Solihull Play Strategy 2006 1
Table of contents
1.1 Purpose & scope 2
1.2 Outline of content 2
1.3 Definition of play 3
2. The Case for Play
2.1 Value & significance of play for children and young people 3
2.2 Contribution play makes to wider agenda 4
3.1 Play in local, regional & national contexts 5
3.2 Profile of Solihull 5
3.3 Relevant local & national policy & strategy 6
4. Review of Community Engagement
4.1 Approach 8
4.2 Findings and conclusions 9
5. Local Provision Examined
5.1 Audit methodology 9
5.2 Audit findings 10
5.3 Analysis of provision relative to needs and population 11
5.4 Management arrangements 11
6. Play Statement
6.1 Play assumptions 11
6.2 Play principles and values 12
6.3 Links with wider strategic documents 14
7. Local Standards
7.1 Explanation of standards proposed 14
7.2 Quality assurance 14
7.3 Risk management 15
7.4 Workforce development 15
8. Action Plan
8.1 Criteria for identifying priorities for development 16
8.2 Play settings 23
8.3 Play development 23
8.4 Timelines 23
8.5 Resources and sustainability 24
8.6 Monitoring 24
8.7 Children and young people’s involvement 25
9. Evaluation Plan
9.1 Outcomes and indicators 25
9.2 Review 25
Appendix A: Stakeholder List 28
Appendix B: References 29
Appendix C: Play Consultation Findings 30
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During consultations with children, young people and families as part of the Local
Preventative Strategy, the lack of “somewhere safe to go and something to do” was a
Societal changes have meant that many children have less access to play and
recreational opportunities than ever before, yet evidence shows that quality play
experiences are vital to a child’s development. Locally, need was expressed for access
to the widest possible range of play opportunities in order to build confidence, raise self-
esteem and develop new skills.
The Every Child Matters Outcomes framework clearly identifies a role for play and
recreation across all five outcomes for children and young people. Local authorities will
be inspected on the contributions of services to children’s wellbeing and achievement, to
reducing social exclusion, reducing crime and health inequalities, and increased
involvement in decisions that affect them.
In Solihull, a commitment was made as part of the development of the Local
Preventative Strategy to make more play/leisure opportunities and experiences available
for children of all ages, particularly children and young people aged 8 and over.
1.1 Purpose & scope
This Strategy is a direct outcome of the Local Preventative Strategy consultation, and
was developed in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders (see Appendix A).
The vision, as reflected in both the Community Strategy and the Children and Young
People’s Plan is that Solihull is a place where well being, pride and quality of life are
enjoyed by all, a place where we value children, young people and family life and create
a brighter future for our children and young people.
The views of children and young people have been key to the development of the
strategy and action plan, and the portfolio of projects that will form the basis of the
investment from the Big Lottery and other funding streams.
Though the sSrategy addresses play opportunities for children and young people up to
the age of 19, the main focus of the strategy is to develop increased opportunities for
free open access play opportunities for 8-13 year olds.
1.2 Outline of content
The Strategy aims to provide a framework for the development of play provision in
Solihull from a fairly traditional base, mainly provided through fixed play equipment, and
through holiday playschemes provided on a fee basis to working parents.
It has been informed by a wide rage of research and local consultation, and builds on
the audit of current provision. The Strategy links to numerous other plans and
strategies, and includes an action plan for future priorities.
There are a number of benefits identified for Solihull in having a written Play Policy and
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• Ensure that quality play opportunities are viewed as a right for all children and young
people and regarded as an essential part of healthy development.
• Raise the profile of play in Solihull.
• Acknowledge that all partners at a strategic level value play.
• Be a useful document to link current strategies and services in a common
• Help map current provision, and the range of agencies involved, but also identify
• Ensure a common understanding across Solihull about what play is.
• Give a focus to community engagement with genuine involvement of children and
• Help to prioritise play development, particularly that requiring investment, in order to
be ready for funding opportunities as they arise.
1.3 Definition of play
Solihull has adopted the Children’s Play Council’s definition of play, as one which is
widely accepted in the playwork field.
“Play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrinsically motivated behaviour that
actively engages the child” (Children’s Play Council – Best Play 2000)
At a seminar for stakeholders on play in Solihull in April 2005, the following statements
were put forward to add to this definition: -
• Play should be local, assessable, safe and self determined.
• Play is what children do when not being told what to do by adults.
• Play is about freedom of choice, about fun and about friends.
• Play is instinctive in all of us, and individual.
A range of other reports and documents have also been used to inform this strategy,
and in particular, “Best Play – What play Provision Should do for Children “ (Appendix B)
2 The Case for Play
2.1 Value & significance of play for children and young people
Solihull has incorporated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 31, ratified by the UK government in 1991, which recognises:
o the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational
activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in
cultural life and the arts.
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o The right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and
shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for
cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities.
Play services in Solihull will promote the participation of all children and young people by
adopting the Solihull Children’s Trust Active Involvement Standards. These standards
are a local adaptation of the national Hear By Rights Standards, devised by the National
Youth Agency, to accommodate children and young people of all ages.
2.2 Contribution play makes to wider agenda
In October 2002, the Government commissioned a review of play, following an
announcement in June 2001 of New Opportunities Funding / The Big Lottery Fund of
£155 million strategic funding for children’s play in England, to improve play
opportunities for children and young people ages 0-16 from 2005/6 [Getting Serious
About Play: a review of Children’s Play DCMS 2004]
For the purpose of the review, play meant what children and young people do when
they follow their own ideas and interest, in their own way, and for their own
The review highlights concerns from parents that today’s children have fewer
opportunities for play than they did themselves. While wanting children to get more
physical exercise, parents are concerned about the safety of their children and are
reluctant to let them out of the house, citing fear of strangers and traffic as their main
concerns. Children and young people are also concerned about their safety, and their
main safety concerns are about bullying and traffic (Audit Commission/Mori Survey
The growing fear of litigation is also leaving play providers concerned to minimise the
chances of accidents, resulting in more play facilities which offer no challenge and
contribute little to child development, leaving some children to seek excitement in more
dangerous or anti social activities.
The review also acknowledges that for many years, play provision has been given a low
priority, mainly due to lack of resources as local authorities concentrate attention and
resources on statutory services. Like many local authorities Solihull did not have a
comprehensive local Play Strategy, and the focus has been almost exclusively on the
installation of standard fixed play equipment.
The last few years have seen a growing recognition of the need for more play
opportunities for children, and play is a key feature of both the Sure Start and the
Children’s Fund programmes. Play is also covered by the national standard for
childcare for children under 8, and reflected in the provision offered by childminders,
group based care for under fives, and in before and after school clubs and holiday
playschemes across the Borough.
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3.1 Play in local, regional & national contexts
The role of play across all five Every Child Matters Outcomes, as outlined in the
Children Act 2004, is widely acknowledged. There are clear links to children’s health and
emotional well being, with growing evidence that unstructured play is an effective way
for children to engage in physical activity, and to practice making and consolidating
friendships and to deal with conflicts. Good play provision gives children opportunities to
challenge themselves and develop self-reliance, encouraging risk taking in a way that
develops self-confidence. Play also promotes a strong sense of achievement, and is
vital to the development of the imagination. Good, supervised play provision also
promotes community wellbeing and cohesion.
Solihull Children and Young People’s Plan 2006-2009 is the overarching plan for all
associated policy and strategy relating to children and young people. It presents a
shared vision with all our Children’s Trust partners, including the Primary Care Trust and
the voluntary sector, that Solihull will be a place where well being, pride and quality of
life are enjoyed by all, a place where we value children young people and family life and
create a brighter future for our children and young people.
3.2 Profile of Solihull
Solihull is an excellent place to live and work, and people are proud to live here. There
are good economic prospects; green spaces and children enjoy good schools and
colleges. Residents enjoy good health and relatively low crime rates compared to
neighbouring areas, but not everyone enjoys these benefits.
The three wards in the north of the Borough (Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge
and Smith’s Wood) have a very different social and economic context and are within the
top 10% most deprived wards in the country. Residents in the north of the Borough tend
to be younger than those in the south, but have poorer prospects in terms of educational
attainment, employment opportunities, health and life expectancy.
It is important to acknowledge that there are also pockets of deprivation in other areas of
Solihull, for example the rural fringe has concerns such as limited local employment
opportunities, limited public transport and limited public services.
In Solihull, the 2001 census indicates that there are 51,356 children and young people
aged 0-19 years, just under a quarter of the total population.
Table 1: Solihull Children Population Projections (source Solihull Census)
Age group 1996 2001 2006
11,800 = 4% decrease on 1996 11,200 = 9% decrease on 1996
0-4 yrs 12300
13,000 = 4.5% decrease on 1996
5-9 yrs 13600 12500 = 8% decrease on 1996 figure
14,100 = 0.7% increase on 1996
10-14yrs 13100 13500 = 3% increase on 1996 figure
13,000 = 12% increase on 1996
15-19yrs 11600 12,200 = 5% increase on 1996 figure
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Table 2: The population distribution in relation to ward corresponds with these
3.3 Relevant local & national policy & strategy
For the population of Solihull, a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy childhood to
prevent ill health and disease in later life. A healthy lifestyle includes good childhood
nutrition commenced at birth, and this is supported through the three Phase 1
Children’s Centres and will be adopted by the eight centres being developed in Phase
2. Solihull is also exceeding its target for schools achieving Healthy School status,
which is a partnership between schools and health to promote a healthy lifestyle,
including both physical and emotional health.
In combination with good nutrition, physical activity directly influences health. Physical
activity provides an important vehicle for play and recreation, learning physical and
social skills, developing creative intelligence and stimulating growth and fitness. In
Solihull, children enjoy physical activity but active participation decreases with age,
particularly amongst girls. The Physical Activity Strategy for Solihull has an emphasis
on reducing health inequalities, bringing together all the key stakeholders in the local
authority and in health, as a framework for joint targets and joint approaches around
increasing physical activity, improving health and preventing obesity.
Solihull has a Play Area Strategy 2003 - 13, which aims to deliver a more even
distribution of play areas across Solihull, to meet the needs of children and young
people living in and visiting Solihull. The vision is “to create play areas in Solihull that are
welcoming, safe, attractive, accessible and meet the needs of children and young
people in a balanced and fair way across the Borough.” A stated aim is also to support
the Crime and Disorder Strategy and the Regeneration of North Solihull. The audit of
play areas identified 32 sites with children’s play equipment, most of which have evolved
over time, in parks recreation grounds and larger areas of open space. The play
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equipment caters mainly for those under 13 years old. While this is a comprehensive
strategy about play areas, it does not address wider issues about play, and was put
together before Every Child Matters was published.
Solihull is currently in the initial stages of a large regeneration project in the northern
wards which will impact housing, schools and open spaces. An early commitment to
develop more outdoor play and sports facilities in local areas is documented in the
North Solihull Strategic Framework 2005. Attention has been paid to play spaces in
the recent Home Zone scheme in Fordbridge, which will be stepping stone to future
collaborative working between Regeneration, Housing and play providers. Solihull
Community Housing support a child’s right to play within their own gardens and
neighbourhood and actively work with local partners to maintain public play spaces.
As part of the Green Spaces Strategy 2005, Solihull aims to provide attractive, high
quality accessible green spaces that are managed and developed to meet the diverse
needs of the community. The strategy process included a detailed audit of existing
green spaces, their features and facilities, and consultation with stakeholders. Priorities
for action included additional locally equipped areas for play, new provision for
teenagers including positive activities programmes and additional provision of Multi Use
Games Areas (MUGA) sites. Close work with local schools was also identified as a
priority, particularly the securing of community use and the development of school club
The Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire in Solihull found that bullying was
frequently cited as a problem and peaked in year 6. Recent developments have also
drawn attention to the anti-bullying needs in secondary school but we may only be
touching the surface level of bullying as unfortunately most victims suffer in silence.
Although most bullying typically takes place around the school day, in Solihull concerns
were raised about feeling unsafe in the presence of groups, particularly where there was
not a strong staff presence to monitor behaviour, for example, gangs in parks. A strategy
to address issues of bullying is currently in development.
Education is an important universal service for all children, young people and their
families. On the whole, Solihull schools achieve excellent results. Consequently schools
play a key part in delivering services for children and young people, with their role in the
achievement, prevention and protection agenda being crucial to ensuring that every
child matters. This will require combining effective school improvement with the
integration of universal services and the development of extended schools, where play
provision will be vital.
This will be particularly the case for young people living within the rural fringe of Solihull
who may face issues such as having limited leisure and recreational facilities which
potentially can be a factor in high drug use. Informal education can be beneficial in
promoting personal and social development, and is a key feature of detached youth
work in the Borough.
Access to wider social, cultural, leisure, play and learning opportunities are recognised
as a universal entitlement for all children, young people and their families in Solihull.
Local cultural facilities such as libraries, sports and leisure centres, theatres, parks and
community spaces provide a wide range of informal activities and resources are
accessed by all ages. These services are found to offer choice, freedom of expression
and support self-directed learning in ways that relate to the needs of local communities.
Clear links have been established with the play agenda and The Strategy for the Arts
in Solihull 2005-2010, to broaden the range of opportunities available for children and
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Work has been developed around a Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and
Young People, which gives consideration to issues about play, including the need for
more inclusive play opportunities. It also raises important questions about the need to
develop the workforce for the successful provision of play opportunities for children and
young people with additional needs.
In Solihull around 10% of children are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. A
significant BME group is Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), particularly
since 2002 as the Immigration Service regional Headquarters is based in the Borough.
Young people who are applying for asylum here and have no "prior link" with another
area in the UK are referred to Education and Children's Services as part of Solihull's
responsibility to assess needs and provide services for Children In Need in the area.
This presents particular challenges for Solihull in planning to meet the needs of a
diverse group of young people.
Solihull is a good place to live, work and visit, but locally residents are worried about
crime and anti-social behaviour. Youth crime harms communities, creates a culture of
fear and damages the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people. The Police
and Solihull MBC have set targets to reduce crime, the fear of crime, anti-social
behaviour and domestic violence. The need for diversionary activities away from
offending is clearly stated in the Crime and Disorder Strategy (2005-08) and presents
a opportunity to develop play.
At the heart of this are Solihull’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) and the Youth Inclusion
Support Panel (YISP). YOT and YISP are multi-agency teams comprising the police,
probation services, education and children’s services, health and substance misuse
working in a holistic way to reduce school exclusions, tackling anti social behaviour and
supporting behaviour improvement, factors in the lives of young people that may be
related to offending. Both YOT & YISP have key roles in identifying those young people
most at risk of drifting into criminality and in delivering targeted youth crime prevention
programmes and diversionary activities in partnership with relevant agencies including
Sports Development and the Youth Service, as part of the Crime Reduction Delivery
4 Review of Community Engagement
Community engagement is fundamental to the delivery of effective play services and is
actively supported by the Play Strategy Group. The concept and implementation of
participation / active involvement principles are promoted by all play partners. Support
is available to agencies to develop community engagement practice through the
Children’s Fund and the local authority Children’s Champion. As the Children’s Trust
develops standards for active involvement, all statutory, voluntary and independent
partners will be encouraged to develop their own practice.
Regarding the Play Strategy, engagement of children, young people and families has
been developed over the past 3 years with programme like Sure Start and Children’s
Fund providing the impetus for programmes to more equally and proactively involve
service users. A range of agencies have been actively consulting children, young people
and families about recreation and other issues through which community views about
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play has been. These documents were reviewed by a desk-top exercise. (see appendix
C). In particular, the Play Out Consultation (Extended Schools) from October 2005 until
spring 2006, enabled groups of children and young people to think and talk about play
opportunities in local area. The findings of this report will be used to inform future
outdoor, park provision and allocation of grant funding. Engagement with commonly
excluded groups has been possible through good voluntary sector links. In particular,
the views of children with disabilities and additional needs and traveller children have
4.2 Findings and conclusions
Consultation findings from a range of agencies into what children, young people and
families thought about existing play opportunities and their future wishes were reviewed
(appendix C). Overall, approximately 970 individuals were consulted. In particular, the
following documents have provided very pertinent information for shaping play provision:
Wish Box (Solihull Children’s Information Service 2004) Safer Stuff (Solihull Children’s
Fund 2004), Playing Out (Extended Schools 2005) and the Regeneration Fun Day
(Solihull Children’s Fund 2006).
It has been found that there is alot of concern about safe play in parks and open spaces
and a need for more interesting play equipment that has diminished their use. To
address this, many Solihull residents have suggested that more varied play equipment
be installed and safety be improved via increased police or warden presence. The need
for a greater variety of outdoor provision that engages children and young people,
particularly those aged 8 - 13 years has been identified. A gap in play provision that
delivers the to 3 Frees Principle was also highlighted as most current activity is
structured and required pre-registration and / or payment.
5 Local Provision Examined
5.1 Audit methodology
The need to develop better play and leisure opportunities in Solihull arose from
consultation for the Local Preventative Strategy in 2003 and has gathered momentum
through subsequent consultations.
Solihull Local Strategic Partnership published The State of the Borough in May 2005, as
an update of its Community Strategy, and identified the following in terms of public
facilities for children, families and young people; 34 play pitches, a rugby pitch, a cricket
pitch, seven skate parks, 32 play areas, the Arts Complex and 13 libraries all with free
access to ICT and the Internet.
An audit of local play provision was carried out in March ’06 by members of the Play
Strategy Group to determine what opportunities are available in relation to the 3 Free
Principle (free of cost, free to come and go, free to choose activity). This larger audit
drew upon existing audit information held by partner agencies. The following documents
were particularly useful: Play Area Strategy (SMBC Parks & Leisure 2003-2013);
Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and Young People (Solihull MBC 2005);
Children’s Information Services Database (SMBC); Physical Activity Strategy (Solihull
Primary Care Trust 2005); Green Spaces Strategy (SMBC 2005); Arts Plan Solihull
(SMBC 2004) and Children’s Voluntary Sector Forum.
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It has been recognised that a more detailed and updated audit of play opportunities that
encompasses all settings and potential users is required in the future. This need will be
taken to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership and other local authority
bodies to determine a way forward.
5.2 Audit findings
It was found that Solihull has a wide range of subsidised and fee paying organised sport,
dance and arts activity. Many private and independent providers offer fee paying
playschemes in school holidays, although these are often linked to childcare
arrangements. There is a range of voluntary uniform and church groups who offer
activity opportunities across the Borough. Extended Schools within north Solihull began
to develop after school, free play opportunities via Junior Youth Clubs in early 2005.
The Children’s Fund has funded playwork for disabled children and traveller children,
open air arts work and provided free summer playschemes. The local Sure Start
programme and later Children’s Centres offer some limited play opportunities for
families. The following tables summarise the available information about play and
activity opportunities across the borough.
Table 3: Summary of Solihull Play and Activity Opportunities (at March 2006)
Activity Number of providers
Performing Arts 21
Structured Play 51
Uniform & Church Groups 119
Table 4: Summary of Solihull Park and Open Space Play Spaces (at March 2006)
New DDA DDA
Play Play Access Access
Number Site Name Category Value Rating % Level
1 Babbs Mill NEAP 43% 3 - Medium 77% 2 High
2 Barn Lane Recreation Ground NEAP 32% 2 - Low 73% 2 High
3 Beechcroft Open Space NEAP 27% 2 - Low 66% 2 High
4 Bentley Heath Recreation Ground LEAP 55% 3 - Medium 93% 1 Very High
5 Bentley Heath Youth Area Youth Area 72% 4 - High 91% 1 Very High
6 Bluebell Recreation Ground NEAP 43% 3 - Medium 74% 2 High
7 Bluebell Skate Park Youth Area 61% 4 - High 84% 1 Very High
8 Brookside Recreation Ground LEAP 31% 2 - Low 74% 2 High
9 Burtons Farm NEAP 51% 3 - Medium 78% 2 High
10 Burtons Farm Youth Area Youth Area 72% 4 - High 99% 1 Very High
11 Chapelhouse Recreation Ground NEAP 32% 2 - Low 82% 1 Very High
12 Cole Bank Park LEAP 26% 2 - Low 66% 2 High
13 Colebrook Recreation Ground LEAP 32% 2 - Low 86% 1 Very High
14 Dickens Heath LEAP 38% 2 - Low 76% 2 High
15 Dorridge Park LEAP 30% 2 - Low 67% 2 High
16 Elmdon Coppice LEAP 32% 2 - Low 72% 2 High
17 Elmdon Heath Recreation Ground LEAP 32% 2 - Low 78% 2 High
18 Elmdon Park LEAP 36% 2 - Low 69% 2 High
19 Forth Drive NEAP 30% 2 - Low 61% 3 Medium
20 Hanbury Recreation Ground LEAP 37% 2 - Low 81% 2 High
21 Hermitage Road LEAP 32% 2 - Low 71% 2 High
22 Hillfield Park NEAP 32% 2 - Low 75% 2 High
23 Job Close Park LEAP 44% 3 - Medium 82% 1 Very High
24 Kingshurst Park LEAP 31% 2 - Low 60% 3 Medium
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25 Lanchester Park NEAP 28% 2 - Low 59% 3 Medium
26 Lavender Hall Park NEAP 47% 3 - Medium 79% 2 High
27 Lavender Hall Skate Park Youth Area 53% 3 - Medium 85% 1 Very High
28 Malvern Park NEAP 40% 2 - Low 73% 2 High
29 Marston Green NEAP 41% 3 - Medium 89% 1 Very High
30 Meriden Park NEAP 39% 2 - Low 63% 2 High
31 Meriden Skate Park Youth Area 50% 3 - Medium 89% 1 Very High
32 Mull Croft LEAP 36% 2 - Low 56% 3 Medium
33 Olton Jubilee Park NEAP 40% 2 - Low 71% 2 High
34 Palmers Rough LEAP 43% 3 - Medium 75% 2 High
35 Shirley Park NEAP 53% 3 - Medium 82% 1 Very High
36 Shirley Park Youth Area Youth Area 66% 4 - High 86% 1 Very High
37 Tudor Grange Park NEAP 41% 3 - Medium 84% 1 Very High
38 Tudor Grange Skate Park Youth Area 44% 3 - Medium 75% 2 High
39 Wells Walk LAP 45% 3 - Medium 90% 1 Very High
5.3 Analysis of provision relative to needs and population
The audit demonstrates that there is a few unstructured, free play opportunities in
Solihull as most provision is organised around specific art and sport activities or by
uniform groups. Most provision is provided by the voluntary and faith sectors who
therefore have an important role shaping future services. Sport activities are only
available to children over 8 years and attendance begins to decrease after 10 years.
This analysis corresponds well to the community engagement findings.
5.4 Management arrangements
Local provision is managed by a range of agencies, according the provider of the
service. These include the voluntary, independent and private sectors, Education and
Children’s Service Directorate and Community Services Directorate of the local
authority. The Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership is the forum for all
these agencies to determine common practice and future service delivery.
6 Play Statement
6.1 Play assumptions
Solihull has adopted a set of assumptions about play based on those within Best Play,
as these encompass evidence based research widely adopted by the play work sector.
In particular these help to present a set of statements which help to create a shared
understanding of what play is. The following extracts are cited to emphasis the local
commitment to these statements.
♦ Play is also described as follows: "Play can be fun or serious. Through play children
explore social, material and imaginary worlds and their relationship with them,
elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to the challenges they
encounter. By playing, children learn and develop as individuals, and as members of
♦ The impulse to play comes from within the child, and is intentional only in the sense
of being about what interests children themselves. This is the freedom which play
allows for children when the interests of others, especially those of the adult world,
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recede into the background. The intrinsic motivation of play, the fact that for children
play does not involve the pursuit of any external goal or reward raises challenges
when defining objectives for play provision, and especially when confronting the
issues of assessment and evaluation.
♦ Play often, though not always, implies a sense of fun for the child. But it can also be
serious, in two senses. The child may feel serious while playing, and/or the content
of the play may be serious, that is, not trivial or light-hearted. Much free play is
reflective. Play is as much in the approach as in the activity - a way of doing anything
♦ "The main characteristic of play - child or adult - is not its content, but its mode. Play
is an approach to action, not a form of activity". Jerome Bruner, quoted in Moyles
♦ Exploration is an important aspect of play, although it is not invariably present. A
child at play is often exploring, that is, testing out all kinds of assumptions and
theories about themselves, other people and the world. The child then responds to
the feedback gained by adjusting or confirming those assumptions and theories. It is
a process involving curiosity and creativity.
♦ "Play has been described as scientific research conducted by children". Hughes
(1996 and 1968) paraphrasing Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970).
♦ There is growing awareness of the complexity of the interaction between children
and playworkers, which depends on the worker's capacity to observe and respond to
play cues, so that play is extended without being distorted. A play cue is a request
for play or stimulation to the external world. This play cue decays over time, but if it
receives a response, the return from that interaction further stimulates the playing
mind, possibly resulting in more play cues being delivered, so continuing the play
cycle (Else and Sturrock 1998).
♦ Play is important to the child in providing an arena for behaviour that is not
overwhelmingly dominated by adult views and values. It is an important part of the
experience, which may look like mistakes or bad behaviour from other points of view,
from which children learn the appropriate behaviours for their own adulthood. Some
boundaries are required, but these need to be skilfully drawn and applied if the
benefits of play for the child are not to be eroded.
6.2 Play principles and values
Playworkers have developed a set of values and principles about children and play,
based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and on understandings about
play, which are stated clearly in Best Play. Solihull has adopted the following:
♦ Children’s Views
Children are "active in the construction and determination of their own social lives".
(Prout and James 1997). This has implications for playwork and for the development of
better play provision. The voice of the child, their opinions and reactions, should be
taken into account to the maximum degree consistent with health, safety and respect for
the needs of others.
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♦ Access to rich, stimulating environments
There is a poverty of play opportunities in the general environment, and it is the
responsibility of the community to ensure that all children have access to rich,
stimulating environments that are free from unacceptable risk, and thereby offer children
the opportunity to explore both themselves and the world, through their freely chosen
♦ Freedom to play
Children's freedom to play, and children's sense of freedom, needs to be preserved.
Many pressures increasingly dominate the lives of children in the UK. Public fears about
safety, including the threat from traffic and from other people, lead many parents to
restrict their children's freedom to play and get around on their own. Commercial
interests intrude into children's lives through targeted marketing and advertising
campaigns. Religious and cultural organisations believe that theirs is the right mould
with which to shape children. Educational policies and practice take a curriculum-
centred approach that places increasing demands on children's time and energies in
pursuit of educational attainment, and constrains their free time.
♦ Equal Entitlement
Every child, irrespective of gender, background, cultural or racial origin or individual
ability should have equal access to good play opportunities.
♦ Respect for Children
Children should feel confident that the adults involved in play welcome and value them
♦ Children’s Abilities
The child’s control of their own play activity is a crucial factor in enriching their
experience and enhancing their learning and development. Adults need to recognise
that play is something children do very well on their own.
♦ Play for its own sake
As the definition states, play is intrinsically motivated. Hence there should be no task or
product required of the play by those not engaged in it. However, adults may need to
support children in creating and determining their own goals and outcomes.
♦ The importance of risk
Play is a key element in children learning to appreciate, assess and take calculated
risks, which is fundamental to the development of confidence and abilities in childhood.
Children seek out opportunities for risk taking and it is the responsibility of play provision
to respond with exciting and stimulating environments that balance risks appropriately.
♦ The adult role in play
Whereas children may play without encouragement or help, adults can significantly
enhance the opportunities for a child to play creatively through the provision of an
appropriate human and physical environment.
♦ Adult responsiveness
Children can sometimes unleash powerful feelings, in themselves or in their companions
through their play. The process often has valuable cathartic or therapeutic effects but
can also be disturbing. Children are entitled to expect that adults involved in play
provision will understand and be responsive to cues that they may be in need of comfort
or reassurance as a result of their play.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 14
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 13
6.3 Links with wider strategic documents
In Solihull, play is valued as a key component to all of the 5 Every Child Matters
outcomes and the sixth local outcome of access to services promoted by the Children’s
Trust. The links between play and wider strategy is detailed in section 3.3.
7 Local Standards
7.1 Explanation of standards proposed
Current play provision works towards a range of standards determined by the service
provider and legislation they operate within. This includes OfSTED and ISO. The Play
Strategy Group has agreed that the Best Play Objectives will form an additional
standard for providers to work towards. These objectives are:
• The provision extends the choice and control that children have over their play,
the freedom they enjoy and the satisfaction they gain from it.
• The provision recognises that child’s need to test boundaries and responds
positively to that need.
• The provision manages the balance between the need to offer risk and the need
to keep children safe from harm.
• The provision maximises the range of play opportunities
• The provision fosters independence and self esteem.
• The provision fosters children’s respect for others and offers opportunities for
• The provision fosters the child’s well being, healthy growth and development,
knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn.
Existing providers will be encouraged to incorporate these standards into their practice
and use them to evaluate their provision. New providers will be advised to adopt these
standards from the beginning. The Early Years and Childcare Service will actively
promote these standards during quality assurance visits to providers and during training.
The 3 Frees principles will also be promoted so that each settings considers how it can
incorporate being free of charge, that children are free to come and go and free to
choose what they want to do.
7.2 Quality assurance
Quality assurance of current play provision is determined by the Early Years & Childcare
Service for statutory, voluntary and private providers within early years, childcare and
playwork. The quality of staff working in play settings is ensured through ongoing
training and continual self assessment. Training for qualification in Take 5 and Take 10
for Play is provided and is recognised by OfSTED. All staff are recommended to use the
Out of School Observation and Assessment Systems to improve their own practice and
so the play experiences on offer. Solihull also has trained assessors in Aiming Higher
for Children – 4 Children. All settings are required to demonstrate that they are working
towards relevant quality assurance standards or aiming towards accreditation.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 15
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 14
Quality of service for older young people is assured via the Youth Service Hear By Right
Standards, OfSTED framework and Youth Service Pledge. Play and leisure
opportunities provided by Connexions are similarly assured. The Leisure Service use
ISO, QUEST (UK quality scheme for sports & leisure) and TAES (Towards An Excellent
Service) measures to assure their provision. This is internally and externally regulated.
Playschemes run in leisure centres are covered by OfSTED standards. Voluntary sector
providers also register with OfSTED as required and can access Early Years and
Childcare support to maximise quality assurance.
All staff working with children and young people within the statutory and voluntary
sectors have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check to ensure that they have no
offences that would bar them from playwork. The Equality Standard for local
government will be promoted and all services requested to implement this framework by
undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment.
Play equipment in parks and public spaces are quality assured using the National
Playing Field Association standards. The play value of each play area is assessed. An
audit of provision to Disability Discrimination Act criteria has just been completed. Park
staff with responsibility for the safety of play area equipment are appropriately qualified
in inspection and maintenance in line with International Register of Play Inspectors.
It is proposed that in the future, the Play Value Scoring Sheet (Neighbourhood Play
Toolkit 2006) will be used to assess new play provision and then rolled out to existing
play provision. This will be done in conjunction with other quality assurance models.
7.3 Risk management
The risk within the Play Strategy will be managed by the Play Strategy Group with
appropriate support from the local authority. The external funding team will assist in risk
management of grant funding for play provision via the local authority. In the voluntary,
independent and private sector, risk is managed via the individual provider with support
from Early Years and Childcare and Children’s Voluntary Sector Forum.
Comprehensive risk management training is provided by the local authority for statutory
and voluntary partners.
At an operational level, it is acknowledged that a blame culture and fear of litigation has
lead to over cautiousness resulting in some play facilities offering no challenge and little
contribution to child development. This will leave some children to seek excitement in
more dangerous or anti social activities. The need for children and young people to
experience thrilling play and take risks for the benefit of their development is understood
as a play principle and providers are encouraged to review the activities they offer and
incorporate more challenging opportunities if required. This type of provision can be
provided within health and safety limits and training around risk assessment is being
continually developed. During risk assessments, all services will be encouraged to
consider the benefit to the child of the activity alongside the likelihood and impact of an
accident or injury.
7.4 Workforce development
All staff in Solihull who work with children and young people are able to access core
training in child protection, First Aid, Inclusion Awareness and safeguarding. A range of
more specific courses are also available through the local authority Training and
Development Unit. Training for playwork qualifications is available through Solihull
College or Early Years and Childcare Service. These opportunities are equally available
to the voluntary and community sector in addition to their own existing learning
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 16
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 15
opportunities. The Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce
requires that local authorities develop a local workforce plan. This gives scope for
additional training and accreditation of play staff.
Local authority staff, who work outside the Education and Children’s Service Directorate
but have direct contact with children and young people can also access local training.
Therefore the park ranger workforce, within Community Services, have been able to
participate in training about engaging with children and young people.
Local expertise in outdoor play is being enhanced by Forest School developments that
began in January 2006. This outdoor approach to learning in a woodland environment
using local leaders will provide a resource to provide outdoor play opportunities.
Similarly, expertise from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme can be utilised for staff
development in challenging, outdoor settings.
8 Action Plan
8.1 Criteria for identifying priorities for development
In May 2005, the Children’s Fund and Early Years and Childcare Service hosted two
workshops for a range of local partners to discuss the theory of play, local provision and
priorities for action. The Play Strategy Group emerged from key stakeholders at these
events. The following priorities were jointly agreed by local stakeholders and approved
by the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership in October 2005.
Action 1: Raise the profile of play in Solihull.
Action 2: Involve children, young people and parents in planning to create new,
challenging and exciting play opportunities for children.
Action 3: Ensure that play opportunities for children and young people are genuinely
inclusive, and promote equality and diversity.
Action 4: Ensure that information on play provision is accurate, up to date, and easily
accessible for children, young people and parents.
Action 5: Involve a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies in developing
approaches for promoting the health, safety and well being of children and young people
Action 6: Particular focus be given to 5-11 year olds.
Action 7: Consideration of long term sustainability of play opportunities as part of any
The group used a logic modelling framework to develop an outcome orientated action
plan for play services for an 18 month period. This plan will then be updated by the Play
Strategy Group annually commencing in March 2007. The action plan can be viewed in
Play Play Strategy 2006
Solihull Solihull Strategy And Action Plan 17 Page 16
Table 5: Action Plan for October 2005 – March 2007
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
1 Raise the profile Children and adults Drama presentation Environmental Identify existing Host 2 play Spring 06
of play in from all sectors will to groups/meetings Maintenance budgets celebration
Solihull understand what i.e. Making Choices Community Health available i.e. events
play is and its presentation by Workers within Council.
importance for Purple Monster Councillors
children Local MPs Well trained Programme of Programme by
Provide Early Years & motivated staff Play Training in Jan 06
free/subsidised Childcare committed to place Accredited by
playwork training Education & play in a variety Jan 07
Children’s Services of venues
Run Open Access Voluntary Sector Open access July & Aug ’06
play and provide Children’s Fund Detached play during
information about Libraries & Lifelong workers and school holidays
play. Learning play workers to
Leisure Services visit sites/areas
Invite Cabinet Community Safety Disseminate Nov 05
Member for Children and strategy and Update June 06
Education and Young People action plan via
Children’s Services CYPSP
to relevant meetings
and activities/keep Reference play Dec 2005
informed. strategy in
Play Strategy Group Plan
includes range of Play Strategy From Nov 05
partners Group meets Review Nov 06
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 18
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 17
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
1 Raise the profile 5% of play facilities Take children to Environmental Safe spaces for Maintain existing 51 Ongoing
of play in will demonstrate 3 other provision to Maintenance indoor and structured play
Solihull Free principle broaden their Community Health outdoor play settings
Play opportunities Councillors Play providers Develop 6 new op / Jan 07
will be well Provide open Local MPs access settings
promoted access and Early Years & A range of play
throughout the restricted play to Childcare equipment both Scrapstore/resource
Borough raise public Education & static, bank established March 07
awareness of Children’s temporary
All children & different types of Services Voluntary shelters and Application
young people will play. Sector consumables submitted to Big Nov 06
have a choice of Children’s Fund Lottery
appropriate, Develop a Libraries & Play
inclusive play Scrapstore for play Lifelong Learning Development Quarterly meetings
provision within 1 providers Leisure Services Workers with Regeneration From Oct 05
mile of home in Community Safety partners
urban area and 5 Apply to Big Lottery Children and Permanent
miles in rural area – funding Young People Play posts – Participate in north
announced full and part Solihull Visioning Dec 05
September 2005 time Day
Engage with CIS Deliver Forest
Regeneration about School pilot July 06
Develop Forest meetings for March 06
School Pilot summer providers Review Oct 06
Use of variety of Produce of summer
tools i.e. 4U2Do booklet June 06
Summer Booklet to Continued updates
promote summer on 4 U 2 do
Play website. Ongoing
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 19
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 18
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
2 Involve children, Children, young Consultation with Play workers and Equipment, Review existing Dec 05
young people people and families parents and children other frontline staff venue, consultation
and parents in are fully engaged in refreshments reports
planning to developing and Review existing Children’s and for consultation
reviewing play consultation reports Parent Involvement 2 new Jan 06
opportunities at from ECM Officer Staff salaries consultations June 06
challenging and 75% of settings consultations for children held
exciting play Transport
opportunities. A core group of 6 Play workshops for Parents and 0-19
service users work parents for parents yr olds Facilitator costs 1 workshop Oct 06
with the Play to revisit own play carried out
Strategy Group experiences Children’s Fund Time from play
strategy group 3 play taster Dec 05
Play taster sessions Play Development members sessions held April 06
and visits to new Worker (1per term) July 06
play facilities for
Information Service Evaluation built Ongoing
Children and parents into all provision
review and evaluate
2 detached Summer 06
Detached style consultations
consultation with carried out
children and young
people. Audit of Sept 06
Audit involvement age & provider
for statutory and
Core group Jan 07
Establish service trained and
user core group operational
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 20
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 19
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
3 Ensure that play All children and Settings implement Existing staff who Parental Portfolio of Spring 06
opportunities for young people recommendations offer play and staff knowledge of good practice
children and access and enjoy from consultation for inclusion. inclusion needs disseminated
young people play provision of their children
Formalised inclusive All children and Checklist in
All children and play training, looking young people. Budget for place for self Jan 06
inclusive young people state at work in a variety of training. and peer
that they have settings. Support workers to assessment of
ownership of ensure equal Support phys & cultural
provision they use Build up a portfolio of access. workers – more environment
good practice of in each setting,
inclusive play Parents not necessarily Equality Impact
activities specialist assessment on
Audit the physical & Outreach work
cultural environments to (target) 40% settings
of provision groups have audited December 06
Individual providers Identify provision
publish their inclusion materials /
policy equipment to Training
facilitate programme in Jan 06
Training for staff on inclusion place
disabilities and 5 open access
specific additional settings Jan 07
needs in a setting i.e. demonstrate
behaviour, language inclusion of
Survey children &
young people about Carry out March 07
ownership survey 40%
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 21
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 20
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
4 Ensure that All children and Ongoing consultation Children’s Pooled CIS publish Each quarter
information on young people with parents, children Information promotional findings from
play provision know where and and young people on Service budgets across consultation
is accurate, up how to access play information format and agencies
provision in location. Libraries
to date, and
Solihull according Allocated Review
easily to their individual Continued development Existing and new marketing structure and Dec 05
accessible for need and locality & promotion of 4U2do providers budget content of
children, young website including 4u2do website
people and Children, young officer time for
parents Continued production of people and website, Easter activity
summer activities booklet parents publication booklet March 06
and extension into print materials published
plan for consistent plan March 06
promotion across areas operational
Survey local residents Carry out March 07
about their knowledge of public survey in
play facilities north, central &
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 22
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 21
Action Action Outcomes Activities Partners Resources Target Milestone
5 Involve a wide Play provision will Map current Existing play Conference Directory of
range of be increased by provision providers costs provision January 06
statutory and 10% and reshaped available on
voluntary by providers Identify and engage New potential Dedicated time One Voice
offering 1 more with agencies partners. e.g. to map current website.
outdoor activity currently not • Highways and potential
developing play involved with play • Regeneration providers Play strategy Nov 05
to promote strategy • Police circulated to all
health, safety • Youth Time to agencies
and wellbeing of Presentations to Offending research
children and potential partners Team effective Play celebration Spring 06
young people • Church/uniform practice event
Conference for groups
Solihull 5 meeting held Sept 06
Stakeholders Conference with 5 new
practice nationally Children’s Fund 1 Solihull Play May 06
and locally conference
Play Strategy organised
Develop a play bank Research Each quarter
of sessional staff Forest School staff trends feedback
who would be to Play Strategy
available to support Group
Feasibility April 06
Forest School staff exercise for
to advise play sessional bank
Forest School Feb 07
staff visit 10%
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 23
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 22
8.2 Play settings
The audit findings of play provision have detailed the number and broad categories of play
provision available. More specifically, Solihull currently offers play opportunities in the
following range of settings:
• Day Care Nurseries
• Parent & Toddler Groups
• Child Minders
• Pre-school and Playgroups
• Holiday Play Schemes
• Open Access play
• Extended schools under 13s clubs
• After School clubs
• Before school provision
• Playwork in hospital
• Provision for children with additional needs
• Leisure centres
• Private commercial play venues
• Youth Provision
• Children’s Play Areas
• Parks and Open Green Spaces
A range of partners from the statutory, voluntary and private sectors manage these
settings. The identified gaps in current provision are for open access and outdoor play
8.3 Play development
Solihull MBC has one play development worker for Extended Schools. This post is funded
by three partners; Extended Schools, Early Years & Childcare Service and the Children’s
Fund. A second play development worker is employed by Northern Star, a voluntary
sector partner. In addition to these specific development posts, other childcare staff in a
range of settings have play qualifications and responsibility for developing play work in
their local setting.
The Director for Education and Children’s Services volunteered to be the Play Champion
at the Solihull Play Conference in June 2006. This will add credibility to the strategic
direction of the play agenda. It is envisaged that as the profile of play is raised nationally
and locally, that additional investment will be allocated to play development work to
expand the range of current provision and reshape existing provision.
The current strategy is a three year document with a focused action plan for the first 18
months from October 2005 – March 2007. This initial period will synchronise the action
plan to the financial year after which it will be reviewed annually to allow frequent scrutiny
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 25
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 23
8.5 Resources & sustainability
The majority of current play provision is grant funded through the local authority. In
particular the Sure Start, Children’s Fund, Extended Schools and Standards Fund grants
financially support alot of settings. Core funding from the local authority is available to the
Environmental Maintenance Department for the management of play equipment in parks.
The voluntary sector has been successful in bringing in a range of funding from the Big
Lottery, Children in Need, Community Safety and other financiers to resource play
opportunities. Some of this provision is also revenue based as services users pay a small
fee. A small number of private companies have been able to run a totally self financing
provision in the area.
The sustainability of provision that is reliant on short term grant streams is an issue that
the Play Strategy Group identified and raised with the local authority. The elected member
for Children and Young People has been involved in this debate and is an active
spokesperson for additional core funding for play. The Director of Education and
Children’s Services’ acceptance of the role of Play Champion should also ensure
longevity. The external funding team are involved in managing this inherent risk. It is
envisaged that a target in the future Local Area Agreement will aid sustainability and raise
the profile of play.
Play provision is performance managed by each individual provider according to their
agency’s criteria. As the majority of current provision is funded through Early Years &
Childcare, Extended Schools or the Children’s Fund, it is subject to standard national
monitoring criteria with an established reporting system. Representatives from these
providers are members of the Play Strategy Group, which aims to coordinate provision and
collate monitoring data of the number of children and young people accessing services.
Individual providers will be requested to send a copy of their existing monitoring data to the
The Play Strategy Group reviews monitoring information and the current play action plan
every 6 months and reports to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership. The
Service Director for Social Regeneration and Learning Strategy provides strategic
oversight for play services in Early Years and Extended Schools within the local authority.
The Community Services Directorate, which manages the parks department, has strategic
oversight for the outdoor parks projects and service user data. The relevant thematic
groups of the Local Strategic Partnership is kept informed of play developments and
strategic input provided as necessary.
Operationally, new projects will be required to complete quarterly monitoring data on the
frequency and demographics of service use. This will more reliably monitor use of play
settings and trial a system that is consistent across funders and agencies that can be used
by all projects in the future.
An annual play conference for all stakeholders will be hosted. This event will be the vehicle
for disseminating the findings and lessons learnt from the Play Strategy and showcase
good practice. Other formats for sharing information, such as a child friendly magazine or
DVD for assemblies will be developed.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 26
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 24
8.7 Children and young people’s involvement
The Play Strategy Group is committed to the active involvement of children, young people
and parents in the design and delivery of services. The profile of participation amongst
local partners will be raised through training events, direct support to agencies by the
Children’s Fund participation team and the local authority Children’s Involvement &
Development Officer. Involvement will go beyond consultation to include children in
recruiting staff, evaluating provision, reviewing the strategy and advising on future direction
of services. It is proposed that a core group user group made up of approximately 6 – 8
children, young people or parents be established to work alongside the Strategy Group to
jointly steer the strategy and operation.
The commitment of Solihull MBC to the involvement of children and young people is
clearly stated in the Children and Young People’s Participation Proposal and Action Plan.
The Children’s Trust Business Plan also clearly outlines plans for continued involvement
with children and young people, to which play services will contribute.
9 Evaluation Plan
9.1 Outcomes and indicators
An evaluation framework for the strategy and individual projects with specific outcome
indicators has been developed following the model proposed by Barnardo’s and the
National Children’s Bureau. The projects will use primary data (interviews, observation,
groupwork) and secondary data (minutes, session recording) to determine how far
outcomes have been reached. As service user involvement is fundamental to all children’s
services in Solihull, children, young people and their families will be part of this process.
This evaluation framework will be rolled out to new play providers, so that outcomes can
be measured in a consistent way across settings. This information will contribute to the
Borough’s Annual Performance Assessment and Joint Area Review.
Table 6, on the following page, shows the outcome indicator template that will be trialled
by existing and new projects.
The play strategy and action plan will be reviewed annually by the Play Strategy Group
and reported to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership. Children, young
people and parents will be part of this process. A report from each project about outcome
attainment and service user data will be required every 6 months, at the mid and end of
year, which will inform the action plan review.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 27
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 25
Table 6: Solihull Play Indicators and Outcomes
Priority action Input indicator Output indicator Outcome indicator
1. Raise the profile of play in Meetings and presentations to various Stakeholders have heard / seen play People understand what play is
Solihull stakeholders. presentations. (across schools/council etc) and the
Free / subsided training. Training sessions attendance. importance of play for children
Play staff talk to parents. Family & community representatives
Children’s Information Service. have received play information &
Cabinet reports. recognise its value.
Minutes of cabinet
Staff and transport to enable CYP to CYP have visited variety of play Improved play facilities/children’s
visit a range of play environments. settings. spaces in Solihull
Open & restricted access play Different types of play provided. 5% of play facilities will demonstrate 3
provided. Funding streams secured. Free principle
Funding information received. Working relationship with
Contact made with regeneration regeneration established
Children’s Information Service. Children, young people & families Play opportunities will be well
Website know what play opportunities are promoted throughout the Borough
Telephone helpline available.
Paper publications Practitioners aware of play
Survey of users opportunities.
Play provision clearly visible around
Open & closed access provision. Provision accessible for common All children & young people will have
Range of providers. interest groups, e.g. Disabled CYP, a choice of appropriate, inclusive play
Range of physical settings travellers provision within 1 mile of home in
urban area and 5 miles in rural area
2. Involve children, young Participation staff Consultation events Children, young people and families
people and parents in Capacity building for service users. Evaluation findings. are fully engaged in developing and
planning to create new, Services have set periods for Settings implement findings. reviewing play opportunities at 75% of
challenging and exciting play consultation. Service users on management group settings
opportunities. Visit to different types of provision of settings
outside Solihull A core group of 6 service users work
with the Play Strategy Group
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 28
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 26
Priority action Input indicator Output indicator Outcome indicator
3. Ensure that play Training Settings have clear inclusive All children and young people access
opportunities for children and Budget for equipment or reshaping principles and demonstrate and enjoy play provision
young people are genuinely provision. implementation.
inclusive Staff values. Range of users All children and young people state
Service users report positive that they have ownership of provision
ownership they use
4. Ensure that information on Children’s Information Service. Accurate website, telephone and All children and young people know
play provision is accurate, up Provider’s service updates. paper information. where and how to access play
to date, and easily Providers & users report that they provision in Solihull according to their
accessible for children, know about provision. individual need and locality.
young people and parents
5. Involve a wide range of Communication with providers Staff are trained in active Play provision will be increased by
statutory and voluntary Training involvement, risk management, health 10% and reshaped by providers
agencies in developing play Children’s voluntary Sector forum & safety offering 1 more outdoor activity
to promote health, safety and
wellbeing of children and
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 29
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 27
Appendix A: Stakeholder List
Name Position Agency
Helen Jackson Manager Children’s Fund
Teresa Scragg Manager Early Years & Childcare
Andrea Baker Manager Children’s Information &
Pam Yates Development Officer Early Years & Childcare
Kat Fishwick Arts Development Officer SMBC
Natalie Goulding Out of School Hours Learning Co- SMBC
Ken Phillips Leisure Service Development SMBC
Linda Davies Development Officer Chelmsley Wood Sure Start
Ruth Shand Policy Officer – Extended Schools SMBC
Pete Roberts Play Development Worker Northern Star
Sharon Cheesley Community Development Officer Kinshurst Children’s Centre
Andy Cox-Peel Support Worker On Track
PC Patel Police Constable Solihull Police
PC Ballard Police Community Support Solihull Police
Lorraine Baldwin LOCAN coordinator Solihull SNAP
Carol Beddows Manager Chuckles Nursery
Alan Michell Principal Officer Youth Service
Carole Da Costa Children’s Trust Officer SMBC
Tim Oruye Participation Worker Children’s Fund
Katell Kerampran PAYP personal advisor Connexions
Stephen Dawes Play Development Worker Extended Schools
Wendy Jeffries Health Promotion Specialist Solihull PCT
Emma Sibbing Play & Horticultural Officer SMBC
John Freeman Play Lead Birmingham Children’s Fund
Dave Dunkley Headteacher Coleshill Heath School
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 30
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 28
Appendix B: References
Ask Us : Involving and informing disabled children and young people in planning and using
open spaces. The Children’s Society, April 2004
Best Play: What Play Provision Should Do for Children
Published by the National Playing Fields Association, March 2000
Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce. Department for
Education and Skills, April 2005
Crime and Disorder Strategy (2005-08). Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 2005
Getting Serious About Play: A Review of Children’s Play
Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2004
Green Spaces Strategy. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 2005
Guide to Preparing Play Strategies: Planning Inclusive Play Spaces and Opportunities for
all London’s Children and Young People
Greater London Authority -The Mayor of London, April 2005
ISBN 1 852617284
Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and
Primary Care Trust 2004
Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and Young People, Solihull Metropolitan Borough
North Solihull Strategic Framework. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, 2005
Physical Activity Strategy. , Solihull Primary Health Care Trust, 2005
Play in Co-ordinated Children’s Services – A Briefing for Directors of Children’s Services
and Lead Members for Children
Children’s Play Council, June 05
Teenagers “need more to do”. Audit Commission with Mori 2001
The Strategy for the Arts in Solihull 2005-2010. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Adopted by UK Government in
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 31
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 29
Appendix C: Play Consultation Findings
Every Child Matters, Local Preventative Strategy 2003
Two themed days for children and young people about their response to the Every Child
Matters paper which informed the local authority’s Local Preventative Strategy.
Universal consultations were held in all primary and secondary schools and specific
agencies undertook targeted consultations with their user groups. 300 children and young
people were reached by during the latter process. A clear finding was that there was a lack
of somewhere safe to go and something to do. This early evidence indicates that a lack of
play provision was already recognised.
Children’s Fund, February 2004
A themed participation day about “what would you like to change about where you live”
was held with 47 children and young people aged between 8 –13 years. It was found that
the majority of the group felt that parks needed to be better looked after to reduce
vandalism. The group felt that new and more challenging equipment was needed in parks,
for example a skate park and go kart track.
Parent’s Panel, April 2004
The Kingshurst parent’s group (16 members), who form part of the Children’s Fund
Steering group, looked into the feasibility of running a playbus to provide play opportunities
in north Solihull area. This was in response to their own and other parent’s concerns
about a lack of free, easily accessible play opportunities in the area. The playbus would
provide a mobile play service across the area, in open spaces or school and community
sites, that would be more flexible that current provision to meet family needs.
Children’s Information Service, May 2004
Young people held their own consultation with children and young people attending the
CIS Information Roadshows. They used a Wish Box into which participants posted their
wishes for a better life. Overall 174 children and young people were consulted. A quarter of
those consulted expressed personal wishes about wanting more friends. 60% had wishes
that related to their neighbourhoods. Many requested more play spaces although there
was no clear consensus about specific details. Comments ranged from more parks, parks
closer to home or adventure play areas. The need to feel safer and safe from bullying and
vandalism in open spaces was also frequently cited.
Safer Stuff Consultation, June 2004
The Children’s Fund and On Track teams arranged a two day roadshow to promote
personal safety and carry out a questionnaire consultation about safety and opportunities
in local area. Overall, 549 children and young people took part. No data about age or
gender was collected. When asked what activities young people would like to see more of
in their local area, the three priorities were better sports facilities, more youth clubs /
playschemes and improved parks.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 32
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 30
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, February 2005
To provide local play facilities in response to local needs. To reflect the needs of old and
young children as well as more robust spaces for use by young adults for more extreme
recreational pursuits like skate park or biking.
Children’s Fund Participation Day, October 2005
23 children aged between 8 – 13 years attended a 2 day play event and had the
opportunity to meet with a local police officer about community safety. The findings from
this meeting included acknowledgement of playing fields and parks for outdoor play.
However, concerns about safety in these spaces was raised and a greater police presence
The Children’s Society, 2005
The “Ask Us” consultation was carried out by disabled children and young people from the
Shared Care project. They visited outdoor play areas to determine whether children with
physical and sensory disabilities could use the equipment. They successfully lobbied
Solihull Parks for more wheelchair accessible parks equipment.
Children’s Fund for Extended Schools, Spring 2005
Children’s Fund staff consulted with children in 5 local primary schools, through the school
council mechanism, about play and activity in local area and school sites.
Save the Children, March 2005
A development worker from Save the Children carried out a needs analysis with the
traveller community in Solihull for 12 months to determine their play and recreation needs.
37 children from 20 families were consulted. It was found that these children and young
people were geographically isolated and requested support to access sport & play facilities
during school holiday periods. This theme has remained consistent in 2006 as the
Children’s Fund have continued contact with the traveller community.
Extended Schools Playing Out, October 2005
55 children and young people (26 male, 29 female) aged between 7 and 18 years visited
adventure play areas outside of Solihull to widen their experience of play areas and so be
better prepared to express a preference on current and future provision in Solihull. The
young people used a camera to photograph the play equipment they liked best. The five
most popular pieces of equipment were:
Platforms and structures
Whole adventure playground area and its variety of landscape and activity
Regeneration Consultation, June 2006
Approximately 30 children and young people joined in an open air consultation held on
Babb’s Mill park about play facilities at that site. This group was particularly concerned
with safety in park and how play equipment could be kept safe from vandals. More
challenging play equipment was requested, as opposed to more organised activities and
improved safety via increased police presence.
Solihull Play Strategy 2006 33
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan Page 31