Look What We Did This Year!

Simon Holly, Head of Sales & our Customer Care Manager’s husband Matt Farrington ran the Vitality Half Marathon in London to raise money for Manorfield Primary School who are situated in a deprived area of Tower Hamlets and whose playground we developed.

With a sponsorship donation from ESP towards the cost of the branded T-shirts and monies raised by Simon and Matt we handed the school £2,500.

We also donated £100 to the Manorfield Primary School Foodbank for Christmas.

Through raffling Christmas gifts donated by our suppliers we raised £139.00 for the charity Circus Starr.  This amount sponsored 5 local disabled and disadvantaged children with their parents or carers to attend the circus at a venue in Burnley.

During Lockdown we hosted a charity quiz and donations of £25 were made to each of these charities nominated by the top three scores – Cancer Research, Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary and the RNLI.

We raised a total of £106 for Macmillan through a socially distanced coffee morning/week.

And we raised over £40 for Children in Need

In February ESP signed up for the Pendleside Hospice Corporate Challenge but unfortunately due to COVID this was cancelled BUT we will be signing up again in 2021.

During December we have raised £42.11 through a festive “Bake Off” and Christmas Jumper day for Save The Children and collected presents for the Burnley Christmas Present Appeal.


EYFS Playground for Westbourne Primary School

School: Westbourne Primary School

Location: Bradford, West Yorkshire

Westbourne Primary is a larger than average-sized, two-form entry primary school in Bradford, West Yorkshire, catering for around 475 pupils from nursery age through to year 6. The school had recently appointed a new headteacher who immediately identified that improvements needed to be made to the quality of EYFS outdoor provision. When choosing a playground developer to undertake the project, the headteacher carried out in-depth due diligence by assessing eight different companies before making a final decision.

The challenge 

Upon appointment to their new post, the headteacher immediately found the EYFS outdoor space did not enable Westbourne Primary School to deliver high-quality provision for its pupils. The area was tired, outdated, in need of serious cosmetic improvement and lacked the facilities pupils needed. The existing space did not offer suitable progression between the indoor and outdoor provision and the majority of activities needed to be teacher-led. The lack of opportunity for children to initiate their own play, to free-flow or self-discover new experiences was also a concern.

Before Installation

The brief

ESP Play was asked to design and install a new playground area that was more inviting, stimulating and engaging for EYFS children. As part of this, the development needed to provide a variety of play and learning experiences, including those where children could initiate and take part in free play. At the same time, the headteacher wanted to expand the outdoor opportunities that pupils had to develop their communication and language skills and to participate in problem-solving activities.

The project

ESP Play began by undertaking a thorough site survey before working with the school to design a new playground which would meet educational and school improvement objectives required from its investment. Once the design was agreed, a commencement date was established. Work began by installing new surfacing to the playground. This involved a variety of different surfaces, used to define the different play zones. These included block paving, resin bound gravel and artificial grass, some of which included playground markings, such as the ‘Roadway’. We then proceeded to build the water-play feature and raised messy play area.

The playground design included several pieces of climbing equipment, including an underground tunnel with an artificially grassed mound, log stairs, twisty challenges and a large, centrepiece Tangled climbing frame. In addition, we made much use of the available wall space by installing a magnetic water wall, body warping mirrors, whiteboards and chalkboards. A wooden play hut, tepee posts, triangular stage, benches, picnic table and various other pieces were also installed.

The results

The finished design transformed the outdoor space for Westbourne’s pupils, providing more opened areas for play, that were both safe and inviting for children to play on. Our carefully created zones meant space could be used more effectively and safely while providing a much wider range of age-appropriate activities for children to participate in.

After Installation

The outcome

As a result, outdoor EYFS provision is much improved at the school. Pupils are able to take part in far more free play and learning activities and do so more independently. There are also more opportunities to engage in communications and develop language skills and to problem-solve.

Overall, the school was very impressed with the educational knowledge ESP applied to the design and with the quality of the final products and installation. All areas had relevance and purpose but retained an open-ended interpretation of use. The school was delighted with the quality of the finished play area. The service was praised as the installation took place in school time without disruption to the school day. Attention to detail from design, product selection, quality of product and EYFS relevance and purpose was praised from the chair of governors, the Trust CEO, the headteacher, EYFS lead and teaching staff.


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.



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