It’s the midst of autumn – leaves are fifty shades of brown and crunching beneath your feet, and the air is crisp. With autumn’s falling leaves also comes the fall of conkers, which to most means a traditional playground game, but to others has become a metaphor for “health and safety gone mad”.
The conker “debate” often has people in uproar – while many see the nonsensical nature in games of conkers at schools being a genuine safety concern (HM the Queen and ourselves included), the myth persists that the health and safety “brigade” would like to see bans, or at least monitoring of conker play.
Much like conkers, risk is a natural part of life, and white-washing traditional play culture is not the answer to all of our health and safety issues, as discussed by the chief inspector of schools in recent news, and the HSE chair in older news. It is important to find the right balance in keeping children safe while keeping their instinctive nature alive, and taking away things like climbing frames (and conkers if it comes to it) may stifle this.
RoSPA believes that children need to be equipped to deal with the real risks in their lives. Children must be educated in proper conduct in play and at school, so playground activities need not be an issue. Risk in play is a key part of that learning and it needs to be preserved – while seeking to limit life-changing injuries.
Nathan Davies, head of consultancy
Posted: 11/10/2017 3:09:54 PM