BTHA research says school play-time being eroded

Parents feel children's playtime is being limited at primary school to the detriment of academic progress.
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The BTHA and Play England, which commissioned the survey ahead of children going back to school this week, also found that 74 per cent of parents in the UK feel that schools are too concerned with health and safety to allow kids to have traditional ‘rough and tumble' play which is so important for social and physical development.

Over 85 per cent of parents believe that playtime at school can improve children's learning. However, a third feel that their kids don't get enough playtime at school - with the average child having just 37 minutes of time to play throughout the school day.

Psychologist and play expert Dr. Amanda Gummer commented: "It is concerning that such as large proportion of parents feel their child's school is restricting their play, and rough and tumble play in particular. While schools need to prioritize safety, play is key to developing social skills including teamwork, communication and negotiation. The playground is the perfect place to learn these skills.

Young children benefit from frequent changes in activity, especially if they have to concentrate hard as they do during the school day. Active play in school breaks means that children are refreshed for their lessons and better able to concentrate."

Catherine Prisk, Assistant Director of Play England, said: "With children returning to school this week, and the announcement of cuts to play facilities, the subject of children's play is coming to the fore.

"Research shows that making time for children to play during the school day improves concentration and behaviour, and creates a better learning environment. Break times for teachers are protected by legislation, but there is no requirement for children to have time to play at school."

The Make Time to Play campaign highlights the benefits of children's play through the website Throughout the summer, the BTHA and Play England have been encouraging children to play more by asking parents to ‘Make a Pledge' to allocate more of their children's time each day to spend playing.

Parents at Playday, the national day for play, in August, helped to smash the target of pledged play minutes and have taken the total to over 90 million minutes of play during the summer. It is not too late for parents to continue to pledge at


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