Celebrating difference & championing diversity in play

October 1st, 2019 by

Training Event, Wednesday 6 November 2019, 9am – 1pm
Children’s Scrapstore, Bristol, BS2 9LB

Play England is excited to be hosting this training event in partnership with Children’s Scrapstore in Bristol.

The event will examine the barriers to inclusion and how we overcome them. Delivered through creative activities by Lucy Rae, Trainer and Equalities SLE and Alice Hoyle, Trainer, Youth Worker and Teacher.

To book, email or call 0117 908 5644.

£40 for Play England members, £50 for non members.

A Manifesto for Play: Policy Proposals for Children’s Play in England

September 20th, 2019 by

Play England, the Playwork Foundation and International Play Association England are delighted to have joined forces to publish a Manifesto for Play, ahead of any upcoming General Election.

The Manifesto, based on a consultation with children’s professionals, calls on Britain’s political parties to include Leadership, Legislation and Investment in children’s play in their election manifestos to transform the health, happiness and well-being of children in England.

Writing to Members of Parliament

We are asking all members and supporters to write to their Member of Parliament asking MPs to support the Manifesto for Play.

Click here for advice and information on writing to MPs.

The Manifesto for Play calls for 4 pledges for children that Play England wants to see the political parties include in their election manifestos:

  1. Leadership – create a Cabinet minister for children with responsibility for play
  2. Legislation – make planning for play a statutory duty
  3. Investment – more and better play opportunities, spaces and services for children including play in in parks and public spaces, playgrounds, housing, play streets, after school and holiday play schemes, adventure playgrounds and schools
  4. Delivering for play – investment in quality support and training for professionals.

Read the Manifesto here.

Nicola Butler, Chair of Play England said:

“It’s time to start taking play seriously. Too many children and young people in England are unable to enjoy a wide range of play opportunities and are losing out on the benefits of play.

“Children tell us that play makes them happy and is an important part of their daily lives.  They want more and better opportunities to play.  That’s why we’ve joined forces with the Playwork Foundation and the International Play Association for England to launch this manifesto.”

Karen Benjamin, Chair of the Playwork Foundation said:

“Playworkers support children’s play through a specific approach and understanding, based on strong evidence and research, of the importance of time and spaces for play.

“It is vitally important that this profession is acknowledged and valued, and that spaces for children to play freely are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all children.”

Meynell Walter, Chair of the International Play Association [England] said:

“Children have an innate need to play, recognised by the right to play being enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. IPA England dedicates its work to promoting this, and we call upon Government and public bodies to adopt and action the policy proposals in this manifesto. Leadership at all levels and associated funding is essential NOW to support opportunities for their play.”

Play England is a national charity that campaigns for better play opportunities for children in England.  Play England organises National Play Day in partnership with Playboard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales; and publishes guidance on Designing for Play and Managing Risk in Play Provision.

The Playwork Foundation promotes the value of playwork, supports playworkers and advocates for children’s play.  It makes the case for playwork services, helps to develop the playwork approach and provides a representative platform for playwork practitioners.

IPA England is a registered charity, a branch of the International Play Association. IPA’s purpose is to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right, upholding the right of all children and young people to the opportunity, time and space to play in their own way.

A Manifesto for Play: Policy Proposals for Children’s Play in England

September 20th, 2019 by

Writing to MPs

Play England, the Playwork Foundation and International Play Association [England] are delighted to jointly publish a Manifesto for Play, ahead of any upcoming General Election.

We are asking all members and supporters to write to their Member of Parliament asking MPs to support the Manifesto for Play.

Why write to Members of Parliament?

Members of Parliament and the Government have a vital role in agreeing Policy, Legislation and Investment in children’s play in England.

Writing to your local MP helps to raise the profile of play and reminds policy-makers of the importance of play in children’s lives and the role that they can play in supporting play.

Finding and contacting your MP

You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them by going to:

How to write to your MP

MPs and their researchers tell us that an original letter or email sent by one committed, passionate constituent is far more powerful than a pile of identical letters or postcards.

So it’s best to use your own words and speak from your own knowledge and experience about the importance of play.

Top Tips

  • Be succinct. Try to keep it to one side of A4.
  • Just raise one issue – don’t try to raise lots of different things
  • Include your address – so your MP can reply

How to structure your letter or email

  • Start with a sentence introducing yourself, eg I am a parent living in your constituency or I work for a play service in your constituency.
  • Say why you are writing to them, eg I am writing to ask you to support the policies set out in the Manifesto for Play (attached or enclosed).
  • Say something in your own words about why play is important for children and families. You might want to mention that play helps children build social skills and friendships, or that play is vital for children’s health and wellbeing. You can use the Manifesto for Play for ideas.
  • Include some facts and statistics about play. These might be statistics from your local play service. Or you can find some play facts in the Play builds Children statement.
  • If you run a local play service or organisation, you could invite your MP to visit to see the vital work that play services do.
  • Enclose or attach a copy of the Manifesto for Play.
  • Finish by saying that you would welcome your MP’s support for the policies set out in the Manifesto and ask if they could respond giving their views.

Follow up

Play England would be pleased if you could share your letter and any response from your MP with us by email to

Playwork Qualifications

September 16th, 2019 by

Good news! NCFE CACHE has decided to continue offering the Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no: 501/0997/2) and also the Level 2 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no. 500/9047/1) indefinitely. Play England spoke to a staff member at the awarding body recently who confirmed that their database shows an end date of 31 July 2027 for both qualifications, but this is because the system requires a date to be entered. As far as she is concerned, there is no final registration date.

If you wish to embark on a Playwork qualification and need to find a training centre, you can look for one on the NCFE CACHE website at or give them a ring on 0191 239 8000. 

Play England Annual General Meeting, 23 September 2019

September 2nd, 2019 by

Play England would like to invite all members to our AGM, which will be held at Pearson Street Adventure Playground, 28 Pearson Street, London E2 8EL from 10-11am on Monday 23 September.

The AGM is an opportunity for Play England members to have their say about the future of Play England. Play England welcomes new members. You can join free of charge at:


If you would like to attend, please register
free at

AGM Agenda

  • Welcome from Chair of Trustees, Nicola Butler
  • Apologies for absence
  • Notification of proxy votes
  • Approval of Minutes of 2018 AGM
  • Matters arising from the Minutes
  • Adoption of Annual Report
  • Adoption of Accounts
  • Appointment of Independent Examiner
  • Election of Trustees
  • Any Other AGM Business

Proxy Votes

If you are unable to attend the AGM and you would like another Play England member to be able to vote on your behalf, please download and complete our Proxy Vote Appointment Form and email to by Friday 13 September 2019 at the latest.

Election of Trustees

If you are interested in standing for election as a trustee of Play England or nominating someone else to do so, please complete our Trustee Application Form and email to by Friday 13 September 2019 at the latest. A description of the role of trustees is also attached for information. Please note: Play England is committed to developing diversity. We particularly welcome applications from Black and Minority Ethnic prospective trustees, who are currently under-represented on our board.

Play Today, August 2019

August 28th, 2019 by

The latest edition of Play England’s newsletter for members, Play Today, is now available free to download.

Highlights include:

Click here for more.

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Children’s Right to Play: Position Statement by the British Psychological Society

June 19th, 2019 by

Play England warmly welcomes the Children’s right to play Position Statement published by the British Psychological Society.

The British Psychological Society’s Division of Educational and Child Psychology states that:

  • Child-led play is a critical enabler of children’s holistic development and wellbeing.
  • Educational psychologists have a key role in championing opportunities for child-led play for all children both in and outside school, for example through:
    • Challenging practice that restricts or reduces access to play.
    • Advocating for access to play within casework.
    • Supporting whole-school initiatives to promote play.
  • Withdrawing break time opportunities for play in school should never be used as a punishment (e.g. for misbehaviour or completing unfinished work), nor the threat of withdrawal be used to control children’s behaviour.
  • All children and young people should have access to free, high quality, local opportunities for play.
    • This is particularly important for children who may currently experience exclusion from play e.g. disabled children, children living in poverty or children from minority communities.

Full statement is available at:

Working together for children and play

June 1st, 2019 by
Dr Sudeshna Chatterjee CEO, Action for Children’s Environments (ACE),
Dr Wendy Russell, University of Gloucestershire and Cynthia Gentry (IPA Board)

Play England trustees Laura Walsh, Libby Truscott and Nicola Butler were delighted to join delegates at the International Play Association England’s Halfway to Jaipur conference in London on 10 and 11 May 2019. Here’s a selection of the discussions and debates.

Trial and error without fear of failure

Opening the conference, author and poet Michael Rosen highlighted the issue of children being “constrained and contained” by an “exam crazy” school system. He talked about the importance of daydreaming and being able to investigate though trial and error without fear of failure.

Finding a balance – enough time for free play and organised activities

Professor Sarah Holloway of Loughborough University presented research indicating that very small amounts of money were stopping working class children from accessing opportunities offered by after school clubs and activities. Whilst they were often still able to play in the street, they were not free to leave that and were “excluded from other play opportunities by money”.

Inspired by local, national and international play partners

Play England trustees Libby Truscott and Laura Walsh spoke about influencing local and national policies, play in hospital environments and also highlighted the amazing work being done locally to support play – adventure playgrounds, after school clubs, hospital play, play in parks and public spaces, child-friendly cities initiatives – in England despite austerity.

We were pleased to be teamed with Froukje Hajer from the Netherlands

A warm welcome for everybody

Hackney Play Association’s Kay O’Brien led a practical session on putting the child’s right to play into practice and the importance of everyone feeling welcome when they arrive at play projects. Her work focussed on inclusion of disabled children and the wider community at Pearson Street Adventure Playground in Hackney.

Rights, accountability and implementation

Tam Baillie of IPA World made the case that policy is not everything. There are problems with failures of implementation even when the policies are there. He called for children to be better involved in the planning system and for a focus on what we can practically do to implement the right to play.

Meynell argued that some organisations use the child’s right to play in a flawed way. Whilst Rob Wheway advocated for a greater focus on traffic reduction.

Learning from indigenous ways of knowing

Day two began with Dr Wendy Russell highlighting the situated nature of knowledge and the dominance of European ways of knowing. Continued colonial domination included use of judgemental language that suggested a value hierarchy. In a beautiful tribute to the late Dr Stuart Lester, from the University of Gloucestershire Playwork department, who died 2 years ago, Wendy suggested an approach based on humility and paying attention to other ways of knowing.

Play builds children: looking forward to Play Day 2019

May 14th, 2019 by

Play England is delighted to be working in partnership on Play Day, Wednesday 7 August 2019, with PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales.

This year’s theme is: Play Builds Children.

The Playday 2019 theme aims to highlight the many ways in which play is beneficial to children and young people.

* Play Builds Friendships – playing allows children to interact with others, develop relationships, deal with conflict, and learn respect and tolerance.

* Play Builds Resilience – playing boosts children’s confidence, creativity, problem-solving skills and perseverance, enabling them to cope with stress and challenges throughout life.

* Play Builds Health and Well-being – being active through play helps children physically and emotionally, contributing to their health and happiness.

* Play Builds Communities – playing allows children to learn about the world around them, make connections, and develop a sense of identity and belonging.

Get involved and find out more at

More information about the theme, Play Builds Children at

Advocating for Play in the London Plan

May 7th, 2019 by
Working Together: Play England Chair Nicola Butler and Playwork Foundation trustee Adrian Voce with Nicky Gavron AM

Play England Chair of Trustees Nicola Butler was amongst those giving evidence at Examinations in Public on the London Plan on Friday 3 May, along with London Assembly Member and Deputy Chair of London’s Planning Committee Nicky Gavron, Marion Briggs, Joanna Chambers, Tim Gill and Adrian Voce.

Play England called for a Play Sufficiency requirement for London Boroughs to assess and secure sufficient play opportunities for children and young people in their area, based on the successful model in Wales.

Play England also asked for the Plan to reflect the need for children to be able to experience risk and challenge in their play, based on the Play Safety Forum guidance, Managing Risk in Play Provision and the Health & Safety Executive Statement on Children’s Play and Leisure: Promoting a Balanced Approach.

Play England welcomes the inclusion of Policy S4 on Play and informal recreation in the London Plan.

Play England also strongly supported the proposals put forward by Nicky Gavron AM that London must build the needs of children into its planning policies. Nicky called for measures to strengthen provision for play including that London Boroughs should protect non-designated and informal play space and that residential developments should incorporate at least 10 square metres per child of age appropriate play and informal recreation space that:

a)  provides a stimulating environment and opportunities for free play and ball games

b)  can be accessed safely from the street and home by children and young people independently

c)  forms an integral part of the development with access for children and young people from all tenures

d)  incorporates trees and/or other forms of greenery

e)  is well located with good informal over-sight in accordance with Policy G4

f)   is provided on site unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

The London Plan is the overall strategic plan for London, setting out the economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of London, including the framework for development and use of land and for decision making on planning and new developments.