the designs were forests, mounds or height and reflective space. Using this information the children then wrote their own questionnaires for parents, so they could further narrow down the ideas they had. They then met with landscape architects from Norfolk County Council (NCC) and landscapers to find out if some of their ideas were possible.

'Finally the children presented their ideas in an extraordinary school assembly to children, parents, governors, staff and the local community. The designs were shown to David Yates at NCC and he took something from each design to make the final plan.

'We were thrilled with the plan that was developed because it included all the different aspects we had wanted in the playground and the children could see areas that they had asked for. Meo Landscapes further enhanced the design as the playground was being made.

'The final area includes planting, which is butterfly and bee friendly, has spaces where children can be by themselves or with a group of friends but also uses materials, such as treated oak, which will last a long time.

'We have moved from a flat piece of grass to the undulations of Norfolk.'

• Click the top right hand corner to view the photo gallery of the award-winning playground.

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