The OPAL Primary Programme

A mentor supported school improvement programme that addresses all 18 areas that a school must plan for, if they want to sustainably improve the quality of play.


"OPAL is one of the most impactful transformations on children's lives that we've seen in the UK in the last 10 years- not just in schools, not just in education but just as a way of making a positive difference in children's lives...I'm in awe actually."

Tim Gill former Director of Play England

Programme Impact

Improve Behaviour

When children's fundamental needs are not met their behaviour suffers. OPAL schools meet their play needs, resulting in a huge reduction in playtime and post-playtime behaviour issues.

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Save time and money

By giving senior leaders more time to lead, and teachers more time to teach we estimate OPAL schools are getting back £3,000 to £5,000 worth of time per year.

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Improve well-being

OPAL provides all of the policies, planning and evaluation tools to improve wellbeing through play, keeping your children and OFSTED happy.

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Develop skills

If your playtimes look like a rich laboratory of creative expression, where every child is supported by knowledgeable staff to endlessly create and challenge themselves, you probably don't need us. If not then get in touch.

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“Do it! It’s been the most transformative and straightforward route to change lives for children for the better that I have experienced in my career so far. I cannot think of any rational reason to not give it a go.”

Helen Easton - Assistant Head - Ivydale Primary School

What's Included?

  • Introduction meeting
  • Observation and Audit meeting
  • 3 Development and action planning meetings
  • Awards and final plan meeting
  • Risk management training
  • Playwork Essentials training
  • INSET on play
  • Parents meeting and booklet
  • Half-day grounds master planning workshop
  • Over 100 cross-referenced resource documents and templates
  • Unlimited email and phone support
  • 30+ years of play development expertise
  • Support over 12-18 months
  • Design advice
  • A team with specialists in risk, inclusion, special needs and more

Frequently Asked Questions

Further Information


Read more about OPAL's relevance to OFSTED


Watch West Lodge Primary, Harrow, Headteacher & Deputy Head Views on OPAL

Get Started

Book an introductory meeting with a mentor

Awards & Recognition

Sport England Logo

£250,000 Grant

In 2020 in recognition of the effectiveness of the OPAL Primary Programme in improving the quality of play in English primary schools, OPAL was awarded a grant of a quarter of a million pounds to enable it to increase capacity to reach more schools and to further improve resources.

Fit Sport

European Award

In 2018 The OPAL team won the top place award for the best active schools programme in Europe. The OPAL team was presented the award in Budapest Hungary.

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