Why join the Register of Playwork Professionals?

Registered member Ashley Rodgers

With the Register now officially live, having launched at the KIDS Hayward Adventure Playground in Islington, we spoke with Ashley Rodgers, Senior Development Officer at Play England to find out why he decided to join the Register of Playwork Professionals.

Ashley wanted to be part of something that not only benefits himself, but also drives forward the professionalisation of the Playwork sector. He strongly believes that “playworkers deserve recognition for the excellent and crucial part they play in children’s development and lives.”

When talking about the Register, Ashley firmly believes and encourages that people should most certainly join, as it’s important to “help professionalise the Playwork profession and gain formal recognition of your qualifications for future employers.” 

We also asked Ashley what he felt the benefits of being on the Register were and how it can help in the future.

Ashley said, “My Playwork qualifications are formally recognised and any future employers can have confidence that I have the qualification I say I have! I look forward to having the opportunity to link up with other people in the sector and share experiences and good practice.”

And finally we asked how he thinks the Register can help parents and give them peace of mind when it comes to their children. 

“Parents can have even more confidence in play settings across the UK, knowing that staff are qualified to provide the best play opportunities and care for their children.”

If you know anyone that may like to join the Register then please do help us spread the message, as we strongly believe that it is important to professionalise our industry.


Help celebrate Playday 2014


Playday is the national day for play and this year Playday was held on the 7th August. Now going into its 27th year, Playday is the biggest play sector event in the UK! As well as being a celebration of play, the Playday campaign highlights the importance of play in children’s lives and in light of government cuts to the play industry, it is more crucial than ever that we unite to stand up for play!

The Playday campaign this year asked everyone to help ensure that the places where children play and hang out are great places to play.

The campaign identifies that:

  • Children should feel welcomed and part of their community
  • Parents want their children to be able to play outside
  • Public space should be designed and managed with children’s play in mind
  • Children and young people need to be involved in planning the places and spaces where they play

Figures released by PlayEngland stated that 648 events were registered via the Playday website throughout the UK, which is pretty incredible and we hope the celebrations continue with such high numbers next year!

Regional breakdown

East Midlands (34)

East of England (24)

London (43)

North East (11)

North West (48)

Northern Ireland (13)

Scotland (19)

South East (278)

South West (54)

Wales (43)

West Midlands (47)

Yorkshire and the Humber (34)

Events ranged from small-scale private events to public events attended by thousands. Venues and types of events again ranged significantly, reflecting the diversity of people, communities and organisations involved in the campaign.

In a recent survey, over a third of Playday event organisers thought the Playful Places campaign had an impact at a local level and 27% of those felt Playday had boosted their community spirit, which is fantastic news.

We really hope more people will be involved in this fantastic and worthy cause next year, which will be taking place on Wednesday 6 August.You can also follow the latest developments of the campaign on twitter by searching for the hashtags #Playday2014 and #righttoplay. The Playday team have also been busy tweeting some fantastic ideas you can get involved with. Here are our top five:

1. Hold a street party on 6 Aug & help children & communities reclaim streets for play

2. Invite friends & family to a playful picnic on 6/8 & bring people together through play

3. Organise a community-wide event on 6 Aug & bring communities together through play

4. Choose a high-profile spot for your celebration on 6 Aug & publicise the value of play

5. Arrange a play date with friends on 6 Aug & spend the day playing for plays sake

To find out how you can get involved in celebrating the national day for play, please visit www.playday.org.uk.

All figures have been taken from the results of the Playday 2013 organisers’ survey, which was completed by 156 participants.

Fancy yourself as a budding blogger?


Do you have any news, ideas or tips you’d like to share with the Playwork Community? If so, then we would love to hear from you. We’re always open to your suggestions and contributions for our blogs.

This could be about your experience as a playworker, or your views on the latest industry news and research. Maybe you’d like to share stories about your play sessions or tell everyone about an event happening in your area. Whatever you fancy really!

With the potential for your blog to be read by hundreds of playworkers we’d love for as many of you as possible to be involved, so even if you already have your own blog then please do get in touch as we’d like to promote (and cross-post from) a wide range of blogs.

If you are interested then please send your ideas and blogs to marketing@skillsactive.com.

Playwork Register officially launches


Last week saw the official launch of the Register of Playwork Professionals at the Hayward Adventure Playground in Islington, which was warmly welcomed as an exceptional resource for ensuring children have the best opportunities to play creatively.

As a recent Health & Safety Executive’s document stated, ‘the opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives’, while children’s right to relax and play is entrenched in the Unicef summary of rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Lesli Godfrey, UK Strategic Lead for Playwork and the Children’s Workforce, said, “The importance of quality play in our children’s well-being and development cannot be over emphasised. Play is increasingly recognised as fundamental for children’s health, well-being and future adult development. The Register of Playwork Professionals builds on the expertise gained from the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), seeking to replicate its success by raising the profile of playwork within the children’s workforce, ensuring high quality, rigorous standards and professionalism.”


Lesli Godfrey added, “We know that a broad range of environments and play activities provide children and young people with opportunities for challenge, discovery and adventure. A qualified workforce reassures parents that their children can safely enjoy the benefits of quality play, while being looked after by professional staff – we encourage parents to ask if a playworker is a Register member.”

SkillsActive developed the Register of Playwork Professionals in partnership with employers, playworkers and representatives from key national organisations, including Play England, KIDS, Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Unite, Unison, Outburst Kids, Fit for Sport, CACHE, City and Guilds, Pearson, Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Lesli Godfrey concludes, “The new Register of Playwork Professionals encourages professionalism in the sector, and reassurance for parents. Children and young people of all ages and abilities can be encouraged to creatively explore their world. It is essential that we inspire children to be challenged through play, whilst also feeling safe and supported. Through supporting a child’s right to play, we can lay the groundwork now to ensure future generations have the tools to live fulfilled, confident and healthy adult lives.”

The event was attended by employers, registered members and key figures within the playwork sector and also included a lively debate and Q&A session with Lesli Godfrey, Barry Walden (London Borough of Camden) and Angela Brown (Training in Child care).

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support of the Register as it wouldn’t be possible without it, and those who were able to attend on the day. In case you were unable to attend we also have a video of the days events included that Q&A session coming soon.

Register of Playwork Professionals to officially launch

ImageAfter a successful pilot phase, the Register of Playwork Professionals will officially launch on Monday 25th November at the KIDS Hayward Adventure Playground in north London.

SkillsActive developed the Register of Playwork Professionals in partnership with employers, playworkers and representatives from key national organisations including: Play England, KIDS, Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Unite, Unison, Outburst Kids, Fit for Sport, CACHE, City and Guilds, Pearson and Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Lesli Godfrey, UK Strategic Lead for Playwork and the Children’s Workforce, is delighted to launch the Register of Playwork Professionals and says:

“I would urge all parents to enquire whether their playwork professional is registered. The Register provides assurance, to both employers and the public, that registered individuals hold relevant professional qualifications. For playworkers, it provides clarity and structure to their training and continuing professional development.”

The official launch of the Register will ensure recognition for the valuable contributions qualified playworkers make in the lives of our children, by providing playful environments where children can be encouraged to use their imagination, and develop essential creativity and independence skills.

Lesli Godfrey concludes:

“We are all increasingly aware of the importance of play for our children’s emotional well-being and healthy development. The new Register of Playwork Professionals encourages professionalism in the sector, and reassurance for parents. Ultimately, by making sure our children feel supported in their play, we will be providing them with wider opportunities to explore their world, in preparation for happy, healthy futures.”

If you are interested in attending the launch, please contact marketing@skillsactive.com  or call 0207 632 2020.

Good Practice in Playwork


For a couple of years now it has bothered me that I don’t have much time to keep my playwork skills up to date. I attend lots of conferences and meetings, read articles and books, and talk with lots of playworkers and their employers in the course of my work, so my knowledge and understanding is reasonably up to date, but I rarely have contact with children. Then, this summer, I was fortunate to be invited to brush up my playwork practice with a team going to Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts. They were to offer play opportunities on the Kidz Field which, according to Tony the organiser of this corner of the Glastonbury site, is the largest children’s festival in Europe. As a festival-goer over many years I had visited the Kidz Field a lot with my own son and friends’ children, but was really excited at the thought of working there, but also a little nervous. Would I cut the mustard for my new employer? Could I meet the physical challenges of playwork all day and dancing at night, particularly if it became very muddy? Would the rest of the team accept me?

I went into training: more swimming sessions each week, more stretches, more reading, and arrived at Worthy Farm at the end of June carrying my backpack in glorious sunshine, confident in a weather forecast that predicted blue skies and heat.

I could go into detail about the play offer we provided, how I learnt to mend an inflatable, and coil an electric cable properly, how to use a microphone to encourage playful behaviour. But these are basic skills which are easy to pick up if someone will spend the time demonstrating them for you.

One of the most valuable lessons I learnt concerned the process my employer had established to encourage reflective practice. This improved our offer for children and brought us closer together as a team. Each day, after we’d packed the equipment away, we got together for a debrief. This involved everyone in turn having an opportunity to say what they thought had gone well and what could be improved. We discussed the equipment, what needed mending or ditching, and what type of play behaviours it encouraged. We discussed the gender balance we had witnessed that day and how our offer could be improved to ensure access to play for all. And we discussed our own behaviours and practice. Did standing with your hands on your hips give the wrong message to potential play participants? And so, what do you do with your hands while you watch children play? Did a playworker wearing sunglasses intimidate children, as they couldn’t see your eyes? What are your strengths and which aspects of the offer are daunting for you? We spent between an hour and ninety minutes at the end of each day considering our practice and agreeing our plan for the next morning. And during those meetings, we challenged and praised, encouraged and ticked off, in a very open, honest and supportive atmosphere, which brought us together to become a small community, turning a group of disparate people living in a field for a long weekend into an effective and enthusiastic play team. Now, I think that is good practice.

Lesli Godfrey  September 2013

Why do children need play?

Love Outdoor Play

Take 3 minutes today and listen to the wisdom of Bob Hughes, a very well known thinker and author of books about play and playwork on the evolutionary necessity of play, especially play outdoors, for children.

“Fundamental building blocks for humanness and humanity….requires children have diverse experiences that are hands on…”

“it’s the flexibility you need, not the specific skills”

And the environment? If we don’t have that sort of interaction with it as a child… we won’t care about it…

Enjoy! And Share!

This clip was shot by the crew behind the film Project Wild Thing  which will be showing at your local Picturehouse cinema on 27th October! Please note they aren’t advertising it yet, but rest assured it will be there. Mark it in your diaries. And tell all your friends.

So do you agree? And why do you think outdoor play is important?

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