How We Help Schools
We run the OPAL Primary Programme in hundreds of UK Primary Schools. We also work with International Schools and support schools in several other countries.
It is a mentor-supported school improvement programme addressing all 18 areas a school must plan for if they want to sustainably improve the quality of play. The OPAL Primary Programme is the only one of its kind, blending elements of strategic school improvement practice, action planning, self-evaluation, playwork skills and knowledge and twenty years of action-research.
You will be allocated an expert OPAL Mentor who will support you over an 18-month period to bring about an entire cultural and practical transformation of the way that play is thought about, planned for, resourced and staffed. Every OPAL mentor has been selected because of their extensive knowledge and experience of the fields of playwork, school improvement, change management and strategic planning.
You will need to treat play as if it were a curricular area. You will need to have a committed working group including the head teacher, which meets eight times with their mentor and at least eight times on their own, working towards implementation of your action plan.
Everyone. Changing culture means everyone changing. That’s why we will help you to reach senior-leaders, governance, teachers, support staff, lunch staff, parents and of course children.
No. The OPAL Primary Programme is a process that helps senior school leaders create lasting cultural and practical changes to their organisation in relation to freely chosen play for all children.
Yes! Most OPAL schools tell us they could never go back to the way they had been once they have completed the programme. We have hundreds of recommendations and the support of Sport England. Most of our business comes from personal recommendation from head to head.
Our schools tell us; most of their children are happy and engrossed in their play, which is more creative, collaborative, imaginative and social. They say playtimes are much fairer because playgrounds and play is no longer dominated by a boys football and this is great for girls, children with additional needs and non-sporty children.
The programme costs £4,750 plus travel. You can currently pay the entire cost from the PE and Sport Premium for Primary Schools, as we have a large amount of evidence that we are able to greatly increase the physical activity of all children and get more children, more active more of the time, and sustain those benefits over many years
OPAL have spent twenty years working out how schools can provide challenging, free play opportunities within a legally robust policy and practice framework. There are over 150 resources and guidance documents and the experiences of over 500 schools informing OPAL’s approach. Schools attempting a DIY approach could be exposing themselves to a higher risk of successful litigation than schools that have been through and apply OPAL’s recommended processes.