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OPAL (Outdoor Play & Learning)

Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that ‘A child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.


In June 2023, Langtoft Primary School began its participation in the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme – an award-winning, mentor supported school improvement programme which is endorsed and supported by Sport England. OPAL is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in British primary schools.

At Langtoft Primary School, we recognise that play is an integral part of a happy and healthy childhood. With playtimes making up 20% of the school day, we believe in providing consistently high-quality, sustainable play opportunities for all children. These inclusive opportunities in play are achieved by offering carefully considered outdoor spaces, equipment, and toys that offer a rich choice of accessible play experiences for every child. At Langtoft, we are firmly committed to using our school vision and play policy to guide our planning and actions in providing play opportunities for children. We believe play has a vital role in children’s health, happiness, and well-being. It creates children who are independent, confident, imaginative, adaptable, social and able to assess risks. These skills link closely to our core values: ResilienceCooperationConfidenceRespectIndependenceConsideration & Ambition, which were developed to encourage and teach essential life skills across the whole school day.

Better-quality play leads to happier children and happier staff. With better-quality play opportunities, there are fewer behaviour problems, a more positive attitude to school and improved skills development and learning. As the children improve their quality of play and have more enriching play times, there are fewer accidents and classroom learning is enhanced as the children come in from play happy and ready to learn.

Our children have access to a wide range of materials, which they can use in their play. These include tyres, crates, wood, fabric, mud, wheeled toys and much more. Through regular play assemblies, they are taught about dynamic risk assessments and playing co-operatively with others.

If you walk around our playground at any lunchtime, you will see children making dens, climbing, swinging in hammocks, testing their strength, dancing, dressing up, making mud cakes, playing in role, chasing, jumping over tyres, developing new skills, negotiating with others and being completely immersed in play. It is truly wonderful!

Over the coming months we will be introducing further loose parts and materials, in addition to building a large sandpit, which children can use in their play, with the support of our school family and local community.

We are seeking items such as:

  • Suitcases of any size and type
  • Anything on wheels/castors
  • Plastic milk crates/supermarket delivery crates/plastic bread trays
  • Briefcases, especially hard cased ones
  • Road signs and cones
  • Kitchen pots, pans, baking trays, work tables, wooden spoons, chopping boards
  • Tools like small spades/shovels, trowels and brooms
  • Tubes of various sizes and various materials
  • Buckets
  • Nets and thick ropes
  • Keyboards/torches/laptops/calculators/mobile phones/desk phones/webcams/cameras that are no longer working
  • Fabric (large sheets/brightly coloured fabric)
  • Foam sheets/bodyboards/camping roll mats/yoga mats
  • Wooden pallets
  • Metal frames
  • Cable drums
  • Guttering
  • Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!)
  • Hats/scarves/jazzy shirts/elasticated skirts/waistcoats/wedding dresses/character costumes
  • Pegs (to help to set up dens)

 If you have any items that you are looking to get rid of, please consider donating to us. 


We follow advice from the Health and Safety Executive, who support active play in schools.

"HSE fully recognises that play brings the world to life for children. It provides for an exploration and understanding of their abilities; helps them to learn and develop; and exposes them to the realities of the world in which they will live, which is a world not free from risk but rather one where risk is ever present. The opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives. (From the Health and Safety Executive’s Children’s play and leisure - promoting a balanced approach.)"


You can read our play policy here: OPAL Play Policy


OPAL Newsletters:

You can read our first OPAL newsletter here: October 2023

Please read our term 2 OPAL newsletter here: December 2023

Please read our term 3 OPAL newsletter here: February 2024

Please read our term 4 OPAL newsletter here: March 2024

Please read our term 5 OPAL newsletter here: May 2024




Mid-programme parents' survey 2024