For many schools, especially primaries with small playgrounds, delivering a broad and balanced outdoor PE curriculum can be a big challenge. Here we look at some of the practical solutions available today that can help you offer a greater choice of sports and training and which are ideal for schools with limited outdoor space.
If you have a smaller outdoor space, it is likely that it will need to be used for both PE and general outdoor play. For this reason, you’ll need surfacing that is ideal for many different types of activity, is hardwearing and can be used in all weathers.
There are two modern surfacing solutions that are ideal for this: resin bound gravel and wetpour surfacing. Replacing tarmac and asphalt as the hard surface of choice, resin bound gravel offers improved drainage for all year use and a firmer footing for reduced risk and superior sports performance.
Wetpour surfacing, which is made from recycled rubber, offers a great grip on footwear, too. It is also softer and provides cushioning, making it great for outdoor sports as it reduces the chances of injury should pupils take a tumble during a PE activity. For the same reasons, it’s equally good for general outdoor play, especially around climbing equipment.
For those with additional space, a third alternative is artificial grass. Usable all year round, even when normal grass is too muddy, is easily maintained, without the need for mowing or reseeding, ensuring that whatever the weather, outdoor PE lessons can go ahead.
Pitch, court & trainer markings
The PE curriculum entitles pupils to participate in a broad range of sports, however, what a school can offer is often limited to the types of pitches, courts and equipment they have. Playground markings, which work with resin bound gravel, wetpour and older types of hard surfaces, are an inexpensive way of providing a wide variety of outdoor pitches and courts, for sports such as football, netball, basketball, rounders, tennis and cricket. For those schools short of outdoor space, it is even possible to create a multi-sports court that provides the markings for three different sports on the same pitch, each in different colours.
Additionally, there are also a wide variety of training markings available, designed to help pupils improve skills, including balance, endurance, coordination, footwork, hurdles and ball skills.
Add the right sports equipment
Of course, surfacing and markings won’t provide all the resources you need for outdoor PE. So, it is important to consider the additional equipment that can embellish these and expand your provision. The latest sports equipment lets you add high-quality, space saving football and hockey goals and basketball and netball hoops to your pitch markings. For those with space shortages, there are even multi-sports versions that combine goals and hoops into a single piece of equipment that can be kept outdoors for use in football, hockey, netball and basketball – you can even let children make use of these during playtimes.
As for training, there is also equipment like ball walls for football, tennis and cricket, and for accuracy training, there are ball catches and wall targets.
Create an outdoor gym
Aside from teaching pupils about different sports, another key purpose of PE is to give pupils the opportunity to stay fit and healthy. For those with limited indoor space, it is now possible to create an outdoor gym in the playground.
What’s great about the AllGo+ Gym is that it relies only on body weight, so there are no heavy weights that can cause injury. This makes it ideal for use in schools where it can help with physical fitness sessions, like circuit training. Equipment included in the AllGo+ Gym includes press up bars, monkey bars, circle steps, flat and inclined sit-up benches, leg raisers, step-up stations and fast feet floor markings. Additionally, each piece comes with its own instruction post and health and safety advice.
If you are stuck for space to deliver your outdoor PE, there are now solutions there to help you. From establishing a safe surface that can be used in all weathers to space-saving multi-sports markings, built-in outdoor goals, nets and training equipment and even outdoor, body weight only gyms, there’s everything you need to enhance and expand your provision and to offer pupils a wider range of activities to participate in during their free time.
If you are looking to update your outdoor PE provision, take a look at our wide selection of surfacing, sports markings, gym and sports equipment.