Since October 2015, our school has been improving play literacy by taking part in our OPAL project. OPAL stands for Outdoor Play and Learning and is a programme developed by Michael Follett.

Michael developed OPAL in response to demand from schools for help in resolving issues at playtime, including boredom, high levels of accidents and playground incidents, lack of respect for supervisors and a constant stream of low-level behaviour problems, as well as a desire to improve the quality of children’s play experience in school. Schools expected the resolution to lie in better occupation for the children such as playground games, behaviour management training for the supervisors or more equipment for the children. All of these were tried during the programme’s development, but none had a significant lasting effect. This is why Michael developed the OPAL approach with the basic aim of enhancing opportunities for children’s play in schools. Within the programme play is defined as behaviour that is ‘freely chosen, intrinsically motivated and personally directed’, a definition drawn from Playwork Principles (PPSG, 2005).

In Ludworth Primary School we have an OPAL group involving a school governor, the head teacher, a member of the senior leadership team and a lunch time play leader. This groups meets regularly to evaluate out OPAL action plan and ensure that further actions are taken. We have regular OPAL assemblies where children evaluate the quality of play and negotiate any issues. The whole school developed a charter outlining children's responsibilites if we are to achieve our aim of 'Everyone Enjoys Playtime'.

We have developed our school field and playground so that we can maximise their use for good quality play. The play co-ordinator meets regularly with the play lead to develop regular and exciting focused play activities, such as box day, chalk play, camp building, weaving and bottle play.

We are delighted with the impact this is having on playtimes. Children have developed their play skills and there are fewer problems at play times. We have hosted a play picnic on our school field which was attended by parents. Everyone had a lot of fun! Please look at some of our photographs.

*UPDATE: we are delighted to have been awarded OPAL's Platinum Play Award*

This is our OPAL shed on the school field. It is full of loose parts for children to play with. They enjoy making up their own games and being creative with a wide range of interesting objects.

Children of all ages enjoy the giant sandpit in our playground.

Please have a look at our OPAL Charter at teh bottom of the page.



  1. OPAL Charter 2

Contact Us

Ludworth Primary School
Moor Crescent
t: 01429 820207
f: 01429 820207
e: ludworth@durhamlearning.net

About Us

Ludworth Primary School is situated in a rural part of County Durham.

The school not only serves the village of Ludworth but also attracts families from the surrounding villages of Thornley, Haswell, Haswell Plough and Shadforth.

We are very proud of our school and try to operate as a family where each and every child is of high importance, in an environment where they feel safe, secure and cared for. click here to learn more about our school →