18th May 2001 at 01:00
(Photograph) - New Holland CE and Methodist primary school, Barrow-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire.

As long ago as 1996, New Holland applied to North Lincolnshire council to transform some of the wasteland behind the school into a play area. It's been a long haul, but last summer, the new space, including a playground, mathematical gardens, a pond, an arena and a quiet area, finally opened.

Perhaps the most striking features are the dramatic sculptures created by some of the school's 88 pupils. Years 1 and 2 designed a flying frog, which is now forever leaping into the pond. Year 3 and 4 children based a design on the local story of a magical black dog. And Years 5 and 6 designed and helped to erect a totem pole, complete with pictures beaten into copper plate.

The project would never have got off the ground without the help of many local people and organisations, including artist Pete Rogers, who helped with the sculptures and specially designed fence panels.

Ofsted described the project, which will help the school's bid for theNational Healthy School Standard, as "an outstanding example of school and community working together". Headteacher Roy Smith agrees. He says: "The project was superb. It helped with pupils' development as part of the community and gave great opportunities for practical work across the curriculum."

Snaps by Roy Smith

Eco-watch: children work with local environmentalist Miles Hopper to discover what plants and creatures lived on the land before its development

Finishing touches: Year 5 and 6 pupils complete New Holland's totem pole by attaching the copper plates

Dog tired: James, Phoebe and Matthew rest on the completed sculpture

Slip, sliding: a digger clears the wasteland before it is transformed into the play area

Ground force: some of the pupils responsible for the development of the play area

Lake placid: the view across the pond from the dipping platform

Dogged: Year 4 pupils enjoy the hands-on experience building the Black Dog sculpture

Chill out: enjoying the quiet of the rest area

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