ESP and the Green-Flag campaign

Playground Equipment company now providing products to assist with energy saving

ESP have recently introduced a range of energy saving products, providing schools with a framework for making sustainability a big part of their lives. With many schools aiming for a green flag award, the company have decided to assist with this.

Due to growing concerns with the overuse and expense of natural energy sources, schools are frequently encouraged to implement as many energy saving methods as possible. Both upper and lower schools are looking at ways to economise their spending and make best use of their resources. This has motivated ESP to include energy sustainable items into their product catalogue. Alongside low energy electronics (such as lightbulbs), solar panels and wind turbines are available to generate extra electricity and cut down on CO2 emissions. Self-sustainable floodlighting requires no external energy source as it creates its own solar power.

All of these new products are directly aimed at assisting schools looking to gain a green flag award. The award criteria states that one of the school’s chosen topics MUST be geared towards energy saving. ESP have taken this into account and have carefully chosen products which make significant contributions towards the schools green flag action plan.

Energy Saving Actions

  • Replace failing lamps.
  • Changing to low energy bulbs.
  • Installing solar panels or wind power turbines.
  • Installing self-sustainable floodlighting.

How can your school benefit from energy saving products?

  • Reduced costs resulting in more funds for school spending.
  • Curriculum learning.
  • Improved comfort conditions.
  • Pupil action and awareness.
  • Pupils taking power saving concepts home with them.
  • A good school image.

ESP now provide products suited for all of the above. For a free site survey and quote, please contact us on 01282 434445 or via the contact page.


Are primary school children becoming ‘physically illiterate’?

Susan Campbell expresses concerns about the physical activity of primary school children.

Susan Campbell, the head of UK Sport, has recently expressed concerns over the health of 11 year olds moving onto secondary schools. She claims many children are ‘physically illiterate’ and unable to run, jump, throw or catch – all the fundamental movement skills of sport. She claims many primary school teachers lack the confidence to teach PE as they have not had the proper training and therefore are not specialist PE teachers.

ESP Multi-skills

We applaud Sue for bringing this to the public eye but at ESP we know this is nothing new. For years we have been addressing the situation and investing in extensive research on how to build the vocabulary of skills required to participate confidently and competently in sport. Our multi-skills zone was subject to a range of independent research carried out by Roehampton University, Leeds Metropolitan University and Liverpool University which confirms:

  • Proven increases in levels of physical activity.
  • Substantial improvements in fundamental movement skills such as catching, kicking, throwing and running.
  • Proven increases in the participation in sport.

Ask any school who has taken advantage of our multi-skills packages and they won’t be telling you that their pupils are ‘physically illiterate’.

Our multi-skills playground markings were designed to engage children in activities which build upon their fundamental movement skills, such as those mentioned in Sue’s speech. These skills can be applied to a number of sports, whilst many of the activities also incorporate cross-curricular links and provide a whole school benefit.

The success of our multi-skills zone is due to the range of CPD training awards that we actively deliver to non-specialist teachers in order to increase their knowledge and know how to deliver effective physical education lessons. The professional development board of afPE have nationally accredited our multi-skills training awards and continue to assist us in the quality assurance of the delivery. Delegate evaluations confirm that our CPD training awards are informative and inspirational. These sessions provide staff with solutions to teach fundamental movement skills to children. When the time comes, children will be ready for the big shift to secondary sport.

You can read the full report here.


Multi-Skills Playground Markings at Little Ealing School

Little Ealing Primary School, Weymouth Avenue, London, W5 4EA

ESP have recently worked with Little Ealing Primary to add multi-skills activity to the playground area. We implemented our multi-skills markings to allow children to practice skills applicable to a wide range of sporting activity.

The school were keen to see an increase in physical activity and these markings were an excellent choice for this purpose. With a wide choice of games and a multitude of uses, the children can set goals to their own ability while pushing themselves to improve. Teachers also see benefits across the curriculum too, as these playground markings can be used to take lessons outdoors. A variety of numeracy and literacy games are all possible and are great fun for the children. Physical activity is a great way to engross the children in learning. More and more schools throughout the country are deciding to to take this rewarding route and are pleased with the results.

Alongside the Famous 5 Multi-Skills markings, the school also chose to include a netball court.

Included Multi-skills Playground Markings
  • Fast Feet
  • Nine Square Grid
  • Target Trainer
  • Ring Step
  • Multi-Step Column

The History of Playgrounds – Past, Present and Future.

Playgrounds are places designed for children to enjoy themselves in a carefree environment. A modern day playground is brimming with a wide range play equipment such as swings, slides, trim trails, play towers, sand boxes, jungle bars, playground markings and much more. Playgrounds help with the development of physical strength, fitness, co-ordination and flexibility; whilst providing a great place for interaction and enjoyment.


The introduction of playgrounds.

The idea of the playground originated in Germany and was invented as a platform for teaching children correct ways to play. The first purpose built children’s playground was built in 1859 in a park in Manchester, England. Although they had appeared before this period, playgrounds were properly introduced to the United States by President Roosevelt in 1907, of which he said:

“City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare.”

Playground Trends

London first witnessed the introduction of ’junk playgrounds’ in the period following World War II,  via the landscape architect and children’s rights campaigner Lady Allen of Hurtwood. She changed the name to ‘Adventure Playground’ in 1953; creating the National Playing Fields Association (now Fields in Trust), which saw the coordination of adventure playground projects throughout the country. These playgrounds were constructed from recycled ‘junk’ which the NPFA provided in order for children to design and create playgrounds in spaces such as bomb sites, building sites and wasteland.

Since then, playgrounds have seen many design trends and playground design can now be seen as a form of artistic architecture. A good design is considered: challenging but safe, aesthetically pleasing, cost effective and innovative. Materials that have been used and continue to be used include: wood, HDPE plastic, steel, aluminium, rope, rubber, artificial grass and many more. Most modern playground incorporate all these materials. Wood is currently very trendy due to its natural and decorative properties. It is common to see climbing frames, trim trails and swing posts using wood as a main material.

Laws of the modern playground

The 1980′s saw many laws and legislations come into play (no pun intended!) in order to avoid injuries to children. This area requires a blog of its own but a couple of important points include:

  • No sharp points or edges
  • Gaps must measure less than 3.5 inch or more than 9 inch.
  • Equipment more than 30inches high must be at least 9 foot appart.

These laws have helped prevent danger in playgrounds but designers are met with the challenge of making playgrounds equally fun whilst still being safe and legal. Good playground design requires concentration on both points in equal measures.


Playgrounds in Schools

School playgrounds incorporate playground equipment, playground markings and curriculum based items to provide children with an exciting learning zone.  ESP are experts in this area and are constantly researching, innovating and providing schools with products that incorporate the curriculum into the playground. Our multi-skills thermoplastic markings are a perfect example of building fundamental movement skills amongst children; meanwhile our science, maths and performance products use playground equipment to fuse activity and education into the outdoor play area.

In recent years there has a considerable increase in interest for the health and fitness of children; consequently schools have focussed more attention to the outdoor areas. This has resulted in more adventurous playgrounds becoming more common and it is not rare to see a school playground featuring far more than just a hopscotch and a netball court. Modern sports are encouraged in equal measures and our ‘Free:D’ Parkour for Schools range has proven very popular throughout the country.

The future of playgrounds?

Who knows what the future holds for playgrounds. In the UK, the ‘Olympic Legacy’ was supposed to increase sporting activity in schools, but the success rate only provided disappointment. Competitive sports have long been encouraged throughout the sporting curriculum. Maybe now is the time to let the children play and choose there own physical activities. We are strong believers that multi-skills playgrounds encourage skills that can be applied to every sporting activity; competitive or otherwise. Hopefully playgrounds of the future will offer more choice to children and more schools will encourage their children with more than just competitive sports. We offer the best of both worlds, join in with the fun!


By Matt Heap
Follow Matt on Google+

If you use this information as a source on your website, please link back to this blog.


Specialist PE teachers in Schools?

According to recent reports, the head of youth sport has called for specialist PE teachers in all UK schools. We hope this will result in more playground activity and better use of playground equipment after feeling disappointed with the reports stating a 60% drop in sport activity in the wake of government cuts. This comes at a time when the country is in debate about Michael Gove’s decision to enforce competitive sport while deeming none competitive sports to be less important.

Despite Grove’s decision, ESP are huge supporters of all sporting activity, competitive or otherwise. We believe that all children deserve the chance to participate in sports that makes them happy and physically active. It is refreshing to know that schools up and down the country continue to share our views whilst recent news reports have not affected the success of our multi-skills playground markings. These markings are a great way to build fundamental movement skills applicable to a wide range of sporting activities,  including football, basketball, gymnastics, dance and many more. The possibilities are endless.

A more detailed report on these political debates can be found at The Guardian Website.


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