An independent, exclusive study carried out by Roehampton University.

With over 1,000 children being referred to hospital as a result of obesity, and 1 in 3 children between the ages of 2 and 10 being overweight, these figures are truly alarming. Regardless of who is to blame, schools are being encouraged to increase and improve physical activity in the playground as every child deserves the right to a healthy lifestyle.

As a result of extensive independent research commissioned by ESP and carried out by Liverpool John Moores University, we discovered that the average amount of physical activity taking place during PE lessons was remarkably low. The report demonstrated that “68% of a child’s PE lesson is spent stationary”. This research helped ESP re-define their unique solutions and supporting tools to ensure that this figure was improved when utilising their proposition. Further research has proven a 19% increase in physical activity as a result of ESP’s methods and playground environments.

Our multi-skills concepts and CPD training programs have been carefully designed to dramatically improve the activity levels in the playground, both during break times and PE lessons. Playground markings designed with multi-skills as a core activity ensure children are able to: "walk before they can run’, include children of all abilities and develop their fundamental movement skills". Staff at the school are given comprehensive training to implement these multi-skills lessons through our CPD training programs, which are designed to up-skill school staff and improve their PE lessons and knowledge of multi-skills activities.

The PE and Sport premium which is available to all schools throughout the UK can be used to invest in professional development for teachers and for facilities to improve PE and sport. This funding comes as a result of recent Ofsted reports, which state a great disappointment in PE lessons within some schools.


Headline research findings following an ESP installation:

The overall findings demonstrate a positive impact over the period of the study as a result of the installations of the Multi-skills Zone and the professional development training of staff.
The main findings were: 
7.5% increase in observed physical activity levels.
Physical activity levels continued to increase throughout the research period.
Increase of 4.9 minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity per day per child post intervention.
Approximately 70% of those children recorded using accelerometers increased their activity levels.
There was a surprising 7% decrease in physical activity levels in the control school (where no markings/training took place).
Initially the playground had more impact on the activity levels of boys, but over time the girls increased their activity levels more (8.6% v 6.9%).
39% increase in the number of adults supporting physical activity during the observations.
Most staff identified the benefits of the playground markings and playground equipment.
Responses varied depending on the extent to which the training had been embedded in practice.
There was little evidence of change in self perception over the period of the study.
rohampton university researchThis report is the first part of an independent study carried out by Roehampton University.