This is an alert. An alert to all those – across Europe and wider – where European play equipment and surfacing standards are held, or will be held, to apply. A new Standard is being proposed, one that will further undermine play provision.
The particular proposed change I focus on here (there are others) aims to introduce a requirement for onsite testing of playground surfaces, in particular, synthetic ones, for example, rubber.
The proposed changes – designated (prEN 1176-1:2016 (E)) – if implemented, will have an entirely negative effect on play provision, piling on significant additional costs or, in an effort to avoid additional costs, providers may well feel compelled to close or further dumb down existing provision.
To demonstrate the scale of the potential increase in costs, one local authority has calculated that an additional annual amount of £400,000 would be required if the proposed change to the Standard is implemented. Continue reading
I was invited by the International Journal of Play to write a review of Adrian Voce’s ‘Policy for Play: Responding to children’s forgotten right’.
This is the original manuscript of the review published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Play on 15 March 2016 available online http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21594937.2016.1146492
Policy for Play is at once a eulogy for the demise of an unfulfilled, wished-for future, and a statement of faith in the need for, and possibility of, resurrection.
The unfulfilled future is the Play Strategy for England which did not live long beyond its birth; the hope of resurrection resides in the belief of many play advocates, and certainly the author’s, that children’s ‘forgotten right’ to play can be secured only by a national, all-embracing policy (or strategy, the terms are used interchangeably) for play.
Policy for Play is Adrian Voce’s well-written account of the rationale for national play polices, and a detailed history of attempts to secure such a policy for England. It is an insider’s account, one that chronicles the twists and the turns, the ups and the downs, of this singular pursuit. Continue reading
Attention has rightly been drawn to a recent British Columbia (Canada) Supreme Court Judgment that, whilst not serving as precedent in other jurisdictions, is both interesting and useful. You can read the judgment here.
In brief, the civil law case – brought under British Columbia Occupiers Liability Act 1996 – focuses on a negligence claim against the District of Saanich by, at the time of the incident, an 11 year old child (represented by a litigation guardian) who was injured as the result of falling during a ‘tag’ game – known locally as ‘grounders’ – from one level of a play equipment’s platform to another. The incident occurred during a day camp taking place on a school playground, though not a school project. The day camp provision was supervised.
I recommend that those concerned with risk, liability, negligence and related issues in respect of play (and more widely, leisure and sports) read the judgment in its entirety. It is not a long document, and the court’s line of thinking that led it to dismiss the negligence claim is clearly spelled out. I was intrigued by one aspect of the judgment, and that’s what prompts me to write this piece. But more of that anon. Continue reading
‘ For three-and-a-half years, all pupils at St Ninians primary have walked or run a mile each day. They do so at random times during the day, apparently happily, and despite the rise in childhood obesity across the UK, none of the children at the school are overweight.
‘The daily mile has done so much to improve these children’s fitness, behaviour and concentration in lessons that scores of nursery and primary schools across Britain are following suit and getting pupils to get up from their desks and take 15 minutes to walk or run round the school or local park.‘ The Guardian Monday 28 September.
The scheme was introduced by the now retired Headteacher, Elaine Wyllie. In an interesting interview on the Today Programme (6 November. The interview starts at 2.43.32, near the end of the programme) she filled out more details of the scheme: Continue reading
Public good, industry, and providing for play
A ‘structural imbalance’ has been allowed to develop such that what constitutes public benefit in respect of children and teenagers’ play has been distorted by an overly influential play equipment industry. This article discusses industry, understood as commercial enterprise, and where decision-making about public benefit should be located. It is argued that, currently and for too long, public benefit decisions about play provision have been dislodged from their proper location – for example, publicly accountable bodies- to be captured by sectional interests. It is further argued that little blame attaches to industry, but that play provision providers have not fulfilled their responsibilities. Continue reading