The Power of Play

Here at St. Ebbe’s Primary School, we see play as essential to realising our vision to produce ‘wise compassionate citizens with the power to make a difference,’ and to aligning with our core values:

Curiosity through exploring, manipulating, experiencing and affecting our environment.

Courage to manage risk and resolve disputes peacefully.

Connection with ourselves, discovering personal passions and interests with other children of different ages, and with nature.

In a primary school setting, children spend approximately 20% of their time (or 1.4 years) at play. Providing a high-quality, nourishing, enjoyable play environment is part of our core offer. 76% of UK children spend less than 1 hour per day outdoors and the National Trust found that the time spent playing outside has declined by 50% in a generation. We pledge to make sure that time spent at play at St. Ebbe’s maximises the benefits for each child.

At St. Ebbe’s, we adopt the International Definition of Play:

“Play is a process that is freely chosen, intrinsically motivated and self-directed.”

Our school recognises the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

Article 31 – the right to play, recreation and leisure

Article 12 – the right of children to be listened to on matters important to them

Our school embraces the Health and Safety Executive’s approach to the importance of play.


We work with OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning), funded by SESA (our PTA) to ensure that our play provision is of a high-quality for all children.

There are many proven benefits for schools which carry out the OPAL Programme. These include: more enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, less accidents and greatly improved behaviour as well as benefits to overall mental health. At a time when concerns about children’s mental health are increasingly in the media, we believe that quality playtimes are an essential antidote to the stresses of the modern world.