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EKFB’s Best Social Value Initiative, Booker Park School’s New Forest Playground

By Issy Greenfield, Engagement Manager in the Aylesbury Area

Contributors: Elena Gonzalez, Kiran Kang, Salem Bahmead, Harrison Fay, ATM Fencing, HW Martin and West Coast Haulage

Booker Park School is a SEND primary school located in Aylesbury, supporting young children with severe mental disabilities and multiple learning disabilities.

Booker Park School is our neighbour and in 2022, our team was proud to support the school by creating a new outdoor forest area for the children to enjoy for years to come.

Here’s our story…

Following months of collaboration with the school, our team got to work during the summer holidays, transforming a heavily overgrown area into an interactive and educational outdoor learning space for the children - and in just six weeks.

The vision and purpose of the forest school was to enable pupils to have the opportunity to learn and have a positive relationship with the natural world. Alongside the natural elements, sensory play items were incorporated to facilitate the children’s learning. The school was interested in a forest school as they are multi-sensory and can help improve concentration and the motivation to learn.

Forest schools can help children with learning disabilities or additional needs to gain more independence and self-confidence, reduce anxiety, build resilience, and improve their communication skills.

The main requirements of the forest school were:

  • De-vegetation of the area must be conducted excluding trees

  • Natural materials

  • Provide a seating area for learning

  • Provide a lunch area

  • Natural pathways that have disabled access

  • New fencing around the perimeter of the area

  • Several areas for sensory play (for example – water wall and mud kitchen)

  • Area for pupils to de-escalate

The project utilised recycled materials and the skills of our supply chain contractors for the majority of the components included in the forest school such as log benches, railway sleepers, paths, water wall, and communication station accessories.

The benefits this space has brought to the school is very rewarding and now the school’s facilities are used by its 226 pupils, 315 staff members, and families.

“A project like Booker Park School leaves a great legacy for a community which is close to our construction works. Additionally, this project has spread goodwill within our communities and is improving people’s lives – what's more rewarding than that?

Our approach to community engagement is centred on involving our communities to realise positive impacts. Community investment is a big part of our community engagement outreach and forms part of the conversations with stakeholders.” - Isabella Greenfield

With sincere thanks to our supply chain partners and colleagues for the support and generosity.


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