New play area unveiled at Hopton school


Hopton CofE Primary Academy's new outdoor play area - Credit: DNEAT

A new interactive play area has opened at a coastal village school with the hopes of promoting independence for children.

Pupils and staff at Hopton Church of England Primary Academy have celebrated the unveiling of their custom-designed outdoor learning environment

The school - which is part of the Diocese of Norwich (DNEAT) - hosted a special opening ceremony where Howard Nelson, chief executive of the Diocese's education service, cut the ribbon and declared the new space open.


Kellie Egleton, headteacher of Hopton CofE Primary Academy, unveils the new play area with Howard Nelson CEO of DoNESC - Credit: DNEAT

The outdoor area forms part of refurbishments taking place around the school which aim to encourage children to be more inquisitive, engaged and in the mindset to learn.

The school says the new environment has been designed to enable a range of different play styles and promotes peer group interactions in a natural setting.


Hopton CofE Primary Academy's new outdoor play area forms part of upgrades across the school. - Credit: DNEAT

Headteacher Kellie Egleton said the school prides itself on using the environment as part of the children's education, such as the Beach School, where pupils learn more about the surrounding area while being taught on the sandy shores.

Mrs Egleton said: "Our school is set within beautiful and spacious grounds and we are fortunate to have a stunning stretch of coastline within a short walk of the school.

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"We draw on the beauty of our natural surroundings to inspire our curriculum, while also ensuring children are encouraged to experience life outside of Norfolk, by showing them the wider world and everything it has to offer."


Hopton CofE Primary Academy's new play area aims to promote independence by offering pupils more choice in how they play - Credit: DNEAT

The headteacher added the new play area will further encourage pupils to learn about the world around them independently.

She said: "We hope this will lead to a positive impact on wellbeing and development. The benefits of outdoor learning are almost endless – it can do wonders for social and physical development alike, and in turn, boosts vital cognitive skills."

Reception teacher Lorna Howard said the play area provides a space where children can make independent choices.

She added: “Our job is to support children’s play, allowing them to be the agents of their own discovery of the world."

The Hopton team hope that the new play area will empower their pupils to give them the confidence to try new things, a “learning power” which they hope Hopton pupils will retain throughout their lives.