Maritime Academy Trust

Maritime is a charitable education trust with schools across London and the South East.

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Hook Lane Primary School has been working with OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning for Schools) to develop the provision in our playground for all children. We have worked with an OPAL mentor and our Local Academy Council to become an OPAL school. 

What does it mean to be an OPAL school?

An OPAL School is a school which continually strives to improve the quality of play for all of its children. It embeds play in all aspects of planning, self-evaluation and delivery. It acknowledges the seriousness of play as a human right and regards play as a necessity for children’s mental and physical wellbeing. OPAL Award accreditation lasts for two years after which we will need recertification.

The OPAL Primary Programme

The OPAL Primary Programme's aim is to:

  • improve behaviour
  • save time and money
  • improve well-being
  • develop skills

It is an award-winning, evidence-based, strategic approach to improving the forgotten 20% of the school day. Did you know that play makes up 20% of school life? It is a strategic school improvement programme, building on expertise in:

  • teaching and learning
  • schools grounds
  • risk management
  • play work 

The benefits of OPAL to Schools and Adults

  • 10 minutes per day extra learning time 
  • Less time spent on lunch time ‘incidents’
  • Less staff needed to directly supervise playtime
  • Less ‘wet play’
  • Less recorded sickness and absences in both children and staff
  • Cost saving – SLT and Teachers time
  • Grounds developed for play are also suitable for outdoor learning, forest school and use by the community
  • Improved connections with parents and community
  • Maximising the use of the whole school site and nearby areas for the benefit of children
  • Staff and children are happier!

The benefits of OPAL to children

  • Physical activity, up to 100% of girls and SEN are more active
  • Grit and resilience, perseverance, decision-making and determination
  • Creativity, language skills and story-telling
  • Mathematical language, engineering and physics
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Environmental awareness
  • Improved positive behaviour
  • Less accidents, incidents and whining – addressing cotton wool culture
  • More on task on return to class