Play Sufficiency, Neighbourhood Play Sufficiency, OPAL, Play Friendly Organisation, Understanding Play Sufficiency, Play Friendly Neighbourhood Planning

OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) Primary Programme delivered by Ludicology

Monday February 19, 2024

OPAL CIC is the UK’s leading organisation supporting school improvement through play. OPAL has partnered with local play experts, Ludicology, to deliver this award-winning programme to schools across the Northwest of England.

If, after reading the information below, you would like to know more or are interested in commissioning this programme of support, please visit

Why consider OPAL

Play matters to children and playtimes make up approximately 20% of every school day. That means out of every seven years of a child’s infant and junior school life, a fifth of their time is spent at play. That’s a fifth of each child’s life in school that could be better if play was given the same consideration as other significant aspects of children’s care and education.

Delivered successfully in over 1400 schools, the OPAL Primary Programme is a structured, mentor supported, school improvement process. It addresses all of the areas schools must plan for if they want to strategically and sustainably improve the quality of the play opportunities they offer.

What the OPAL programme includes

During the programme, Ludicology (as trained OPAL mentors) work with schools for up to two years, supporting an entire cultural and practical transformation of the way that play is thought about, planned for, resourced, and staffed; enabling the provision of amazing play times every day.

The programme includes:

  • Observation and audit meeting
  • Whole staff inset on play and the OPAL programme
  • Three development and action planning meetings
  • Half-day grounds master planning workshop
  • Risk management training
  • Playwork Essentials training
  • Parents’ meeting and booklet
  • Awards and final plan meeting
  • Over 100 cross-referenced resource documents and templates
  • Email and phone support
  • Access to OPAL College, the website for OPAL members for networking and professional development with other participating OPAL schools.

Becoming an OPAL school takes leadership, planning and commitment but it gets results:

  • Teachers get on average 10 minutes more teaching time each per day as a direct result of better playtimes.
  • Children rapidly develop creativity, imagination, cooperation, resilience, stamina and confidence.
  • Senior leadership report reductions of up to 80% in the use of behaviour policies and in their time spent resolving play-time issues.
  • Children and staff report feeling less stressed and happier, and more excited about school.
  • OPAL’s approach makes play better for every child, every day…no exceptions!

The cost of the current programme is £5500 plus travel expenses and VAT. This includes direct support through eight mentoring sessions, as well as ongoing advice throughout the process and access to all the documents, templates, and guidance schools will need to transform their play offer.

Schools can pay for OPAL entirely from the School Sports and PE Premium, which now puts ‘Active Play in Schools’ as its second priority.

“Don’t think about it. Just do it!! Using the programme has given us a clear structure to help us transform the play experiences for our children. We are still on our journey but can already identify the benefits to the whole school community. The children’s use of the space available is significantly enhanced and the skills developed surpass anything which can just be learnt in the classroom. They have become confident risk-takers; problem solvers and creative beings and every day is a new opportunity for amazing play opportunities and the programme has really helped shift the outlook of all stakeholders regarding the value of play in the lives of our children”

 Sarah Jeffery, Deputy Head Teacher, Manor Park School

Interested to find out more about play in schools:

Read about The Value of Play in Schools

Watch videos on Playing In School

Read OPAL’s Case for Play in Schools

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Ludicology support those interested in play and playfulness to develop evidence based play centred policies and practices through our advice, research and training services. Use this form to get in touch and to let us know what kind of support you require.