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Folkestone Academy, Folkestone, Kent

Folkestone Academy

Folkestone Academy was built as a secondary school academy by renowned architects Foster and Partners. Academies, although state funded, have a combination of their funds coming straight from central government and private funding and not, traditionally, from the local council. This allows them to be self-governing and obtain extra funding from external sources.

Children playing on multi activity timber play structure in school playground


Central to the vision of Folkestone Academy is developing the talents and learning abilities of their pupils in the environment and grounds in which they learn.

In time Folkestone was extended to become an All Age Academy by the building of a Primary school by Guy Hollaway architects. The school design was to reflect the different steps of the child’s development. Separate stages but conjoined and each flowing into the other. Class and play based learning was recognised and bridged.

The school clearly understands the role that imaginative play takes in the children’s development. As part of the extension the school wanted to create a playground in their school grounds. The playground was to be split into distinct, interactive play zones for all the different age ranges of their children, echoing in some ways the theme of the building.

Folkestone Academy wanted to create this space in the court yard as it was right in the centre of the school. This play and chill out area is now called the Eden Zone.

Folkestone school playground with timber play structure


Russell Play was chosen to do the work because the Academy felt that it could provide them with the complete solution and give them flexibility regarding product specifications.

Russell Play had a lot of meetings with the school head teacher and the children to best understand what they wanted in the new space. The Spielart timber play product was used as this best met the school’s needs in terms of versatility of design and construction. A bespoke solution was designed for the Eden section of the site and the other items were modified to the school’s specifications.

Train and carraige timber carved play structure in school playground


The whole school is delighted with its new play spaces.

Leila Appleby-Landsley, the school’s business coordinator said:

When building our new Primary Academy we chose Russell Play equipment for its child friendly design and superior build quality. We have various pieces of Russell Play equipment throughout the grounds of the school and within an internal courtyard area too. The children simply love the equipment and the opportunities it presents for imaginative play. I would definitely recommend Russell Play to others.’

Boy and girl playing on timber carved sheep play figure in school playground