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St Clement's and St John's

CofE Infant School

to inspire learning for life; to give you a future and a hope


OPAL Play Project

Welcome to our Opal Play Project page. 

It has long been recognised that play is fundamental to a child’s health, happiness, development and well being. Research has also shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. This led staff to reflect upon how playtimes could be improved in our school and in the Autumn of 2023 our OPAL journey began.


The OPAL vision is that “every child in every school has an amazing hour of high quality play every day” and as a school we share this vision and recognise the enormous benefits play has on a child’s life.

What is OPAL?

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.


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 statement can also be downloaded below. 

The Value of Play

Play is defined as any freely chosen activity which a child finds satisfying and creative. It may or may not involve equipment or other people. We believe the learning opportunities of play include: –

  • Emotions e.g. learning about oneself and others, sadness/gladness, rejection/acceptance, frustration/achievement, boredom/fascination, fear/confidence.
  • Social interactions – enhancing self-esteem and understanding of others through freely chosen interactions e.g. within peer groups, with individuals, with groups of different ages, abilities, interests, gender, ethnicity and culture.
  • Making choices, problem solving, being creative,
  • Playing with scrap materials, tyres and other multipurpose objects –
  • Achieving and also coping with failing, –
  • Communication and negotiation skill

Our OPAL play project working party

As a team we work to ensure that the OPAL play project is successful at St Clement's. We meet regularly and are constantly trying to improve the quality of play for all the children in our St Clement's family. 


Working Group Member                          Role within the OPAL project

Andy Poole                                              Headteacher

Naomi Shrimpton                                    Curricular Leader

Nikki Rutherford                                    Curricular Leader

Viktoria Szabo                                        Play Coordinator

Krisztina Buda                                         Governor