As the sun shone this afternoon, pupils at Diamond Hall Junior Academy were on cloud nine as their brand new playground was formally opened by local MP, Julie Elliott.

Over the past few months, staff and pupils have been eagerly awaiting completion of the £124,000 top-of-the-range play facility installed by Pentagon Play.

The main play area provides both active and imaginative play for the youngsters and includes a forest adventure trail, a central climbing feature and the Langley play castle which has ramps, climbing nets, a climbing wall, slides and a fireman’s pole.

Children can also enjoy the elements out in the new forest school nature area which allows pupils to engage with nature and enhance their knowledge from the classroom out in a real-life setting. Pupils can also grow their own plants, flowers and vegetables in the raised planters or head over to the ‘bug hotel’ and forest floor learning den.

The main play area at Diamond Hall Junior Academy has also been transformed which is used to encourage competitive sport with netball being the current favourite amongst pupils. This area is now complete with two gazebos which can be used for outdoor learning as a change from the classroom.

The playground is part of ongoing improvements being made by school sponsors the North East Learning Trust with the concept behind the design coming from Headteacher, Fiona Hoare, who wanted to provide different and unique experiences for the pupils which could prove sometimes challenging yet educational.

Fiona Hoare, Headteacher at Diamond Hall Junior Academy, said: “Our playground has been under development for quite some time and I would like to thank the staff and members of the Trust who have made this possible for our pupils.

“It is wonderful to be able to provide our school community with a safe and stimulating place to play. Our pupils are extremely excited about their new facilities – especially the adventure play area!”

Andrew Crosby, Head of NELT Estates, who oversaw the project added: “This addition has transformed an uninspiring space into series of exciting areas which now engage pupils safely in challenging play and learning activities.

Pupils were involved very early in the creation of the design and I hope that the result, which certainly looks impressive, meets their aspirations.

There were at times significant delivery challenges, particularly in respect of labour and materials shortages during the pandemic, however we are delighted to have achieved completion and I am sure that our pupils will enjoy the benefits for many years to come.”