Video: Sneak preview of Barking primary school's new rooftop playground

PUBLISHED: 12:29 05 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:48 05 September 2016

Jo Preston, James Fox and Cllr Saima Ashraf say the rooftop playground and story-telling space is a milestone for the Barking school

Jo Preston, James Fox and Cllr Saima Ashraf say the rooftop playground and story-telling space is a milestone for the Barking school


The country's biggest primary school is raising expectations once more with its "inspiring" new rooftop playground.

A first of its kind for the borough, the three-storey high play area tops off the new £11million build at Gascoigne Primary School’s Shaftesbury site, which the Post previewed in an exclusive tour ahead of the start of term.

Headteacher Jo Preston said the play area, which has space for 669 pupils, was a milestone for the school in Gascoigne Road, Barking.

“It’s very special,” she said. “There’s a lot of space for the children to be active and we’ll be encouraging them to take part in sports.”

Pupils will be protected by netting along its perimeter and overhead, allowing for ball games on the multi use games area pitch on the west side of the building, which is separated from the east by changing rooms and toilets.

The east side offers more space for play on its rubber crumb surface and also boasts a story-telling shelter, with deputy headteacher James Fox hoping views of the Thames barrier will inspire creative pupils to tell tales of their own.

“We’ve got the opportunity for drama, creative writing and stories inspired by looking over the local area,” he said.

“This is an exciting place for children to be.”

Deputy council leader Cllr Saima Ashraf said the rooftop playground will offer a new perspective for pupils.

“With the regeneration that’s going on, children will be able to see how the area is changing,” she said. “And the view of Barking Abbey is beautiful.”

A tour of the building beneath revealed space for 669 pupils, a new ground-level play area for reception pupils, a classroom with a 65-inch interactive television and a computer lab with 30 computers and an interactive whiteboard.

There are also “nurture rooms”, which will offer care for children with emotional and social needs.

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