Research and Resources

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The following are resources and research that cover risk, challenge and play.

Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide - David Ball, Tim Gill and Bernard Spiegal (Play England, 2013). This guide builds on the Play Safety Forum's position statement, Managing Risk in Play Provision (2002). This guide is written for those responsible for managing play provision, and for those involved in designing and maintaining such provision.

Risk-Benefit Assessment Form (blank form) - produced by the Play Safety Forum and co-authored by Professor David Ball, Tim Gill and Bernard Spiegal (2014). is an easy-to-use tool to support play providers to balance the benefits of an activity with any inherent risk, taking into account the risks while recognising the benefits to children and young people of challenging play experiences. It will be invaluable for all those who manage spaces and settings in which children play, and for those involved in designing and maintaining them. It is based on Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide

The Risk-Benefit Assessment Form is also available as a worked example based on a tree swing. 

Managing Risk in Play Provision (2002) is a position statement produced by the Play Safety Forum, a group of national organisations concerned about risk in play that puts the issue in context, explains the benefits of risk taking, and clarifies some of the points that many play providers find difficult.

Children’s Play and Leisure: promoting a balanced approach (2012) the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) High Level Statement promotes a balanced approach to managing risk in children's play. The statement emphasises that when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and the benefits – no child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool.

No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society (Tim Gill, 2007) argues that childhood is being undermined by the growth of risk aversion and its intrusion into every aspect of children's lives.

Play for a Change: Play, Policy and Practice: A review of contemporary perspectives - Stuart Lester and Wendy Russell (2008). This provides a detailed analysis of research and literature published since 2001 that underpins contemporary understandings of the importance of play and how this relates to social policy and practice.

How to Live Dangerously:why we should all stop worrying, and start living (2008) by Warwick Cairns is an amusing and accessible read that presents useful statistics as memorable stories. It will provide a useful context for anyone who finds themselves arguing for children's play.

The risk benefit toolkit (2013) Bath and North East Somerset Council has produced the toolkit to support other organisations and people working with children to make effective judgements on what the real risks are to children when they play and how to manage them.

Myth of the Month is a useful resource on the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) website.

Simple pleasures - Ben Tawil writes about his 'risky' play experiences as a child. This article was published in the Winter 2007 issue of the Play for Wales magazine.


Play Wales has also published:

A playworkers guide to risk -  written by Simon Bazley this information sheet explores providing a balanced approach to risk management in play settings by using the widely supported risk-benefit assessment approach. It also explores the current legislation and support from a wide range of sources, as well as looking at some of the current playwork theory that supports playworkers to practice as effectively as we can to extend and enhance children’s opportunities to play. It's aimed at playworkers, but is also useful for anyone with a responsibility for providing opportunities for children to play. 

Dynamic risk management of common but potentially hazardous play behaviours - written by Mike Barclay, Simon Bazley and Dave Bullough. This guidance paper provides a summary of a detailed risk-benefit assessment that considers common but potentially hazardous play behaviours displayed by children during staffed play sessions. 

Play - the importance of risk - Spring 2016 issue of Play for Wales magazine. This issue includes: Guest Editorial by Chair of the Play Safety Forum, Robin Sutcliffe; Making health and safety ‘child’s play’ – Judith Hackitt, CBE, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); Play and resilience – Professor Angie Hart; Risky play for all children – Ally John; Emotional risk and benefit; Wales’ year of adventure – Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism; A study: UK and Germany outdoor play opportunities – Ellen Weaver.

Play and risk - written by Tim Gill, the information sheet aims to set out why a balanced, thoughtful approach to managing risks in children’s play is needed. It also aims to give an overview of risk-benefit assessment, which is widely accepted as a suitable approach.

Let us out of the bubble wrap: how adults can support children's need for risky play

Safety, health and play - an article by Professor David Ball published in the Winter 2007 issue of our magazine, Play for Wales.


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