About Us

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International First Prize Award

In 2018 OPAL beat 30 entrants from across Europe to win first place first place as the best active schools programme in Europe in the Active Schools awards funded by the European Union and hosted by Fit Sport Austria.


OPAL’s International Influence

OPAL has now improved play for over 500,000 children in projects running in the UK, Canada, France, Australia and New Zealand.

OPAL is the main advisory organisation to the European Union funded ‘Play Friendly Schools’ initiative and quality mark supporting improved play in schools in Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep , Slovak Rep and Austria. Find out more about the initiative here.

If you are interested in becoming part of the international family of OPAL affiliates please get in contact here.

Acknowledgement and Thanks

OPAL was developed during my time as Play Adviser working for the Learning and School Effectiveness Service of South Gloucestershire Council. The Council has transferred the rights to the new OPAL Community Interest Company so that other schools in the UK and beyond will be able to benefit from the programme. I would like to acknowledge the huge contribution the Council have made to the development of play in schools and to thank them for allowing other schools the chance to benefit from the OPAL play in schools programme.

Michael Follett OPAL Director

OPAL is a Community Interest Company (CIC)


OPAL is a registered Community Interest Company dedicated to improving the quality of children’s play opportunities, especially in primary schools.

Community Interest Companies (CIC) are a new type of limited company designed specifically for those wishing to operate for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. This means that a CIC cannot be formed or used solely for the personal gain of a particular person, or group of people.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human rights treaty which grants all children and young people a comprehensive set of rights, including the right to express their views and have them taken into account in all matters affecting them (article 12); the right to play, rest and leisure (article 31) and the right to protection from all forms of violence (article 19).

The UK Parliament ratified the convention on 16 December 1991. As international law, the Convention is meant to be followed and should be referred to by courts, tribunals and other administrative processes when making decisions that affect children.
OPAL is committed to ensuring that Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is recognised and implemented in all UK schools and by all organisations which have an impact on the quality of childhood.

The Charter for Children’s Play

OPAL is committed to the principles set out in the Charter for Children’s Play.

This common set of values has been agreed by the wide spectrum of organisations which make up the play sector.
The Charter for Children’s Play sets out a vision for play, plus the basic principles of what play means for children. It aims to be a catalyst for individuals and organisations to examine and improve their provision for children and young people’s play and informal recreation.

Become an OPAL Mentor

  • Are you an experienced trainer and passionate advocate for children play?
  • Do you have the confidence and skills to works with schools senior leadership?

The OPAL play in schools programme is being offered more widely across the country as more free-lancers and organisations join. If you are interested in becoming a partner organisation or training as an associate mentor please click here.