Great start to play policy forums in Bristol

June 14th, 2018 by

A big thank you to everyone who helped make our packed out Play policy forum such a success yesterday in Bristol.

A special thank you to Bristol City Council and Councillor Helen Godwin for hosting the event, along with Bristol Play Network. The successful event organised with the Playwork Foundation, brought together those involved in or interested in play policy to help shape a manifesto for play.

Special guest Play Scotland’s Marguerite Hunter Blair outlined important initiatives supported by the Scottish government, such as the Place Standard, a planning tool which recognises the role of play in creating healthy communities. Play England’s Chair of Trustees Nicola Butler, pointed out that Westminster should be adopting initiatives like these not hindering children’s opportunity to play.

Participants strongly supported the call to reverse funding cuts, which are damaging the play sector and reducing children’s access to free accessible play. Reversing funding for local parks and ending the sell-off of public open spaces are also high on the list of manifesto demands. Fields in Trust research shows that while parks are highly valued by the public and usage is increasing, 92% of local authority park departments have experienced budget cuts in the past three years.

Playing Out’s Alice Ferguson updated participants on the progress being made in building support for Street Play and Carole Theyer from Sparks gave a rallying cry for play organisations to back the trailblazer apprenticeship and the need to develop quality playwork training.

All feedback from these forums will be collated and incorporated into a manifesto for play to help put play back on the political agenda. In the meantime, Play England is developing campaigning resources and is keen to put together case studies which show both the impact of the cuts on play provision, as well as the success stories. If you would like to help us with this work, please e-mail

If you live in the north east of England, the next policy forum is waiting for you to register! It’s on Thursday 12 July, hosted by Shiremoor Adventure Playground, in Tyneside.

For more details click here.

Get set for North East Play Policy forum at Shiremoor Adventure Playground

June 14th, 2018 by

A manifesto for play – a policy development event

10am – 3pm, Thursday 12 July 2018

Shiremoor Adventure Playground, Brenkley Ave, Shiremoor, North Tyneside NE27 0PR

This event is free! All welcome!

Hosted by Shiremoor Adventure Playground, this Play policy forum ‘A manifesto for play’, is a unique opportunity for everyone in the north east and beyond to come together to discuss the issues – both nationally and locally – for the play sector including children’s play in schools, the particular benefits of staffed play provision and more. You’ll also get a tour of the Adventure Playground!

Speakers include Nicola Butler from Play England, Ali Wood of Playwork Foundation, Kath Smith from the ‘Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future’, project, Claire Twinn, from Waterville Primary School and Keeks McGarry, Manager of Shiremoor Adventure Playground.

The forum is part of a roadshow of discussion forums organised by Play England and the Playwork Foundation taking place across the country to consult with all those involved in and impacted by children’s play – to help shape a manifesto for play, coordinate campaigning for better play provision, and share latest thinking and developments in play.

These discussions will feed into and shape a national manifesto for Play to help put play back on the political agenda.

This event is free! All welcome! The Adventure Playground are very kindly provided refreshments and lunch. Donations to Shiremoor are welcome.

To register, please book your place here:

If you want more information, please e-mail


Play England Annual General Meeting – Monday 4 June

May 1st, 2018 by

Play England Annual General Meeting

Monday 4 June, 12.30 – 1.30pm

Bristol Town Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR

All welcome!

Play England is delighted to announce that this year its Annual General Meeting is being hosted by Bristol City Council and Bristol Play Network. Taking place on Monday 4 June, it will update members on Play England’s latest activities and elect its Board of Trustees.

The AGM runs in the lunchtime of a packed day of the Play policy forum ‘A manifesto for play: developing a National Play Strategy’, part of a roadshow of discussion forums organised by Play England and the Playwork Foundation taking place across the country to consult with the play sector and develop key policy asks to form a manifesto for play, coordinate campaigning for better play provision, and share latest thinking and developments in play.

In order to attend the AGM, you will need to be a member of Play England. If you are not already a member, it is really easy to join – and free! Join on-line here:

To book your place at the AGM, just register here:

If you would like to nominate someone for the post of Trustee, please complete this form and e-mail it to by Tuesday 29 May.

The policy forums are open to all members – we hope that you will consider attending.

The Bristol event is open to all play workers and playwork practictioners based in and around Bristol and is a unique opportunity to come together and discuss the key policy areas – both nationally and locally. These discussions will feed into and shape a national manifesto for Play to help put play back on the political agenda!

For further information about Bristol’s policy forum and to register for this free event, please click here.

For details of the other policy forums, click here.

Play needs increased funding

March 5th, 2018 by

With the latest report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing girls spending more time involved in play activities than boys, Play England is highlighting how the chronic funding crisis on the play sector means girls in particular are missing out on play opportunities. The ONS report ‘Children’s engagement with the outdoors and sports activities, UK: 2014 to 2015’ shows that whilst boys spent longer on sports activities, girls spent more of their time in play activities – 127 minutes per day compared to boys at 96 minutes.
Yet government’s investment in play has been cut from £235 million prior to 2010 to zero in 2018. Between 2012 and 2017, Sport England received £1 billion from the government and National Lottery funding. Play England is calling for these levels of national funding to also be made available for play.

Here is a model letter to MPs. Please complete and send this to your local MP!

Your name & address (you must include this in order to receive a response from your local MP)

Your MP (find out who they are, and contact parliamentary e-mail here🙂

Dear XXX

I am writing to ask you to support an increase in national funding for play provision.

The benefits of play reach into every aspect of children’s lives. It is vital for their enjoyment of childhood as well as for social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Independent research, as well as the Chief Medical Officer’s own recommendations, emphasizes the effectiveness of play in helping children’s health and wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation recommends that regular play helps keep children mentally well.

Access to high quality, staffed play opportunities also benefits parents and families, providing important social support, crucial lifelines in deprived neighbourhoods and for parents in need.

 However, investment in play has collapsed: prior to 2010, government investment in play was  £235 million. Now, in 2018, it is zero. 

This is damaging the quality and availability of public play provision in local parks and open spaces. National government cuts to local authorities is also forcing staffed play providers, such as adventure playgrounds and after-school clubs, to cut services or close.

These cuts are limiting children’s access to free, local play spaces and taking a toll on children’s health and wellbeing. According to the government’s childhood obesity strategy, nearly a third of children aged two to 15 in England are overweight or obese. The problem is worse amongst children from the most deprived areas, with five-year olds twice as likely to be obese compared to their most well off counterparts. A Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition survey has found that young people’s mental health problems have become more severe over the last two years.

Investing in play benefits everyone and is vital for this country’s future. Between 2012 and 2017, the government and National Lottery invested £1 billion in Sport England. I believe that the same levels of funding need to be made available for play.

Please support Play England’s ‘Save our Play’ campaign which calls on the government to pledge matched funding between sport and play – to benefit all of our children and young people.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely,


Your name


You can also download the model letter here.

Play England’s submission to Draft London Plan Consultation

March 1st, 2018 by

Submission to London Plan Consultation:

Policy S4: inclusion of adventure playgrounds in new developments

Play England welcomes the Mayor of London’s Draft London Plan, particularly Policy S4 on Play and Informal Recreation which calls on London Boroughs to:

  • undertake audits of existing play and informal recreation provision and opportunities, and assessments of need, considering the quantity, quality and accessibility of provision
  • produce strategies on play and informal recreation facilities and opportunities, supported by Development Plan policies, to address identified needs.

Play England would like to see the inclusion of adventure playgrounds in all new developments. 
This is because adventure playgrounds offer a unique form of staffed play provision where children can play in ways that they often can’t elsewhere. They are challenging but safe places to play because they are staffed by skilled playworkers. Benefits of adventure playgrounds include children and young people’s improved physical health, more respite for parents, as well as increased confidence and resilience among users. Adventure playgrounds can offer children – particularly vulnerable children living in areas of high social deprivation – places where they learn for themselves how to deal with risks and build the resilience needed to cope with life’s challenges. Because of the unique public service that adventure playgrounds offer, they often become the heart of a neighbourhood community.

Adventure Playgrounds are often ‘open access’ providers. This means children are free to leave unsupervised. Open access provision seems to be particularly attractive to vulnerable children, perhaps because it is free and easy to access — in contrast with more formal provision. As a result, play providers are often at the frontline of work with more vulnerable families, as they can be the only professionals in contact with children. Open access provision is particularly effective at reaching disadvantaged and socially excluded children who are not accessing more formal provision. For instance, where children have been excluded from school, or the growing number whose parents have been pressured into home educating their children.

Here is more information about the importance of adventure playgrounds and the impact they have on their communities:


We would also propose an additional policy line, that challenges the use of ‘negative signage for recreation’ – specifically ‘No Ball Games’ signs and associated signage. The social and cultural implications of such signage can lead to a substantial, negative impact on engagement with play, physical activity and sport.



Play England is expanding its Board of Trustees!

February 20th, 2018 by

Play England wants to expand its board of trustees!

We’re seeking people from a broad range of backgrounds with skills in HR and/or employment law, fundraising, and marketing in particular, as well as people from related sectors such as child psychology, social work, healthcare, teaching or youth work.

Trustees meet every two months in London, and can have reasonable travel expenses reimbursed, if necessary, to enable attendance. Outside of meetings, trustees are expected to engage in other tasks to support the charity, depending on their expertise. This is not likely to take more than an additional two or three days a month.

If you have the skills we are seeking, have an interest in children’s play and would like to contribute to our work, please do apply!

Download the full advert here.

Download the full advert as a word file.

Download the application pack here.

Download the job description and person specification here.

Completed applications should be e-mailed to by 30 April 2018.



Shiremoor leads the way on quality in play

February 2nd, 2018 by

Shiremoor Adventure Playground is the latest play organisation to be accredited with Quality in Play (QiP), Play England’s quality assurance system for playwork practitioners.

Shiremoor, in Newcastle upon Tyne, is a former mining area with high levels of deprivation. The adventure playground opened in 2010 as part of the Play Pathfinder Programme on a previously unused seven hectare site of land. It is managed by North Tyneside Council who provide core funding for staff and running costs. The Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust raise additional charitable and other funding for salaries and activities.

The Adventure Playground has successfully managed the transition from catering for a very local community, to being a destination playground in the spring and summer months, when between 300 to 500 people visit daily.   In autumn and winter it reverts back to a community playground for core local users. Because the playground is less busy, this is when the more adventurous play, like Parkour, takes place.

Play England talked to Shiremoor’s Manager and Senior Playworker, Keeks McGarry about the QiP experience.

Why was accreditation important to you?

“It’s important for a number of reasons. We strongly believe in the professional profile of playwork and welcome being scrutinised by a set of standards that have been endorsed by the sector. Having achieved QIP status it’s given the team credibility and confidence in what we do and how we do it. QIP is also important from the perspective of an Adventure Playground within a local authority model as our approach is not always understood by Health and Safety Inspectors, other professionals and organisations who may not be familiar with a playwork approach.”

Quality in Play is a management tool to support continuous self-assessment and improvement. The process brings together the staff and management team to organise the policies and procedures – ‘how we do things here’ – into a portfolio of evidence.


How did your team manage the process of working through the Play summary areas?

“For most of the areas we started with a bunch of our Annual Reports and policy documents as paper-based evidence of how we were meeting the criteria. So, for example, Area 1 looks at the importance of freely chosen play. Statements in our Annual Reports and in our Play Policy produced robust evidence of how we were meeting this area. Once we had paper-based evidence we discussed other formats such as videos or children’s statements that would provide an holistic picture of that summary area. We knew from the past accreditation process that our weakest area was around publicity and information dissemination so we made a concerted effort to address this when putting together all of our evidence this time round. The QIP process has also helped us to focus on what we are providing as professional playworkers and we’ve used it as evidence of quality in relation to several funding bids.”

At Shiremoor, children are actively involved in the running of the playground, making sure everyone signs in and showing new arrivals around the playground. Regulars also look out for younger children and new users on the structures. Shiremoor has developed a team of ‘Helping Hands’ and more recently ‘Junior Playworkers’ who encourage children to take responsibility for tasks and jobs – and they clearly take pride in and enjoy them. In return, they are allowed on the playground an hour early, which is seen as a great privilege.

“Children were involved in the Quality in Play process right from the beginning,” says Keeks. “Some of our older users had helped in pulling together a file of their own evidence for our first accreditation visit so they guided a younger group in collating a file this time around. This worked on two levels. On one level the children’s file began to fill up with all kinds of ‘evidence’, ranging from pieces of their own artwork, to photos of trips they had been on. We briefed a core group of children on talking about what was in their file so that they could present it on the day of assessment.

This got the children familiar with the process as well as focusing them on some of the summary areas where they could really have an input. By the time the day of inspection had arrived a lot of our children were really familiar with what was going to be assessed and were more than keen to help show the inspector around and talk about the evidence in their file.”

Another part of the Quality in Play process looks at how play providers can actively engage and work with the wider community – ‘the local community is the sea in which play provision swims or sinks.’ As children’s services are increasingly integrated, play providers need to make links with networks of professionals who work with children and young people in their area. This enables play and other services to signpost children and families to each other and build community awareness of what is available.

Working through the Quality in Play process, did it help you to demonstrate the positive impact of the playground on the wider community?

“QIP accreditation has given the Playground a sense of status that really helps when working with other organisations and professionals. To the uninitiated, Adventure Playgrounds are often misunderstood. It can be difficult to build relationships and partnerships in the wider community unless there is some understanding about our approach and our practice and how this can benefit the children we work with. QIP has helped us to develop good, mutually respected relationships in the local and wider community enabling us to work closer with local police, social workers, local schools, colleges and universities, youth offending teams, foster carers and local businesses. This has given us the opportunity to ‘educate’ some of these people and organisations in relation to the importance of play in the lives of children.”

These mutually respected relationships are evident in the Playground’s Annual Report, where PC Kev Rogerson is quoted: “The playground, the staff and the volunteers are part of the fabric of the lives of the young people of Shiremoor. They know the young people so well and are always looking to enhance their lives by providing experiences that help raise their confidence and self-esteem. I would say that the Adventure Playground is one of the main factors in helping us keep youth issues ‘in hand’. If we (as the police) are looking to think of ways to divert young people from disruptive behaviour, Keeks and his staff team are the ones we go to for help and advice.”

An independent assessment of QiP noted, “with regards to a playwork approach or playwork ethos, QiP was found time-and-again to have made a significant difference in practice to individuals, their teams, to children and, in one case, a whole authority. Those who had embraced the process described how ‘the light bulb was switched on’ for them, or how they had been on a ‘learning journey of team understanding”. 

Did Shiremoor have this lightbulb moment?

“Our lightbulb has been flickering on and off throughout the process as we have now undertaken the ‘journey’ twice,” says Keeks. “The first time around it was a case of affirmation for the way we worked, with the realisation that although we were confident that we were meeting most of the criteria and standards in the play summary areas, we did not have the evidence to prove this to others! When we were going for re-accreditation the system was familiar and gaps were a lot easier to identify so we could concentrate more on the quality of evidence that we were providing.”

Interested in getting accredited for Quality in Play? Find out more here:

New research shows playing out gets children active

July 28th, 2017 by

Press release

New research published by Play England shows that playing out increases children’s physical activity. At a time of continuing concerns about childhood obesity, the research shows how playing out helps children meet daily targets of physical activity.

The reports evaluate the three-year Street Play project, funded by the Department of Health, and delivered by Play England with partners Playing Out, London Play and the University of Bristol. The highly successful Street Play project has supported parents and communities to hold regular road closures enabling children to play out in 33 geographically diverse areas, with a sustainable network of over 5,000 volunteers creating over 60,000 additional play opportunities.

The evaluation report ‘Why temporary street closures for play make sense for public health’, was written by Professor Angie Page and colleagues at the University of Bristol. Children wore accelerometers and GPS which showed that physical activity gained during temporary street closures made a meaningful contribution to daily physical activity for both boys and girls.  Researchers also found that outdoor, active play was more likely to replace sedentary and screen-based activities, than physical activities that normally occur after school.  Street Play initiatives can therefore help children to meet the daily target of 60 minutes moderate to vigorous physical activity set out in the government’s obesity strategy.

Since the funded project’s conclusion in March 2016, over 500 streets in 45 different local authority areas are involved in active street play.

The second report ‘Street play initiatives in disadvantaged areas: experiences and emerging issues’ is written by researcher and author Tim Gill in response to concerns about the decline in children’s opportunities for outdoor play. Based on interviews with people involved in schemes across five local authorities,  this report highlights a range of factors that influence the likelihood of success of street play initiatives in disadvantaged areas, such as the need to streamline local authority application procedures and remove cost barriers, as well as noting the importance of local sources of practical support working alongside local authorities. It recommends adapting the street play model for housing estates as well as supporting where children spontaneously play already in neighbourhood streets.

Nicola Butler, Chair of Trustees, Play England, ‘Children’s time spent outside is falling, particularly amongst girls.  Yet the evidence is clear. When children play out they are three times more likely to be physically active. Giving children access to free outdoor play opportunities is the best way of tackling problems like obesity. Not only is active play physically good for children and young people, it helps their mental health too. We need more initiatives like street play at the heart of the government’s health and wellbeing agenda.’

Alice Ferguson, Co-founder and Managing Director, Playing Out ‘We are delighted to have hard evidence that shows what we already knew – street play is great for children and for communities. Government and local authorities should now be supporting this in any way they can.’

Professor Angie Page, University of Bristol ‘We know that time spent outdoors is related to greater daily physical activity and reduced risk of obesity. However, few interventions are effective at increasing physical activity in the local environment. This resident-led intervention shows the potential for meaningful increases in physical activity as well as social benefits to both children and the communities in which they live. It is relatively low cost, scaleable and potentially sustainable – this is why it makes sense for public health.’

Tim Gill, author and researcher, “My study shows that play streets are not just for up-and-coming urban areas and leafy suburbs: they can succeed in poorer areas too. However, local authorities must make the bureaucracy as simple as possible, and give practical help to residents, if they are to reach the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.”

Paul Hocker, Director, London Play

“Street play is a no-brainer when it comes to promoting active childhoods. It deftly dodges two of the main barriers that prevent unsporty children from being active. Firstly, play is not prescriptive, whereas organised sport demands particular skills and a grasp of rules to participate. Secondly, it is the ultimate in accessibility because it takes place right on your doorstep. Fun outside your front door. Who wouldn’t want to go out and join in with that?”

For media enquiries and interviews please contact Sophie Bolt 07802 722412.




Notes to editors:

1. Health and wellbeing outcomes:
According to Public Health England, in 2014/15 a third of 10- to 11-year olds and over a fifth of four to five-year olds were overweight or obese. The government’s obesity strategy recommends that ‘[e]very primary school child should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.’

A Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition survey has found that young people’s mental health problems have become more severe over the last two years.

The Mental Health Foundation recommends that having the time and freedom to play, indoors and outdoors, can help keep children and young people mentally well

2.Decline in children playing outside

There has been a significant decline in time spent outside for children and adolescent boys and girls over a five-year period, with the steepest rate of decline in girls whose average time spent outdoors declined by 31%.

 3. Street Play partners

Play England is the national charity for children’s play, providing guidance for thousands of play providers: adventure playgrounds, after-school clubs, parks departments, parents, volunteers and schools.  Play England’s Playday campaign was evaluated by the Institute for Volunteering and NCVO which found Playday reached over 900,000 adults and children, giving 191 million opportunities to view the campaign through national and local media coverage.

Playing OutPlaying Out is a non-profit organisation promoting children’s right to play out safely on the streets and estates where they live. They provide free advice to anyone wanting to organise regular play street sessions in their own neighbourhoods, as well as helping councils to put the right policies and support in place. Over the next few years, they aim to grow the national grassroots movement of parents and others bringing about change for children across the UK. Playing Out has also produced a survey of street play. You can download it here:

The Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol

The Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol is the leading institution in the UK for research on physical activity and public heath.

London PlayLondon Play is a small but influential charity that strives to get more children in London playing out more often. We promote children’s right to play, campaign for more and improved out-of-school play services for London’s 1.8m children and young people, and support play providers in the capital. We also directly provide more play opportunities for children by supporting groups to develop play streets, building nature play areas and running events.

Other local partners include Hackney Play Association, Haringey Play Association, House of Objects, Leeds Play Network and Nottingham Playworks.

4. Social media:

National websites:



Hashtags: #Playday #StreetPlay #ActivePlay

Partner twitter handles:






5. Images

Images to download are available here.

(Please credit all images to Play England)

Playwork qualifications – July UPDATE

May 30th, 2017 by

Following calls by Play England for playworkers to lobby qualification awarding bodies to extend registration of Playwork Diplomas CACHE and City & Guilds have reviewed their stance and extended the registration for some of the qualifications for another year.

Thank you to all those play workers and play organisations who took the time to write expressing their concern about the deletion of the playwork qualifications.

This is a small but significant victory!

However, it does not resolve the problem of disappearing qualifications in the long term.  Awarding bodies need a critical number of registrations for each qualification to ensure it is financially viable.  If those registration fees are not forthcoming, the qualifications will be deleted, whether there is verbal support or not.

So, if you are wondering whether to register yourself, or your staff, on a playwork qualification, now is the time to act, while we still have qualifications on which to register!

Below is a list of the qualifications that are available in England, by awarding body, and their last registration dates, as at 26 May 2017.


City and Guilds

Qualification Level and Title Last date for registration
Level 2 Award in Playwork 31 July 2018
Level 2 Certificate in Playwork 31 July 2018
Level 2 Diploma in Playwork 31 July 2018
Level 3 Award in Playwork No longer available
Level 3 Certificate in Playwork No longer available
Level 3 Diploma in Playwork 31 July 2018
Level 4 Award in Playwork 30 Nov 2017
Level 4 Certificate in Playwork No longer available
Level 5 Diploma in Playwork 31 July 2018


Qualification Level and Title Last date for registration
Level 2 Award in Playwork No longer available
Level 2 Certificate in Playwork No longer available
Level 2 Diploma in Playwork 31 Aug 2019
Level 3 Award in Playwork No longer available
Level 3 Certificate in Playwork 31 Aug 2019
Level 3 Diploma in Playwork
31 Aug 2019
Level 4 Award in Playwork No longer available
Level 4 Certificate in Playwork No longer available
Level 5 Diploma in Playwork 31 Aug 2019


In addition, City and Guilds offer a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Playwork and, for those who wish to progress their education in playwork, Leeds Beckett University offers a BA (Hons) in Childhood Development and Playwork and The University of Gloucestershire offer an MA in Professional Studies in Children’s Play

Apprenticeship Trailblazers

There is currently a government initiative to develop new apprenticeships in a range of sectors. According to the government’s website ‘an apprenticeship is a job with training. It enables someone to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to perform effectively in a particular occupation. The occupation is defined in the apprenticeship standard. Apprentices have a contract of employment, and are employees of the company which take them on. They must be paid at least the minimum wage for the duration of their apprenticeship.  Both apprentice and employer must sign an apprenticeship agreement. This identifies the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained, and confirms the standard that the apprentice is following. Apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months, with 20% structured off-the-job training which must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship, taking place before the end-point assessment, to develop competence in an occupation.’

Following an unsuccessful attempt to gain approval for a playwork apprenticeship, the employer group is seeking to expand its membership to refine and resubmit a proposal.  These employer groups are being named trailblazers and must represent the sector for which they aim to develop apprenticeship standards.

If you are interested in contributing to this development, email Amy Nicholls at CACHE on  as she is co-ordinating this development.


Remembering Stuart Lester

May 22nd, 2017 by

Play England’s staff and trustees are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Dr Stuart Lester.

Stuart was a huge inspiration and support to all of us in the play sector in England and internationally, delivering many workshops, talks and lectures.  Play England was honoured to publish his work co-authored with Wendy Russell on Play for a Change: Play, Policy and Practice.  This remains the go to source for research and literature for making the case for play in England.

Stuart was a key contributor to development of Quality in Play, the quality assurance system for play provision in England.  It is based on the Manchester Circles model, developed by Stuart and Wendy, putting the playing child at the centre, a principle that remains fundamental to quality play provision.  Stuart supported us with publication of the latest edition of Quality in Play, quietly but persuasively promoting the importance of a play-centred approach to quality assurance with local commissioners and play providers.

Supporting local play providers to use playwork artefacts to evidence the value and quality of their provision was also at the heart of Stuart’s work on Thinking About Playwork, a continuous professional development programme.  Stuart’s unique delivery of this programme combined in-depth exploration of the meaning of play and playwork with such provocations as goblins, eggs, wiggly lines and a mischievous sense of humour.  In a playful way, he encouraged us to test the boundaries and limitations of our own thinking and always to explore the possibilities – what if?

Stuart’s work with Wendy on the Welsh Government’s Play Sufficiency Duty, Leopard Skin Wellies, a Top Hat and a Vacuum Cleaner Hose, published by Play Wales is a beacon to everyone involved in promoting the child’s right to play.

Here at Play England we will miss the sense of magic and enjoyment that Stuart brought to play and playwork – his ability to take apart everything that we thought we knew about play and to enable us to put it back together again in new and thought-provoking combinations.  Our thoughts are with Stuart’s family and friends at this time.