A NORTH-EAST school has received an award for offering pupils an outstanding outdoor play experience.

Cambrai Primary, in Catterick, was named an OPAL Gold Award school for being in the top five per cent of schools in the UK for playtime experiences.

The accolade was awarded to Cambrai, which is part of the Lingfield Education Trust, by Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL), an organisation that works to enhance and promote the benefits of play times.

The Northern Echo: Pupil Logan Thompson (centre) and his classmates make the most of break time by playing in the school's loose parts areaPupil Logan Thompson (centre) and his classmates make the most of break time by playing in the school's loose parts area (Image: Lingfield Education Trust)

Laura Robinson, head of school, said: “From the moment you walk through the door, you can tell we’re an OPAL school. Not only do our children have big smiles, but our site is enhanced with a wonderful variety of play areas.”

The school’s outdoor play facilities include a climbing frame, swings, a muddy digging area, a mud kitchen, a loose parts area full of barrels, planks, and tyres, a large sandpit, a multi-use games area, as well as gravelled, grassed, and tarmacked areas.

“Children at Cambrai work hard, and that means we want them to play hard too,” added Laura. “And there are so many skills which we learn through play: things like negotiation, fairness, teamwork, and how to support one another. It’s a really important part of growing up.

“I want to say a big thank you to all of our staff, but especially our play team who spear-headed the project, and our fantastic caretaker, David Williams, who built and installed many of the play areas, and who works relentlessly to keep both them and the whole site clean and tidy.”

The Northern Echo:

Ace Canning is a Year 3 pupil and one of the school’s six designated Friendship Buddies, whose job is to include any children struggling for someone to play with. He said: “It’s actually pretty cool because you get to play on all this stuff, and there’s lots of people to play with.

“My favourite is the tire swing, and the climbing frame when we play ‘The Floor is Lava’. We also get to camp out on the field in Year 3, which we’re really looking forward to.”