Home » Key Information » OPAL

We are delighted to share with you an exciting initiative that Ocklynge is about to embark on—the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme.

This programme is designed to enhance opportunities for physical activity, socialisation, cooperation, coordination, resilience, creativity, imagination, and enjoyment through improved play.

OPAL has a rich history, evolving over 20 years with testing and development in over 800 schools globally, including Spain, Canada, France, and New Zealand. Recognised for its excellence, OPAL won first prize in an EU-funded award for the best active school’s programme in Europe in 2018 and has garnered national playwork awards in the UK.

At the core of OPAL is the belief that children learn not only through good teaching but also through play. Given that 20% of their time in school is playtime, equivalent to 1.4 years of primary school, we aim to make this time as enriching as possible.

Childhood has evolved, and many children no longer fulfil their play needs outside of school. Surprisingly, the average screen time per day is six hours, while outdoor playtime per week is only five hours. Our goal with the OPAL Primary Programme is to address this imbalance and ensure a fulfilling play experience for our children.

Benefits of OPAL include increased enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes, fewer accidents, and significantly improved behaviour. Play is a fundamental aspect of a child’s development, fostering learning in ways that cannot be taught conventionally.

To enhance play opportunities, we may seek your support for resources (please see our wish list below). We anticipate a bit more messiness, exposure to challenges, and greater freedom for your children to play as they wish. Rest assured, these experiences align with the best practices for health, safety, wellbeing, and development.

Our school will be supported by OPAL for 18 months, and you will have the chance to engage with an OPAL mentor at school. For more information, please visit the OPAL website below, where you’ll find useful resources and videos about the programme.