Playground Equipment to Help Primary Schools Meet the National Curriculum for PE

The National Curriculum for PE covers an awful lot of ground during Key Stages 1 and 2. Schools need to teach running, jumping, throwing and catching; they have to let pupils compete in games and perform dances; and provide them with the opportunity to develop strength, coordination, and balance.

In this post, we’ll look at the range of skills listed above and show you specific items of outdoor play equipment that can be used to teach and develop those skills. In doing so, we hope to show you how this equipment can help you meet the National Curriculum for PE.


According to the National Curriculum, running is the ability to move at a speed faster than a walk, whilst never having both feet on the ground at the same time. While running usually comes naturally to children, your aim as a school is to develop their running skills: to build up stamina, endurance, speed and technique.

Perhaps the best way to develop these skills in the playground is to install sports markings for games such as football, netball and rounders that encourage children to run whilst having fun. Some multi-skills markings such as fast feet and ring step are also helpful for specific skills.


The National Curriculum defines jumping as pushing yourself off a surface, into the air, using the muscles in the legs and feet. Like running, it is a skill that comes naturally but needs developing in order to help children jump higher or further.

Some of the best pieces of equipment for doing this are those that involve excitement, such as the step and jump posts that are part of our Trim Trails or the ‘Jump the Gap’ elements of our Free Flow equipment. There are also hurdles playground markings you can use.

Throwing & Catching

Throwing and catching require pupils to develop a range of skills. They need to learn different techniques (e.g., one-hand and two-hand catching, overarm and underarm throwing) and be able to throw longer distances with more accuracy.

There are some great pieces of equipment designed to bring these skills along. For throwing accuracy, for example, we have target boards and target markings. We also have ball catcher trainers and a specially designed ball catcher that develops hand-eye coordination, footwork, balance and catching skills.

Competitive Games

A lot of competitive games are team games and sports playground markings provide ample opportunity for children to participate in these. With markings available for football, futsal (5-aside), netball, basketball, rounders and cricket, there is a wide range of competitive sports to choose from. And if you're short of space, you can even get multi-court markings which enable several sports to be played in the same space.

For individual competitive games, there are tennis markings plus a wide range of activity based equipment, such as Trim Trails obstacle courses or climbing walls where children can take part in time trials against each other or compete by endurance.


Although the National Curriculum uses the term ‘dance’, it defines it as a variety of fundamental movements usually undergone in a regularly repeated pattern. To perform a dance, therefore, requires skills in coordination and sequencing as well as an ability to understand rhythm.

Equipment that can be used to help teach these skills include movement and dance motif boards and various playground markings including our and multi-step and grid markings. If you’re planning to make the performance a key part of your curriculum, there is also a range of outdoor stages which can be used to showcase the dances your pupils create.

Balance & Coordination

early years physical climbing activity playground equipment

Balance, the ability to remain upright and steady by evenly distributing weight, and coordination, using different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently, are two skills that go hand in hand.

There is a range of climbing equipment sets that are perfectly designed to help children develop these skills. Our Trim Trails, Free Flow, Tangled and Infinity Trails all provide challenging and fun ways for children to practice balancing, climbing and various other physical manoeuvres across a range of exciting obstacles.


To develop strength, children need to be given the opportunity to build their muscles through physically challenging exercise. Here again, climbing equipment offers a number of ways to achieve this. Climbing up ladders, ropes and rigging, using monkey bars, dip bars and chin-up bars, for example, are great ways to develop strength in core muscles, arms and legs. Unlike circuit training, however, these pieces of equipment are seen as fun by pupils and, like everything else mentioned in this post, can be used during breaktimes as well as during PE lessons. This means that skills can be practiced and honed even during free time.


If your school is struggling to provide the right equipment to meet the needs of the National Curriculum in PE, or if you are looking for new and exciting ways to deliver the subject, we hope the suggestions we have provided here will help you. If you need more ideas or want to discuss how you can use our equipment in your playground, contact us on 01282 43 44 45. We’ll be happy to help.

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