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Did the construction of your school involve any steel?
when I was young in the 1940 - 50s there used to be a dark grey surfacing material we called "cinders" and nasty stuff it was too, because if you fell down on to it it caused grazes that did not heal well. I think it was crushed slag from ironworks or similar places and did contain little metal spheres in it as well as a lot of nasty sharp bits like broken glass.
when you say playground, what exactly do you mean? grassed field/area, tarmaced or what?
A simple light grey tarmac surface as far as I can recall.