Message sent from:

Opal Play Project


Welcome to our Opal Play Project page. Here you will be able to find out what our Opal Play Project is and keep up to date on how our project is progressing.

What is the Opal Play Project?

OPAL is a mentor supported school improvement programme that addresses all the areas that schools must plan for if they want to strategically and sustainably improve the quality of their play opportunities. 

The project is undertaken with specialist support from an OPAL mentor. This embeds play into the school’s policies and practices and establishes clear guiding principles and strategies for initiating lasting changes at playtimes.

Opals vision is that every child in every school has an amazing hour of high quality play every day – with no exceptions.

To find out more about OPAL and the story behind it click here

To find out more about the importance of playtime and how you can help your child enjoy outdoor play please take a look at the booklet below.

We have developed a Risk Benefit and Play Policy which can be downloaded below. The policy uses the principles from the Managing risk in play documents published by the Play safety forum. Their position statment can also be downloaded below. 

Three Principles For Happy Playtimes

The children are taught three simple principles to help them maintain happy playtimes;

  • Only report things to adults if it is necessary.
  • Say 'No thank you' if someone is doing something that you don't want them to or you don't like.
  • Always use good manners.

When children are not successful in dealing with a situation themselves using these they ask for adult support. 

telling tals imageno thank you imagemanners image

Our Opal Play Project Working Party

Alison Rostron (Headteacher)

Eliza Sanbach (Reception Teacher)

Ruth Kirk (KS1 Teaching Assistant)

Claire Farrington (Play Co-ordinator)

Helen Wells (Midday Assistant and Link Club Play Assistant)

Lynne Hollingsworth (Governor)

Rachel Woods (Parent)

You can speak to any members of the team to get updates and further information.

Our Play Team

Our Play Team that work on a day to day basis with the children at lunchtimes and during Link Club are;

Claire Farrington (Play Co-ordinator and team leader)

Helen Wells (Midday Assistant and Link Club Assistant)

Kate Collins (Midday Assistant)

January 2023

We have had a very exciting start to the new year with the installatin of some new fixed play equipment to develop our strength, agility and balance. We have also now got a new mud kitchen and camp area that includes our very own tents! 

October 22

Our latest additon to the playground 'the bus' has proved very popular. Mr Henshaw is now bust preparing some units for the new mud kitchen and the tents for the camp area. 

July 2022

What a difference a year makes. Our playtimes have already been completely transformed! The children have so much to do and enjoy so many social interactions, physocal activities and opportunities to be imaginative and creative. We have lots more planned for the autumn term to ensure the children can cntinue to use all areas of the grounds, even during the poorer weather. Watch this space!

May 22

Mr Henshaw was very busy over the holiday and look what we came back to! The children are so excited to be using their new walk in sand pit! 

February 2022

This term has seen some exciting changes, including the introductuion of Thelwall Garden Cafe, an outdoor music system and some additional resources including a pirate role play box. We have also installed some new storage sheds to make tidying up easier. The school council have played an important role in choices around resources and have set up some class votes for decisions such as which song to have played at tidy up time. We have more exciting additions planned....watch this space! 

December 2021

The children have loved having more resorces to play with and we have seen some great exploration and imaganitive play developing. The play team are continuing to work on adding more resources and listening to the children's requests. More exciting additions and evelopments to come in January!

November 2021

November has seen the start of our Opal project. We have had our first Play working party team meeting, supported by our Opal Consultant Ben Tawil. We have completed an audit of our playtimes and put together our initial action plan. We have also welcomed our new Play Co-ordinator Claire Farrington who willl lead the Play Team. 

A survey has been sent out to parents to audit the current views of playtimes, and children and staff have also completed an initial questionnaire. These will feed into our action plan. 

We have held our first play assembly to explain the project to the children and to introduce some new play opportunities at playtimes and during link club. 

We are now sourcing further resources and storage facilities and we will hopefully see lots of positive changes starting to happen over the next few weeks.

Below are some photographs of what playtime looks like at the moment. Watch this space......

Playtimes are lots of fun but we know we can make them even better!