South-East of England

Nicola Barrett


Nicola has worked in schools and nurseries for 25 years and has a passion for play and outdoor learning. Her most recent post has been as a Deputy Headteacher in a rapidly expanding primary school, where she dedicated much of her time to improving and addressing children’s mental health needs following the global pandemic - of which OPAL played a huge part. In addition, Nicola has planned and delivered training and workshops on outdoor play and has been an Area Lead for the Department of Education’s Covid-19 Recovery Programme, providing out-reach support for local nurseries and PVI settings.

With her background in child development and play theory, Nicola has successfully introduced the OPAL Programme across two primary schools in the South East, both achieving the prestigious Platinum Award. She has hosted open days and welcomed OPAL mentors and visitors wishing to see OPAL in action in a school setting. This experience in itself has provided her with a thorough insight into how the programme leads to positive outcomes and school improvement, but most of all she has seen first-hand the physical, emotional and well-being benefits to children of all ages. Nicola enjoys an active, outdoor lifestyle, with running and walking being two of her hobbies.

Holidays with her husband and three children are often adventurous, taking part in activities such as hiking, rock climbing and Ghyll scrambling. Travel is another passion and Nicola has spent several summers in Edmonton, Canada where she experienced first-hand the Green Shack Outdoor Activities Programme. Nicola is freelance, which means she will be helping OPAL mentors in the South East of England.

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