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The Howard Partnership Trust is a growing family of 13 schools in the South East of England. Our family includes Primary, Secondary and Special Schools and welcomes any school that shares our values and commitment to Bringing out the Best in each and every one of our children and young people. Visit website

Part of The Howard Partnership Trust


Opal Play Project - Stockbridge Village

OPAL stands for Outdoor Play and Learning and, as a school, we aim to improve the way we think and provide opportunities for play. We believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development. In a time where outdoor play environments and opportunities are on the decline, the school grounds provide a crucial place for children to experience self-initiated play.


Cuddington's commitment to improving play times

Cuddington Community Primary School believes that all children need opportunities to play that allow them to explore, manipulate, experience and affect their environment. We believe play provision should be welcoming and accessible to every child, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, economic or social circumstances, ethnic or cultural background or origin, or individual abilities.


Our aims for positive play times

Our play aims are:

  • To provide children with a play setting which is both stimulating and challenging.
  • To allow children to take considered risks.
  • To provide children with a range of environments which will support their learning across the curriculum and about the world around them.

​Children spend up to 20% of their time in school at play. Therefore this time needs to be coherent and planned for. Changes in society such as heavier traffic, busier lifestyles, less areas for play and awareness of risk have led to reduced outdoor play.


Transforming play for all

We have transformed play times for all of our pupils with the help of the OPAL project.

Before the project pupils said :-

  • There are not enough places to sit
  • There is nothing/not enough things to do
  • The outdoors is dull and grey
  • There is never enough equipment to use and that makes play times boring

Working with OPAL we assessed our play offer, which we are constantly trying to improve. We have already seen a huge impact due to the hard work and commitment of the staff, pupils, parents and wider community groups who have supported us with equipment and fundraising. Behaviour in and around school is much better and children are engaging in a much wider range of games and activities.  No-one wants to miss out on time outside as it is such an amazing place to be (in all weathers).


Play times at Cuddington

 What play looks like at Cuddington

 Benefits and Risks

‘Play is great for children’s well-being and development. When planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool’ Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide is published for Play England2012. The school will use the Health and Safety Executive guidance document ‘Children’s Play and Leisure – Promoting a Balanced Approach’ (September 2012) as the principle value statement informing its approach to managing risk in play.

It will adopt a benefits/risk approach as detailed in ‘Managing Risk in Play Provision’ Implementation Guide. Managing Risk in Play Provision Risk-taking is an essential feature of play provision, and of all environments in which children and young people legitimately spend time at play. Play provision aims to offer children and young people the chance to encounter acceptable risks as part of a stimulating, challenging and controlled learning environment.

In the words of the play sector publication Best Play, play provision should aim to ‘manage the balance between the need to offer risk and the need to keep children and Young people safe from harm’.

In additions to standard risk/benefit assessments the school will practice dynamic risk management with children encouraging them to identify and manage risks in an environment where adults are present to support them.

The children will take part in regular Opal Play assemblies in which the children will identify potential risks with new equipment and resources being introduced to the outdoor learning environment.


Important documents

CCPS OPAL Play Policy

CCPS Playground Charter


Make time for play


 Play Types


How to get involved

We are always looking for donations for our OPAL sheds. Some of the things that are great for OPAL play are:

Suitcases of any size and type

  • Anything on wheels/castors
  • Plastic milk crates
  • Briefcases, especially hard cased ones
  • kitchen pots, pans, baking trays, work tables, wooden spoons, chopping boards
  • tubes of various sizes and various materials
  • Buckets
  • Nets and ropes
  • Keyboards
  • Fabric (large sheets/brightly coloured fabric)
  • Foam sheets / body boards
  • Wooden pallets
  • Guttering
  • Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!)
  • Pegs (to help to set up dens)
  • Small world toys (play characters, cars, teddies, etc)