Find out all about our journey to becoming an OPAL School.
In September 2020, we started a programme to improve opportunities for physical activity, socialisation, co-operation, coordination, resilience, creativity, imagination and enjoyment through improved play.
The OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning Programme is the result of 17 years testing and development in over 380 schools and is now used in Canada, France and New Zealand as well as across the UK. Work has started to adapt the programme for schools in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Austria. In 2018 OPAL won first prize in an EU funded award for the best active school’s programme in Europe and two UK national playwork awards.
OPAL is based on the idea that as well as learning through good teaching, your children also learn when they play, and as 20% of their time in school is playtime, we want to make sure that this amount of time (equivalent to 1.4 years of primary school) is as good as possible.
One reason we have chosen to become an OPAL school is because childhood has changed and many children no longer get their play need met out of school.
- Average screen time per day 5 hours
- Average outdoor play time per week 5 hours
- Percentage of UK children who only play outdoor with other children at school 56%
There are many proven benefits for children who engage with the OPAL Programme. They usually include: more enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, less accidents and greatly improved behaviour.
Play is not messing about. It is the process evolution has come up with to enable children to learn all of the things that cannot be taught, while also feeling like it is fun.
As we improve play opportunities for your children, you may find us asking you for resources and making changes about how the children use the school grounds. They may use more of the grounds, for more of the year. Your children may get a bit messier, be exposed to more challenges and have greater freedoms to play where, with whom and how they like. The experiences we are fostering are essential for children’s physical and mental well-being and health and in line with all current good practice advice on health, safety, well-being and development.
If you would like to learn more about the OPAL Primary Programme, please have a look at the OPAL website.