School Grounds

The OPAL team have a huge amount of experience on how to best develop school grounds in order to maximise play and learning. The three main lessons for all schools from the hundreds we have visited are:

  1. Play-value and what you spend are not the same. It is easy to spend a lot and get little long term value
  2. You should have a master plan and not just buy new things and place them around
  3. How you use what you buy is directly related to your policies, your culture and your decision making

For these reasons we strongly recommend that schools wanting to invest in their grounds sign up to the OPAL Primary Programme, as it addresses all areas needed for better play including policy, health and safety, staffing and design.

School Grounds OPAL Landscape Planning Workshop

Are you thinking of investing money into your school grounds or children’s centre to improve play?

Play Value: It is amazingly easy to spend large amounts of money and get remarkably little play value. Large brightly coloured equipment and lots of expensive safe surfacing looks impressive to adults but may not be the best way to create a landscape which fosters diverse and engaging play opportunities. When judging value for money, play value should be a top consideration.

Master Planning: Many schools can only afford to carry out a few grounds improvements a year and without a master plan school grounds can become cluttered with randomly places features. Many play equipment companies offer a ‘free design service’ but this usually means they will decide where they will place their equipment; not whether the equipment offers value, will continue to offer value, is placed in the right place in relation to other features and whether it integrates into the wider landscape.

In a playful landscape planning session, you can discover the four golden rules of creating playful landscapes and create a unique design brief and plan, so future developments compliment each other and that you know what to ask for when commissioning work.

Price: Half day planning workshop to create a design brief and concept plan from £300 plus travel. Refundable from the Full OPAL Primary Programme