What is OPAL? 

Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. To ensure that this time and our fantastic school grounds are used to their full potential our school has adopted an OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) philosophy that allows the children freedom to explore play in their own imaginative ways, often using found and gathered resources in the natural outdoor environment. 

An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment in which all children can feel comfortable to express themselves. Our OPAL journey began in Autumn 2023 and we are starting to build up our resources and expertise to transform our outdoor environment. Our children already love the new outdoor opportunities that OPAL offers with so much more for them to do, no matter the weather! From playing with crates and dancing to our music, to enjoying imaginative play in the small world area or building the next Eiffel Tower in our construction area, OPAL offers an exciting alternative to the standard playground activities. 

Through this approach to play children are not only more active at lunch or break times, but they are also having the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, team work and problem solving. They are becoming motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and designers. 

We are just at the start of our journey, but we know the positive impact this will have on our children and will work along side what the children want to make this a rich, outdoor play and learning environment.  


Mrs Newstead was successful with her application through the TESCO community grant. We now have a box in all Corby and Market Harborough stores, so please place all your tokens in our box. We are guaranteed £500, but could receive up to £1,500 if we get the most tokens - so start shopping and posting those tokens! Tokens are being collected until 30.6.2024.



Play Assembly 5. Today the children celebrated the great changes already seen on the playground. They were then introduced to the next set of resources which are being added - crates and pallets for den building. Click on the image to see the PowerPoint shared with the children.


Today the children had their 4th play assembly. We talked about negotiating with our friends and being imaginative with the large loose parts!

Assmebly 4


The OPAL working group got together to work on our action plan and ensuring that exciting things are being continually implemented.


Our new shed arrived this half-term. We can not wait to start filling it will all our amazing equipment.


31.01.2024    Welly request

As part of our OPAL project we now require all children from nursery to Year 6 to bring a pair of NAMED wellies into school. These will be kept in school on their peg/ locker.
This week we have introduced bikes and we are in the process of developing our forest school area and more loose parts onto the field so it is imperative that children have wellies so they are able to access all areas of the garden in all weathers every day.
If your child has outgrown any wellies, we would love to have them so we can create our own welly bank! Please hand in to myself or the main office.



Thank you to those who have bought Wellies in for your child to access OPAL at playtimes.

If your child has outgrown their wellies and you would like to donate them for another family in need, please can you drop them into the Welly drop off crate situated at the front of the main reception. (See photo above)

The children have had great fun outside this week building dens, playing on the new wheeled toys and making mud pies in our messy kitchen!

assmebly 3


Play Assembly 3 - we started off my celebrating our latest achievements outside. We then looked at the plan of where key areas are on the playground which included: Small world zone, Imagination Station, Loose parts & Mud kitchen, Ball games and Bikes and wheeled toys. Each area is lead by an adult - our play leaders.


Alongside our parent letter, we have sent out a parent guide 'The Power of Play'. This booklet helps to give easy ways to help your child be happier, healthier and even more physically active than now. Please click in the icon to read in full.


Parent up date letter - First of all, thank you for the kind donations that have been made to the school. We really appreciate all that has been provided to us to support the development of break and lunchtime. We have been working hard behind the scenes to get things in place to start to develop what is in place. Our lunchtime staff are currently undertaking the OPAL training and we have identified children to support with the setting out and collection of equipment. Please click on letter to read it all.


Play assembly 2. We talked about all the great things that are going on so far and our next steps - reminding everyone how to access the equipment, who is in charge of t (everyone) and what to do when we have finished using it (put it away). This is all about team work.

Assmebly 2


Today the children had their first play assembly, where they were introduced to what OPAL is and what is could look like on our playground.

20.11.23 Parent view

We want to collect your views! Please can I ask that all parents fill out this short survey on our playtime provision currently. Your opinions and voice matter to us and is important that we listen to what you have to say. The survey should only take a couple of minutes and we ask that this is completed by MONDAY 27th November.

parent survey


Wow wee! What an achievement in our 90 minute makeover! Thank you so much to Abiola, David, Emma, Kim, Rachel, Mrs Politano and Miss Poulter for the fantastic effort in our tidy up. As you can see the forest school is taking shape nicely :). Stay tuned for next OPAL update....


Request We have some exciting news. As part of the OPAL project we are going to be creating a Forest School area in school for the children to use as part of their play provision and also to deliver some forest school sessions on site. In order to set up this wonderful area we are asking for your help!
We need parents/grandparents/friends to support with a community litter pick for 90 minutes to begin to remove some of the debris/litter currently left on the site (towards the back of the school by the main car park) to help make it a safe and exciting place for children to learn. Are you available Tuesday 14th November from 1.30-3pm? If so we would love to welcome you to join us in trying to clear this space.
Equipment will be provided but if anyone has access to their own litter pickers or can get some also we would be extremely grateful.
Also- if anyone has any strimmers and are green fingered we would love to have some garden support 🙂

help needed


The start of our OPAL journey - a letter to parents explaining what OPAL is and why we want to introduce to Exeter a learning community. Please click on the icon to read the letter.