What is OPAL?
At Belmont we are lucky to be based on a large site with extensive outdoor space which is used to its full potential to offer additional opportunities to our students.
We are an OPAL (Outdoor Play And Learning) school, with a passion to make playtimes fun and engaging. The OPAL approach has led to a dramatic increase in levels of physical activity from the children, together with many other positive benefits including effective teamwork and respectful relationships.
We have created numerous zones and areas within our primary playground to ensure that all the children’s interests can be catered for. There are nature areas, adventure areas, bikes and scooters, den building, art and craft zones, and mud and water play, and we venture outside in all weathers.
OPAL aims for playtimes to be led by the students, while enabling them to learn through play and take safe risks through their schemas and interests. The range of highly motivating and engaging activities on offer results in happy playtimes, and meaningful relationships.
Not only has the success of OPAL been recognised by us as a school team, in July 2022 the primary department was recognised for its hard work and commitment to the project and received the highest Platinum accreditation from OPAL themselves.
As a school we have seen the benefits OPAL has brought to our playtimes, so we are maintaining this approach in primary, and planning to expand the work to our secondary outdoor play areas. Watch this space to see some exciting updates regarding our secondary play!
Forest School and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
Our on-site Forest School programme enables children of all ages to regularly experience learning in an outdoor environment They are encouraged to use their curiosity and creativity, and develop individual and teamwork skills. To build on the foundation of Forest School, Belmont now also participates in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Each year, a cohort of year 10 students work to complete their Bronze Award and in doing so learn new skills, help the community and become more physically active.
The school’s commitment to helping students build greater physical and emotional independence has been aided by considerable investment in cycling equipment and facilities. With support from Gloucestershire County Council, Belmont is developing as a centre of excellence for accessible cycling and cycling programmes and now has the specialist bikes available for all children to be able to cycle and enjoy the experience.