Charnwood Primary Academy has achieved the Platinum Award for fantastic playtimes through the OPAL Programme this term, and is very proud to have attained 97% on their audit.

The Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme is a mentor-supported school improvement programme. It addresses all of the areas that schools must plan for if they want to strategically and sustainably improve the quality of their play opportunities and has positively changed playtimes at Charnwood Primary Academy.

The OPAL programme is beneficial because it enables schools to provide more teaching time, helps to improve behaviour, supports the development of core skills, ensures inclusion and supports pupil happiness and wellbeing.

Traditional lunchtimes have changed, and the academy have taken every opportunity possible to develop external play, from mud kitchens to construction spaces, and even music and staging.

OPAL has transformed Charnwood lunchtimes into a world of magical play. Children adore all of the equipment that the academy has, including monkey bars, a sand pit, a digging pit, exercise equipment, a building area, push chairs and scooters. Lots of pupils love the sandpit, which children dug themselves and it appears to be the most popular out of them all.

The OPAL audit said:

“What a great achievement! It was an absolute pleasure to see your play offer today. The children at Charnwood Primary now have the opportunity to play freely in a variety of ways, to let the imaginations run wild and to have complete autonomy over their wonderful adventures at playtimes. As a team, you have completely embedded the value of play and a child led approach into your school culture. The children at Charnwood Primary now feel a sense of ownership over their play environment, their voices are strong and respected and they feel that their requests are listened to and acted upon. With the variety of incredible play opportunities now available, and many more in the pipeline, I am so proud that you have achieved the Platinum Standard for OPAL play, the highest accolade available, putting you in the top 1% of all schools nationally with the quality of your play provision.”

Charnwood have created their own Playtime Charter

We have the responsibility to make sure everyone enjoys playtime by making sure:

· everyone chooses what to play

· we share equipment fairly and kindly

· we take care of the equipment

· we treat each other how we like to be treated

· we keep everybody safe

· we allow people to join in games (You can’t say, “You can’t play!”)

· we are kind to others

· we are kind to nature

· we help people if they need us

· we ask grownups if we need help to sort out our problems

· we listen to one and another