Case study
17 Apr 2024

Turning a playground from grey to green at St Philip's Primary School

Sofia Metcalf-Riener
School playground with planters attached to the wall

Back in November 2023, we heard from St Philip’s C of E Primary School in Atherton about their plans to transform their school grounds for nature by installing a green wall. A few months on, they've been back in touch now the green wall has been completed!

Like many schools in England, St Philip’s outdoor space was a grey concrete playground. The explore your school site activities helped pupils decide that they wanted to increase nature in this concrete space and the start planning for nature activities enabled them to decide to create a green wall to make their grey playground greener.  

"We wanted to make a green wall because we noticed that the current wall didn’t have much nature, and we wanted to make it more bright and colourful and create a great space for bugs. One of the plants we chose is lambs ears, because it helps to minimise air pollution in our school. All of the little hairs on it catch the carbon from the cars passing by."  

Year 6 pupil 

We are so pleased to see the green wall thriving! Grandparent volunteers helped the school’s gardening club install and plant up the wall, which has added colour and interest to this part of the playground.

Growing your own

There are more plans for the coming months, including using the green wall to grow salads to go with school dinners! In science lessons pupils are propagating plants in preparation to start growing their own ingredients for salad, and in the summer, St Philip’s are planning to fill one of the sections with edible planting that they are growing from seed in their potting shed. They are even trialling using some pudding bowls one of their grandmas sent in with some of their seedlings which is having great success so far!  

a concrete playground
The playground before
green planters growing on a brick wall with colourful flowers in them
The playground now

“It was great to use the planting wall as part of our science lesson, as we were able to see how different plants reproduce. This was really helpful as we have been learning about this in class and it allowed the children to have a better understanding. We also planted our own black grass which we will look after and then see how it has grown. The planting wall is a great addition to our school grounds - I especially like how the children are growing their own salad which we will eventually use in our school kitchen!”

Miss Houghton, Science Lead and Y5 teacher  

Inspired to start your Nature Park journey and transform your space from grey to green? Register to join now and help boost biodiversity on your learning site.