Research and analysis

Using the physical environment as a tool for teaching

Ofsted good practice example showing how Netherfield Primary School uses resources and space to provide outstanding learning experiences.

This publication was withdrawn on

This good practice example has been withdrawn as the provider is no longer outstanding or good.


Netherfield Primary School: good practice example

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This good practice example shows how Netherfield Primary School makes highly effective use of resources and space to provide children with outstanding learning experiences. A range of teaching approaches, both formal and informal, sit side by side in a highly planned curriculum where both the indoor and outdoor environment are used creatively.

A research-based approach was taken when setting up the environments, and a large staff team works together to seek ever better ways of ensuring that children get off to a good start. At this school, the headteacher is clear that ‘the environment is the best teaching tool we have’.

This is part of a set of 8 Ofsted good practice examples showcasing good practice in early years to support the report: ‘Teaching and play in the early years – a balancing act?’.

Published 13 July 2015