Play is top of the list at Beacon Rise

July 25 2022

BEACON Rise primary school has received an award for its approach to playtimes, maintaining its achievement for 10 years.

Play is top of the list at Beacon Rise

The school in Hanham Road was first presented with a platinum award for its lunchtime play opportunities a decade ago by school play community interest company OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning.)

It has now been reassessed and retained its platinum status.

Assistant head Rachel Leonard said: “We were told it’s really rare for schools to keep the highest possible award for over 10 years.

“We put a lot of emphasis on children’s lunchtime play. It is good for their well-being, helps with behaviour in the afternoon, and teaches them skills such as problem solving and communication.”

Beacon Rise offers a huge range of lunchtime activities that go far beyond the usual offering in primary schools.

Children can dig, play in a mud kitchen, walk over textures including sawdust and bubbles in the sensory area, climb trees, ride bikes, use dressing up clothes, do art, build dens, enjoy a music garden, play in a sandpit and much more.

Ms Leonard said: “We have free play so all age groups can mix together. You might want to join in with a year six football match or use the dressing up clothes with children from year one.

“We have had visitors from as far away as Italy and Canada to look at what we are doing with play so they can use the ideas in their own schools back home. Our head has worked with a group of teachers from New Zealand to help them improve the play on offer there.

“If you add up all the time children spend playing at lunchtime, it adds up to something like 1.4 years of their life, so it’s really important to make sure it’s a great experience.”

Rachel Murray from OPAL said in her assessment: “Many congratulations on your OPAL Platinum Award. 10 years of platinum play is a wonderful achievement, and one that the whole school community should feel very proud of.

“It was an absolute pleasure visiting your playground and seeing the happy, inclusive and rich play environment you have created.”