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Filton Avenue Primary School in Bristol is celebrating after being re-accredited as a Platinum Award school by the Outdoor Learning and Play CIC (OPAL).

In making the award, an OPAL mentor said, “Congratulations to Filton Avenue on sustaining fantastic outdoor play for over seven years, for your third consecutive award, and for becoming one of a small handful of OPAL Honours schools in the UK. The Honours award means that you are an exemplar primary school for the highest quality outdoor play, not just in Bristol, but in the country.

“This has been achieved through a sustained team effort, led by HT Dan Rodeck and involving the whole school community, staff, governors, families and friends and, of course, the pupils. It is impossible to not feel happy, excited and inspired as you visit Filton Avenue’s unique play spaces. Well done to the whole school!’

“There are 1,200 OPAL schools in the country, which as an Honours school, puts us in the top 0.5% for our playtimes,” said Dan Rodeck, headmaster. “It’s been an amazing journey from when we started in 2017 – we achieved the Gold award in 2019 and our first Platinum award in 2021 – and one of the things that struck me was that none of our current children know what it was like to not have OPAL playtimes.

“We know how important play is to children and ours have played a huge role in making our playtimes what they are today. In the last year, we created a new position of pupil leadership, called O-Pals, and they play a key part in ensuring that playtimes are great fun for all.

“All the research tells us that children who regularly play outdoors are more active, they sleep better and are happier. Visitors who come to Filton Avenue Primary always comment on how happy our children are. Children spend approximately 20% of the primary school career on the playground and I believe that’s vital we plan this time properly.”

Dan and Associate Staff Manager, Tina Bailey, were invited by OPAL to attend a special event at the House of Commons to receive the award. “As you can imagine, we had a very fun afternoon, but the most satisfying bit about all of this is what it means for your children, and that is that their playtimes are some of the very best in the business!” said Dan.