We are now part of the ONE trust! Our facilities are outstanding and purpose built to ensure we can provide the very best educational opportunities! We have some spare places in some year groups if you would like to join our new journey!



OPAL at Simonside

 (Outdoor Play And Learning)


What is OPAL?  Home - Outdoor Play And Learning


Here at Simonside Primary School, we are committed to ensuring quality play opportunities are available to all of our children. Research shows that children’s physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development can be improved through great play. During seven years at Simonside Primary School, children will spend 1.4 years at play. This research led staff to reflect upon and improve playtimes here at Simonside by beginning our OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) journey in 2019.

The OPAL vision is that “every child in school has an amazing hour of high quality play every day”. As a school, we share this vision and recognise the tremendous benefits play has on a child’s life.

What does this mean for us?

  •  Happier children
  •  Children coming into class ready to learn
  • A fully inclusive playtime offer
  • Opportunities to be creative
  • Opportunities to make decisions and socialise

Our Play Offer

Our new, improved and impressive school grounds is the perfect environment to bring our OPAL vision to life. The school site has been divided into areas which will offer children the opportunity to play wherever they want, with whoever they want. These include –

  • Sand pit
  • Mud Kitchen
  • MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)
  • Den building
  • Construction area
  • Football pitch
  • ‘The Village’ – wooden shelter area
  • Dressing up
  • Scooters and bikes
  • Reading hut
  • Colouring club
  • Small World Toys
  • Performance stage
  • A huge fixed climbing frame
  • Music box for singing and dancing

With these outstanding areas as well as the opportunity to be creative and imaginative children are developing life skills of team work, problem solving, communication and resilience. Each child has the right to play (Article 31) and we believe that every child should have access to outstanding play opportunities.

OPAL plans for the future

Our OPAL journey has gone from strength to strength since beginning in 2019 but there is always more to do. With support from our OPAL team and fantastic families, playtimes here at Simonside will continue to improve and inspire our children. We hope to –

  • Develop our water area
  • Improve the construction area with lego, duplo and more
  • Open a junk modelling creative area
  • Replenish the small world toys
  • Hold fundraising events in school to raise OPAL funds
  • Provide musical instruments
  • Continue our parent stay and play sessions
  • Develop the use of the Outdoor classroom