South Tyneside primary school awarded for ‘outstanding playtime’

Toner Avenue Primary School was presented with a Platinum OPAL Award.

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A South Tyneside primary school has been awarded a Platinum OPAL Award for Outdoor Play and Learning.

Toner Avenue Primary School, which is located on Johnston Avenue in Hebburn, has become the first school in the borough to receive the official award, which was presented to the school on Friday, July 21.

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Head Teacher of Toner Avenue Primary School, Mrs N Fullard said:  “We are delighted to have been presented with the Platinum OPAL award for our amazing playtimes.  We are the first school in South Tyneside to have been accredited, only 0.5% of OPAL schools achieve the Platinum status for play and we are so proud.”

Fullard further explained what OPAL play consists of, as she said: “OPAL play is much more than just equipment and resources.  A lot of planning goes into creating amazing playtimes, including writing policies, creating risk assessments and ensuring all staff have the correct training.

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She continued: “We have developed an amazing team of staff who have worked hard to get OPAL underway, as well as a play working party who design and implement a wide range of play opportunities.  We have created a play team who engage with pupils in their play everyday creating dens, building in the sand, making mud pies in the mud kitchen, scooting around the yard as well as creating elaborate tunnels and waterways.”

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The school has appointed ‘play ambassadors’, all of which are pupils. Fullard explained: “They award children with golden welly awards for great play, and these are put into a welly and a winner drawn out each week - winning extra playtime for their class and an amazing ‘Golden Welly’ trophy.”

A Year 4 pupil spoke about the playtimes from a pupil perspective, saying: “It’s really fun, our playtimes have been turned into a magical wonderland.”

On Friday, July 21, the Mayor of South Tyneside attended Toner Avenue Primary School, where pupils, staff and governors gathered to receive the award.

Toner Avenue Primary SchoolToner Avenue Primary School
Toner Avenue Primary School

OPAL team member, Ingrid Wilkinson who presented the school with the award, said: “Children have choice, freedom and the opportunity to have adventure daily.  Sand, mud, scooters, den building. dressing up, the list is endless.  Toner should be very proud of what has been achieved by everyone involved.”

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