New play area at South Shields school

Pupils from Ridgeway Primary Academy with their parents at the new play zone.
Pupils from Ridgeway Primary Academy with their parents at the new play zone.

A once muddy mound in a school’s playground has been transformed into an oasis of outside learning thanks to a £25,000 investment.

Ridgeway Primary Academy in South Shields now boasts a safe, modern - and flat - 60sqm education area where dozens of youngsters can play and explore.

Features include a sand pit, wooden climbing frame, nature and wildlife area, sensory garden, water wheel, and an allotment for growing fruit and vegetables.

The area was created thanks to help from Paul Barker, owner of Durham firm Think Outside UK.

Assistant headteacher Melissa Baker said the facility had brought a new dimension to already comprehensive Early Years provision delivered by the Park Avenue school, in South Shields.

Miss Baker, who leads Early Years provision, added: “This is an exceptional addition to the committed support that parents and children can enjoy.

“In the past couple of years, we have developed our nursery and Early Years provision for children aged up to five, and this greatly extends on that.

“We didn’t want this area to form a split into separate indoor and outdoor environments, we wanted them to combine as one, and that is what we have achieved.

“This will be an invaluable learning resource for parents and their children for many years to come.”

Paul said: “The challenge was to create something that was as unique as possible – there’s no one size that fits all on a project like this.

“I’ve used natural materials where possible, such as wood, and I’m very happy with what has been achieved.”