Armfield Academy, Blackpool contacted ESP Play to create an outdoor area that would help with the development of the children’s gross motor skills, develop team building skills and improve movement.

School: Armfield Academy

Location: Lytham Road, South Shore, Blackpool, Lancashire

Armfield Academy, Blackpool is a new multi-million pound school that first opened on the 3rd of September 2018. The school is run by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), the largest trust on the Fylde coast and that also runs Aspire Academy, Garstang Community Academy, Gateway Academy, Hambleton Primary, Mereside Primary, Montgomery Academy, Unity Academy, Westcliff Academy and Westminster Academy. Armfield Academy was built following the demolition of Arnold School and was named after Blackpool FC legend and former Arnold pupil Jimmy Armfield.

The school’s mission is to transform the lives of young people on the Fylde Coast and across Lancashire by raising aspirations and achievements. It is their overriding aim to make these values highly visible in every child and student, whilst providing a safe, healthy, stimulating, and exciting environment for all to grow, learn and play in.

In October 2019, Armfield Academy contacted ESP Play because they were keen to turn their attention to developing the main playground. They wanted a play structure that would help with the development of the children’s gross motor skills and some playground markings that would develop team building skills and improve movement.

The brief

The main playground is used by children aged 4-11. The area needed some climbing equipment and markings. The equipment needed to be challenging enough for the children in KS2 yet not too difficult for the children in KS1. The school wanted to encourage free play rather structured and wanted a natural look and feel to space.

The project

The project began with a meeting at the Academy to discuss the Academy’s vision and specific needs for the playground, followed by a comprehensive site survey.

ESP Play then created a design incorporating the Academy’s requirements and sent this for approval. The overall design included open ended flexible markings and climbing challenges. It produced a sustainable outdoor learning environment that the children of Armfield Academy could enjoy and benefit from for years to come.

The ESP Play team installed two Tangled units; the Tarantula and Black Widow which were connected by a spinning log onto the grass area of the playground. The team laid an artificial grass surface under the climbing equipment allowing the space to be utilised all year round when it was previously only used during the summer months. This also meant that the tarmac area was kept free from any access obstructions and for the Multi-Skills markings to be laid.

The outcome

See for yourself and look at the before and after photo’s below. The new design has transformed the outdoor area creating an exciting and enticing outdoor space full of challenges for all ages. The climbing equipment with help develop the children’s gross motor skills and the markings will allow them to develop team building skills and improve their fundamental movement skills.

The new state of the art building now combined with the new playground means that Armfield Academy is definitely “An Academy to be Proud of” allowing the children to become “The best we can be”.

Site Supervisor, Matty Hayes, said “I am delighted with the new playground, the lads worked hard to complete the project and I have been happy with the service from start to finish. I will be passing on your details to the other schools within the Trust with a high recommendation and would use you again for future projects”.

If you’d like to enhance your school playground, please get in touch. One of our Regional Managers would love to help you.