Marish Primary School’s playground is a large ‘L-shaped’ area accommodating over 700 students. The school also hosts intra-school competitions with Willow Primary School and other schools in the district.

The size of the playground was causing an issue during lesson time making it difficult for teachers to hold the full attention of students whilst teaching sports activities.

Jason explains: “Our sports teachers were setting-up areas for teaching ball sports such as hockey and football, but a lot of lesson time would be spent with children chasing after balls. This was extremely disruptive to the class with students regularly disengaged, resulting in limited teaching time with crowd and ball control taking priority.”

Lunch and break times were also causing problems for staff on duty in addition to students.

Jason continues: “As you can imagine, the playground could be pretty chaotic at times with balls and children flying everywhere. The space was dominated by football with accidents regularly reported by children and staff who were hit by balls. The domination of ball sports also restricted students from using the playground for other purposes.”

Bg Separator Yellow Bottom


Marish Primary School opted for a Smooga, a multi use games area created by husband and wife team, Keith and Carolyn Place, with the aim of increasing participation in sports. A Smooga is designed to:

• Reduce conflict in the playground

• Optimise use of playground space

• Encourage a wider range of activities

• Improve skills

Consisting of a series of 1 x 1 metre modular panels and manufactured in the UK, the Smooga has a heavy base (18kg) and lighter top section made from recycled plastic. The panels are extremely robust and stable and include goals, which push-fit together to form continuous sides. It can be easily scaled down or increased in size to suit the school or activity needs.

Smooga Impact

Marish Primary School is using the Smooga for a number of different sports during PE lessons such as hockey, benchball, football, tag rugby balancing techniques and agility exercises.

The arena has proved extremely popular with students during lessons and at break times, with a noticeable sense of pride in ‘their arena.’

Jason explains: “The Smooga really has changed the dynamic of our playground and lessons. It creates a compact area, helping to ensure the students are all engaged in a safe environment. There has been a significant reduction in accidents and importantly, we have seen an increase in participation from students who are typically less keen to get involved. Our teaching time is now better spent with the children.”

marishcaseThe Smooga provides a focal point during lessons for students who aren’t taking part in a game. They form an audience around the Smooga to make it a true arena experience.

In addition to PE lessons, support staff working with children who have challenging behaviour use the Smooga to incentivise classroom work, with the Smooga serving as a reward.

Lunchtime staff and teaching assistants have noticed an increase in other playground activities such as skipping and hoops, previously restricted due to the domination of ball games. A much welcomed Smooga side effect.

Jason concludes: “Thanks to the Smooga, we can now easily organise students in a safe environment, encourage more play, work on skills, create healthy competition and increase participation in sports. It is definitely the best investment we’ve made in our playground.”

Marish Primary School and Willow Primary School have since been awarded The School Games Mark to reward their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. They also competed for the inaugural Smooga Cup, won by Marish Primary School.

Smooga creates a multi-use sports area and reduces playtime conflict

Smooga is perfect for creating a pitch for hockey, football, netball and rugby. Schools have also used Smooga to create an area for skating, help facilitate cross country running and some have even used the panels to create a maze! Feedback from schools tells us that the creation of a dedicated space for different activities significantly reduces playtime conflict and maximises active fun time.

Contact us for advice on the right solution for your school.