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OPAL - Outdoor Play and Learning


A key area of our school improvement plan is the development of our play offer for all of our pupils at lunchtimes. We have embarked on an incredibly exciting project with play experts OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning), who will support us as we transform the play experience for all of pupils at Russells Hall.


We believe play and learning go hand-in-hand: a positive play experience enhances a child’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. believe a positive play experience enhances a child’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Playtime takes up 20% of a child’s day in school and provides opportunities for children to learn all the things that cannot be taught: socialisation, co-operation, coordination, resilience, creativity, imagination and negotiation. Some of our best childhood memories are those from when we played outside with friends, exploring and having fun. However, childhood has changed drastically during the last 25 years, but children haven’t. Lives are busier and technology has changed the way that we all live our lives. With more restrictions on our time and access to space, research has shown that only 56% of UK children regularly have the opportunity to play outside with other children. Unfortunately, this means that children sometimes miss out on the creative and physical side of play that is so crucial to their development. This is one of our key motivators for embarking on this project.


The OPAL Programme is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in primary schools. It is a mentor supported school improvement programme which will help us to make long term plans to improve the quality of our play opportunities. The programme has many proven benefits that include: more enjoyment of school, increased social skills. more resilience and independence, a fully inclusive play offer, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, greatly improved behaviour and HAPPY children. 


 If you would like to learn more about the programme or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact school and ask to speak to Miss Gray.


So what does playtime look like at Russells Hall...

OPAL Developments

Russels Hall Play Policy

  • Citrine 77,463
  • Emerald 88,605
  • Ruby 79,158
  • Sapphire 79,136