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Sir Francis Hill Community Primary School

'Learn, Achieve, Succeed'


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OPAL Playground

Opal - SFH's latest playtime project!


Opal is based on the idea that, as well as learning through good teaching, your children also learn when they play. As 20% of their time in school is playtime, we want to make sure that this amount of time (equivalent to 1.4 years of primary school) is as good as possible. One reason the school is carrying out this programme is that childhood has changed, and many children no longer get their play needs met out of school.

 Average screen time per day is six hours.

 Average outdoor play time per week is five hours.

 Percentage of UK children who only play outdoors with other children at school is 56%.

There are many proven benefits for schools that carry out the Opal Primary Programme. They usually include: more enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, fewer accidents and greatly improved behaviour. Over the coming weeks we will be asking for donations to enhance playtimes.


We are collecting loose parts...

The project will start after the Easter holidays and our hopes are that it will change the way we think and how we play together. To facilitate this project, we will need to buy some new resources, move some things around on the playground and require some loose parts. Loose parts are any materials that can be easily moved, combined, and incorporated into children's free play. The items we are looking for will enable us to enjoy a wider range of play experiences during playtime (see below for some examples): 


  • Suitcases of any size and type 

  • Anything on wheels/castors 

  • Plastic milk crates/supermarket delivery crates/plastic bread trays 

  • Road signs and cones (not metal) 

  • Kitchen pots, pans, baking trays, work tables, wooden spoons, chopping boards 

  • Tubes of various sizes and various materials 

  • Buckets 

  • Foam sheets/bodyboards/camping roll mats/yoga mats 

  • Wooden pallets 

  • Cable drums 

  • Guttering 

  • Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!) 

  • Pegs (to help to set up dens) 

  • Lego 

  • Dolls and prams 

  • Ride on toys 

  • Small figures and buildings such as farm animals, doll’s house, dinosaurs 

  • Craft activities 

These are items your children will be playing with and therefore do need to be in good condition.  Thank you. 


We will be beginning our collection after the Easter holidays and items can be dropped off next to the sub station in the car park under the new canopy.  The sooner we do this, the sooner the children will be able to play with the items! If objects are really large, such as wooden pallets, please call school to let us know and we will aim to ensure that there is someone available to help you carry them into school.