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How the OPAL Primary Programme Works

Outdoor Play and Learning, OPAL, in action

    How OPAL works

    Guided by the OPAL mentor, your school will carry out an audit of current provision, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Development meetings give you an in-depth understanding of the critical cultural and environmental conditions affecting the quality of children’s play, and how your school can best use available resources to transform playtimes. The Final Plan, agreed between school leadership and the OPAL mentor is used as a foundation for a comprehensive INSET day, bringing together agreed values and principles to form a whole-school play policy.

    Throughout the process, you will be offered ongoing support and regular updates on progress. The mentoring process is supportive and flexible, and tailored to your individual needs and the culture of the school.

    Meetings are also held to inform parents of the changes the school will undertake to improve play and to form a long-term plan on how to improve school grounds to increase play opportunities.

    As a school, you will gain award status of silver, gold or platinum and your mentor will provide constructive feedback allowing you to plan your next development phase. 

    It is important to realise that the OPAL Primary Programme requires 100% commitment from the Headteacher and governors to see the programme through and make it permanently sustained within the culture of the school. Experience has shown that the programme cannot be fully successful without the full commitment and ongoing support of the Headteacher, the senior leadership, and the play working group.

    Programme structure

    The OPAL programme comprises eight mentor-supported, structured sessions, spread over 12-18 months (or longer if required):

    • Introduction and Audit meeting.
    • Development meeting 1.
    • Development meeting 2.
    • Development meeting 3.
    • Award Audit and final plan meeting.
    • INSET on play.
    • Grounds master planning workshop.
    • Parents’ meeting.
    • Certificate presentation.

    Find out more about the OPAL Primary programme and leave an inquiry on the main site: https://outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk/contact/ 

    Photo credit: Cath Prisk