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OPAL is a school improvement programme addressing all the key areas schools must consider to improve the quality of playtimes

Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)

London, United Kingdom
OPAL was developed in response to demand from schools for help in resolving issues at playtime, including boredom, high levels of minor accidents and incidents, lack of respect for supervisors and a constant stream of low-level behaviour problems, as well as a desire to improve quality and activity levels and a desire by school leaders to pursue excellence in all areas of schools’ performance.

The OPAL Programme

Mark Ryan, Headteacher, Blue Coat Primary
“"With rising obesity trends nationwide and young people found to becoming increasingly more sedentary, OPAL has ensured that all pupils buck the trend through play." ”

Mark Ryan, Headteacher, Blue Coat Primary

Imagine a world without testing for primary school children. Would they still be able to thrive? Would they still develop social skills, resilience or strong and healthy bodies? Would they still be driven by their innate curiosity to find out about the world around them and their part in it? Now imagine a world where children were deprived of play and ask the same questions.

Research shows that play contributes to children’s physical and emotional health, wellbeing, approach to learning and enjoyment of school. In fact, everything that can be claimed by sport as being beneficial to children applies equally to play, except that enjoyment and engagement is at (or very close to) 100% during ‘high-quality’, active playtimes.

Every child loves to play!

Outcomes include an 80% improvement in lunchtime behaviour incidents as well as fewer accidents, increased pupil happiness, more parent satisfaction and greater physical activity for more than an hour every day

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Innovation Overview
5 - 11
Age Group
500 000
Tips for implementation
Everything is included in the 12-18 months of gradual, comprehensive training spread across 8 sessions of 2-3 hrs each time, including safety, resourcing, communication, design, staff skills and much more
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See this innovation in action

Six benefits of OPAL playtimes 1. Better physical and mental health Enjoyment is the single biggest factor in motivating children to be act...
Opal 21
Amazing Primary Playtime at St Michael's OPAL Platinum School
What is Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)?
West Lodge Primary Proving OPAL Platinum Standard Play


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