It’s true, the recent report on play by the All-Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood would have benefited from some judicious editing and organising in terms of structure and length. True, too, that there are points where it veers off in directions that some might feel are not entirely consistent with other points it seeks to make.
But if you’re of a mind that repetition of one’s cardinal beliefs is evidence of their veracity, this may be the report for you. For not a page goes by where one is not reminded that, truly, play is a wondrous thing – as activity; as state of mind; as scourge of obesity epidemics; as generator of formal educational achievement – capable of generating every kind of benefit. No slouch, either, this report, for it takes care to reference the basis of its analysis and conclusions.
Nevertheless, disappointment has been expressed about what is considered a missed opportunity. Adrian Voce, in his considered response to the report, offers a succinct and clear account from this perspective, acknowledging at the same time that there is some good stuff in it. Continue reading
Every now and again something rare and delightful wings its way to the place where one is perched – at a desk perhaps. At first its import and attractiveness is not apparent – it is after all only a report and one’s immediate fear is that it will include the conventional diet of superficial case studies, or an evaluation that barely skims the surface of interest.
Turn now to imagery: for the imbibers among you, imagine a deep red to purple port wine, or a peaty malt whisky. See them first in the glass, the ‘legs’ clinging to the glass’s side – a lingering quality. Now taste, and whether port wine or whisky, you’ll feel that warm, smooth, satisfying quality of a drink well-formed, a pleasure well-received.
It is with these thoughts and images in mind that I commend to you the report of a ‘small-scale research project’, by Wendy Russell and Stuart Lester, both of the University of Gloucestershire. The report explores how Welsh local authorities’ responded to the introduction of the duty to assess sufficiency of play opportunities for children, the first part of the Play Sufficiency Duty as set out in the Children & Families (Wales) Measure 2010, Section 11. The report was commissioned by the rightly admired Play Wales. Continue reading