OPAL College Heads and SLT


As a new head in an OPAL school, there is a lot to learn to understand the background of the programme its structure and the role of the head in ensuring continuity, sustainability and ongoing improvement. Click on the graphic to access each lesson.


An introduction

In this unit, you will watch a short video from Michael Follett, the founder and CEO of OPAL, welcoming you to the wonderful world of amazing playtimes. He will tell you a bit about the origins of the OPAL programme and its impact on thousands of children in hundreds of schools.

Lesson 1

Why Play?

Part 1 The reasons why every school should have a plan for play
The issue of time
Changes in society and childhood
Problematic playtimes and their impact
The benefits of great play for children and schools

Part 2 What is play?
What do adults think the play is?
The playwork definition of play
The adults' role in play

Lesson 2

What is OPAL?

Part 1 What is the OPAL Primary Programme?
The structure of the programme
What does a great playtime look like?
Why is the programme how it is?
OPAL resources, how to find and use them

Part 2 PARK Changing the culture of play first
Why is culture so important?
Policy - Why fear is not a policy and why you must have one
Access - Why most schools waste multi-million pounds assets
Risk - Understanding why the Health and Safety Executive, OFSTED and the DFE want you to provide risk and challenge
Knowledge - What every adult needs to know before they try to manage play

Part 3 Creating landscapes for play
Introducing the idea of landscapes for play
Social Spaces - Why 60% of play is in social spaces
Journies - How we build activity and physical literacy into the environment
Affordance - Why variety and difference matters so much
Change - Why loose parts are the single biggest improvement you will ever make

Lesson 3

Next steps

Understanding your school in light of this knowledge
Understanding communications
Understanding risk management
Understanding mess, dirt and the environment
Understanding the three OPAL key roles
Understanding playwork and the play team

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