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Barndale House School's Outdoor Playground Development

A World of Wonder Awaits Students at Barndale House School 

Barndale House is the only school in Northumberland with a residential provision which is used both by the school and Children’s Services. Residential provision enables Barndale House to provide an extended curriculum which goes beyond the school day and forms a crucial part of learning and development.

Inspirational Headteacher, Mark Philips, wanted to provide his pupils with an outdoor physical space with a real ‘Wow factor’ that could be used by students both during the school day and as part of the residential provision.outdoor playground for primary schools

The space needed to provide plenty of opportunities for pupils to explore their bodies and challenge themselves physically. Playground Consultant, Greg Gavin was delighted to work with the school and knew exactly which equipment would appeal to students and enhance their creative play.

Welcome to the Castle!


An impressive Langley Play Castle stands proudly in the centre of the space and combines both active and imaginative play.

This open-ended structure promotes role play and storytelling as pupils observe their playground kingdom from the spacious platform. The castle can be accessed via a climbing net/wall, stairs or a climbing ramp depending on pupil preferences. Students love the tube slide and gliding down the fireman’s pole which allows them to take safe, calculated risks.

outdoor playground development

A short walk from the castle is a new Timber Swing with a Basket Seat. There are plenty of thrill seekers at Barndale House who like to explore how fast and how high they can go, swinging either individually or with others. A swing can help to develop strength, balance and coordination. Swinging also provides vestibular input which soothes and calms some learners.

Set Sail Aboard the Pirate Ship

A world of imaginative play awaits as young pirates set sail and voyage around the world! The Low-Level Pirate Ship is large enough to hold many crew members with a seating area at the back of the ship containing porthole windows to peek through.

low level pirate ship for playgrounds

Pupils can enjoy outdoor story time within this unique space and can even build their own dens using the den making posts disguised as the ship’s mast. Children will learn to tie, thread and weave whilst working together to create a secret, social space.

Young students can’t wait to take the wheel, scrub the deck or walk the plank! Numerous games can be played aboard the ship which improve children’s physical development and communication and language skills.

Two timber Water Tables with Lids are located next to the pirate ship to provide sensory stimulation and plenty of fun. Pupils can explore floating, sinking, pouring and measuring, even creating their own ‘Under the Sea’ small world setup.

Developing Physical Confidence with a Crinkle Crags Climber

Enthusiasm and excitement levels were high at Barndale House when the impressive Crinkle Crags Climber with Platform and Climbing Net arrived. The crisscrossing beams allow children to find interesting ways of travelling across before heading to the top!

Built from high-pressure treated, sustainably sourced timber logs and reinforced ropes with a series of pathways to take, a climbing wall to conquer and a net to scramble up this climber presents endless possibilities.

outdoor playground development for barndale house school

Safermats made from durable rubber have been installed underneath the climber to create a safe, non-slip surface. Safermats allow pupils to take some risks and once grass regrows the outdoor space will maintain a natural feel.

This open-ended structure allows all students to ‘have a go’, confidence soon progresses and personal targets are achieved. All of the new equipment selected by Barndale House is accessible to all students. Staff are experts at building upon experiences, providing support and offering guidance so that all children can succeed.

Spinning Around!

Some children crave activities which involve spinning and there can be many benefits to this action. Spinning enhances the vestibular system, develops balance, decision making and postural control.

Barndale House chose two sets of Forest Roll Over Bars to encourage pupils to practise dynamic exercises and to become physically stronger. Pupils have loved being supported to hang and turn upside down on the bars!

They can now regularly take part in adventurous activities in a safe environment which would not have been available to them before the development. 

inclusive roundabout for sen playgrounds

Students have also been enjoying the exhilarating sensation of spinning together on their Inclusive Roundabout. Pushing the roundabout can be a great heavy work activity helping children to regulate their emotions and to feel calm.

It was amazing to work with Barndale House School to create an outdoor environment which welcomes and celebrates all abilities, promotes independence and encourages pupils to get outside with their whole school community and have fun! We created a fantastic social space where conversations are plenty, pupil wellbeing is enhanced and children return to lessons with a positive frame of mind, ready to learn.

Staff couldn’t praise our team of talented installers enough stating, “The team always had time for the children. They were very accommodating when pupils were standing watching, often engaging with and talking to the children, sharing plans and discussing ideas. Even though the children were watching, they felt really involved in the whole process.”

Inclusive swing for primary school playgrounds

The playspace will also be used by pupils completing their Duke of Edinburgh award as part of their route planning journey. The new outdoor area will be used on a daily basis and will make a huge difference to the lives of many children and their families.

If you would like to redevelop your outdoor play space just like Bandale House School, click here to start your journey with Pentagon Play