A PRIMARY school near Malmesbury is celebrating after being placed in the top 1 per cent of schools nationally for enriching children’s play.

Lea & Garsdon CE Primary School has been given the highest award for enriching play by school play programme OPAL.

The school - which runs an OPAL programme to help support play by children - was audited for its play provision and achieved 97 per cent.

This put it in the top 1 per cent of OPAL schools in the country and garnered it a platinum award.

OPAL is focused on using naturally and man-made resources to allow children to be inspired and creative in their play.

An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment, with every child feeling comfortable to express themself.

The development of OPAL has seen Lea & Garsdon CE Primary School construct a large sandpit and mud kitchen.

With it also being noted that children who can assess and evaluate risk are aided later in life, according to research, pupils at the Lea school develop these skills and put them into practice by building dens and climbing frames out of items like old tyres and pallets.

“No two playtimes are the same,” one student commented.

“It makes every playtime fun.”

The school recently enjoyed two events in which parents, grandparents and siblings joined the children in an afternoon of play.

One parent said: “The variety of play is outstanding and the joy palpable.”

“We were just blown away seeing the whole school engaged and busy with their play,” another parent commented.

OPAL’s vision is for all schoolchildren to experience an amazing hour of high-quality play daily.

The programme wants all schools to plan for, resource and evaluate the quality of their play provision as if it were an important human right, vital to all elements of children’s development and a source of happiness and joy that each child can access.