Great Yarmouth Primary Academy

During the summer of 2016 we transformed a once run-down and drab play area into an exciting and vibrant place for play and learning.

The transformation has turned the space into a fun area where children can enjoy their break time, allowing them to return to the classroom more focussed and ready to learn.

Principal Dr Craig Avieson said: “We encourage our pupils to have high aspirations and it is only right we do everything we can to give them the best facilities possible. Play is an important part of a child’s development and this new playground will take that to a new level, as well as helping us take learning outside of the classroom.”

Before Installation

After Installation


Greenvale Infant & Nursery School

This case study showcases a truly stunning example of what can be achieved with the development of any school playground. Through careful planning and an outstanding design, this installation has delivered a real WOW factor.

Greenvale Infant and Nursery School based in Chatham Kent, contacted ESP Play in 2015 to discuss the idea of developing their outdoor play area.  One of our experts met Amanda Allnutt, Headteacher, to assess the best use of the space available and to understand the ideas she had for the investment for her outdoor provision.

Amanda didn’t want to just buy off the shelf playground equipment.  This project was much more about effective design, clever use of the existing area with playground equipment that would assist the delivery of the school’s outdoor learning objectives.  ESP carried out a full site assessment and survey and returned with a series of recommendations professionally presented in an A1, full colour scaled design along with an itemised breakdown of the costs.

After much discussion with the staff a proposal was agreed and ESP were given the green light to proceed with the installation.  The site was all set up ready for installation in the last week of March and before the end of April the installation was completed.  See the brand new playground equipment and design of the area before along with some photos of the installation in progress.

Installation in Progress

Installation Completed

This stunning development is a real example of how playground equipment and high quality design can create a transformation that make everyone go WOW.  Greenvake Infant and Nursery School now have a 5 star facility for the pupils to learn outside all year round.  If you would like to visit this fantastic site and see it with your own eyes, please contact your ESP Regional Advisor on 01282 434 445 and we will make the arrangements with the school for a tour.


Another teacher joins the ESP Play team…

We have added another teacher to our education team to help continue to strengthen the educational benefits Play and Physical Activity can bring to schools.

Here’s what Rob Whitelock had to say about why he joined ESP Play:

I am passionate about learning – 18 years in the classroom plays testimony to that and having worked closely with key protagonists in the play and sport movement, I’m equally passionate about how play and sport can help the progress and achievement of every child.  I’ve seen it – it can – it does!  I want to use every opportunity to share my experience with schools so they are best placed to enjoy the benefits play and sport can bring to all children.

Every school has a duty of care to every one of its children. With safeguarding at the top of the OFSTED agenda, schools need to be sure they are providing the best opportunities for their children in a safe and secure setting. The School Sport Premium gives every school the chance to invest in the well-being of its children but is it being used effectively? OFSTED will make a judgement on a schools use of its SSP so is it worth leaving it to chance? Many schools ‘buy in’ specialist support to deliver physical activity, which is great while the SSP is in place but expensive and not sustainable when the funding ends. Many schools don’t realise the most effective, most sustainable investment is in its own staff and most importantly, its own children. Furthermore, how can schools guarantee SSP spending reaches every child?  While a focus on traditional, competitive sport might suit some children, does it suit all? Sport is not a ‘one size fits all’ offer. It needs diversity to be totally inclusive. It needs innovation to reach every child. It needs to offer something to everyone at every level.

Done well, sport and play can engage the most difficult to reach child, raise self-confidence, raise self-esteem and raise attainment. Done well, sport and play dissolves stereotypical boundaries and becomes limitless. Done well sport and play can be fun!

Our work, in collaboration with the NHS is backed up by independent research from Leeds Metropolitan University, which concludes:

  • Independent observers: an increase in INDIVIDUALS’ physical activity (plus increases in staff supervising the space.
  • Teacher observers: more (%) children are more active (boys AND girls)
  • Reduced % of lightly engaged pupils
  • A wide range of benefits for pupil involvement – developmental and curricular, individual and systemic
  • Playgrounds seen as more positive environments for all members of the school community
  • As well as sustaining already active children, what equivalent investments will benefit an additional four children in every class of 28 (and in so many diffuse ways)?

I have joined the passionate team at ESP Play to share and promote best practice in schools and help schools make best use of their limited capacity.


Playground Funding Assistance

Playground funding for your next development

Acquiring funding for your next play area development can be arduous which is why we have created a comprehensive playground funding assistance guide which will talk you through the various different options available to your school.

Getting some ideas together for how you want to transform your outdoor area is essential if you are to be successful in securing any financial contribution towards it. We have a vast range of products available to get you started but we also offer every school a completely FREE playground design service to show you how your dream play area could look. We can design schemes to suit any budget or specific requirements your school may have.

In addition to this we have just introduced our new Funding Bid Writing & Management Service where a member of our team will manage your application from start to finish to increase the likelihood of you securing the funding you need.

Our guide covers:


  • How to use ESP’s unique Funding Bid Writing and Management Service.
  • What products you can spend your Sports Premium Budget on.
  • Acquiring funding directly from ESP.


Continue to our full guide here…

the 5 best tips to develop your play area

5 Tips to Develop your Playground

There has never been a more important time for physical education (PE), school sport and health-related activity in schools. Research confirms that up to 50% of all seven year-olds do not get enough exercise and one in three young people leave primary school overweight or obese. From an early age, lifelong patterns of positive behaviour and involvement can be gained through participation in high quality physical activity and play.

Research proves that well designed outdoor play areas can help combat these issues and so we have put together out top 5 tips to develop your play area to help any school thinking about making a positive change.

Informal and structured physical activity is essential for the mental, physical, emotional and social development of every child. This type of activity develops fundamental movement skills and coordination skills, social skills linked to communication and language, and creativity and cooperation – all essential tools to aid successful learning in the curriculum and beyond.

It is very important to create an environment that offer sustainability. The facilities and knowledge of how to use the facilities correctly are the key to creating a positive whole school impact that is sustainable and cross curricular. That is why having the right playground is so important. Here are five key points to help maximise your playground space to inspire young people to undertake physical activity:


Tip 1. What is your objective? What are you trying to achieve with this investment?

Does the development of your playground form part of your school improvement plan? Is this investment recognised as a priority by the whole school and local community. To create a sustainable impact the school and community must have ownership and responsibility on how they will use this facility to add value to learning and the development of young people. Teachers must be able to identify and evidence how they will develop and improve the following points:


  • Participation in daily physical activity for every child
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication and language skills
  • Social skills
  • Team work
  • Fundamental movement skills
  • Achievement in Physical Education lessons


A needs analysis of your playground will help inform you of what improvements can be made. The analysis should focus on gathering and reviewing the information, consulting end users and key stakeholders, and establishing priority requirements. It is important that you are inclusive throughout the process and make a special effort to understand the requirements of children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities to incorporate these into your plan. Consider the following key questions: How well is the space used? Are there spaces between existing buildings that have always been under-utilised? What is it currently used for? Who is using it? Who is not using it? What would the pupils like it to be used for?


Tip 2. A School Playground should not be the same as a Community Park.

It is too easy to simply put a put a piece of equipment in a school playground and think job done. A community play park is to simply go and climb and school playground is a place to play but also learn at the same time. Learning should not just start at the classroom door, it should begin at the school gates. The outdoor resources available to schools offer a fantastic opportunity to take learning beyond the classroom. Ask yourself; does this equipment have any relevance and purpose to curriculum? Does it offer any wider benefits to just play? Can I evidence this equipment as adding value to the school improvement plan?

Any investment should yield a return. What educational return is your playground offering?


Tip 3. Team effort

Engaging the right people at this early stage will ensure they are committed to the project. The key stakeholders that should be consulted from the very start are: governors, headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants, lunchtime supervisors, parents and pupils. They can be consulted in a variety of ways including: meetings and class discussions; school sports council(s); playground committee; questionnaires; observation studies and pupil drawings.


Tip 4. Choose a qualified contractor that understands education

Appoint a qualified and knowledgeable contractor to work with you to check the feasibility of the components and configurations selected. Make sure they understand education and the purpose of your investment. Don be sucked into just picking equipment from a catalogue. Make sure the design is bespoke to your requirements and objectives.


Tip 5. Teacher Development

To make your investment sustainable you must ensure teachers, lunchtime supervisors, assistants and others understand how to use the playground for break and lunch time activities but more importantly how to benefit from the outdoor resource for curriculum time. Engage in an accredited CPD programme that supports the use of the playground across the curriculum.

Research confirms the following:


  • Children are better prepared for learning following participation in high quality physical activities
  • Children are less fidgety in class following participation in high quality physical activity
  • 80% of children are kinaesthetic learners
  • Development of Fundamental Movement skills improve confidence and movement competence and therefore increases participation

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