“Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts." (article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child). We want to make sure that all our children enjoy the best possible play whilst at Shoscombe and so we became an OPAL school in January 2020.



Shoscombe Church School has been awarded the Platinum OPAL award. This is the highest OPAL award available and puts our school in the top 0.1% of schools for the quality of play we offer to our children. It also recognises that what we offer is at the forefront of schools’ practice in the UK and possibly the world! We are very proud of this achievement as it means our children are receiving multiple positive social, physical and mental benefits associated with play.

Did you know that children spend 20% of their time at school playing? Our OPAL development plan will ensure that our grounds, our strategy, our resources and our approach to play will lead to all play being child-initiated, child-led and FUN!




Fun playtimes lead to improved:

  • Behaviour – happy children don’t cause nearly as much trouble as bored children
  • Accidents – OPAL schools have up to 80% less reported accidents
  • Staff well-being – Supervising happier children leads to happier staff
  • SLT time – senior leaders report dramatic reduction in the time they spend on resolving play conflicts
  • Teachers – consistently report more teaching time in afternoon lessons
  • Self-regulation – children in OPAL schools learn to self regulate through practice, trust and freedom
  • Physical activity – all children, including girls, SEN and non-sporty children are significantly more active
  • Mental well-being – Research shows OPAL children are happier and self-reporting improved mental health
  • Social and emotional development – Good play in the laboratory of life where relationships are practiced
  • Links to formal learning – Many OPAL schools report increased creativity, imagination and collaborative skills
  • Attendance – children can’t wait to come to OPAL schools because they have such fun
  • Parents – we all want our children to be happy. Well informed parents at OPAL schools love it that their children are happier
  • Rights – Play is a child’s right as recognised by the UN Convention on the rights of the Child

To find out more about OPAL please visit their website:  https://outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk/

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