Playwork community says ‘yes’ to new vehicle

10 Mar
A survey of practitioners has overwhelmingly endorsed the initiative to create a new membership body for playwork.

The survey, which ran from December 2014 to March 2015, received 155 responses from playwork practitioners, including managers, trainers, lecturers, researchers, campaigners and development workers, as well as face-to-face playworkers.

95 per cent of those responding replied ‘yes’ to the question, ‘do you think playwork needs a new body in the UK?’.

96 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would be interested in joining such a body if it was formed, with more than 76 per cent saying they would be either ‘extremely interested’ or ‘very interested’ in joining.

The survey also asked about priorities for a new body. Top of these, according to the aggregated responses, should be:

  • ‘to represent playwork and playworkers; giving us a collective voice’; followed closely by
  • ‘raising the status of playwork and improving the standing of playwork jobs’;
  • ‘campaigning for playwork – promoting it nationally and supporting local campaigns’; and
  • ‘influencing policy-making – to create a legal and regulatory framework that would support authentic playwork services’.

‘Working to create (or become) a professional body for playwork’ was the fifth priority for respondents.

The playwork community seems ready for a big move.

The playwork community seems ready for a big move.

Some respondents’ comments showed that, whilst welcoming the initiative, they have some important caveats. A common concern was that a new body should not undermine the work that is already being done to support playwork and its development by other bodies, particularly Play Wales.

The steering group for the initiative presented the survey findings last week at the National Playwork Conference in Eastbourne, where they also set out their next steps for the project. These included setting up a new charitable organisation, developing a membership structure and planning for an inaugural general meeting where founding members could meet and elect its first board.

Steering group members, Karen Benjamin and Adrian Voce, who started the current initiative together after a meeting at Sheffield Hallam University in July 2013, said:

‘This is a big vote of support for the idea of a new representative body. Given our lack of resources to promote the survey, it was always going to be a small sample, but such a large majority in favour is a very positive result.

Now the hard work begins. We have quite intentionally kept the development work fully independent. Being owned by and accountable to members is one of the initiative’s guiding principles, derived from our consultation with the field.

‘This means we have to be self-sufficient, building slowly without funds until we are able to levy membership fees – which will then have to be modest, as we want the new body to be accessible to all those working or studying in the field.

‘We believe playwork is an important approach to working with children, which is often misunderstood and under-valued, and is currently lacking support. We think it needs its own independent body and our survey confirms that there are many people in the field who agree, although we also get the message loud and clear that whatever is created must complement and be careful not to undermine other efforts to support and develop the field’.

  • The survey results can be downloaded here.
  • A copy of the Eastbourne presentation is here.

If you are interested in the initiative to create a new vehicle for playwork, please email adrianvoce@me.com with ‘EOI’ (expression of interest) in the subject field.

Thank you!

Adrian Voce
on behalf of the Steering Group.

10 Responses to “Playwork community says ‘yes’ to new vehicle”

  1. play and other things 10 March 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Reblogged this on Play and Other Things.

    Like

  2. plexity 10 March 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    So pleased to see being a professional thing was at the bottom. So much vainglorious effort has gone into the search for what turns out to be the boojum of professional, effort that could have gone into promoting the craft via the top 4. I hope that the field has realised that professionalism is a soul sucking time wasting impossible diversion.

    Like

    • adrianvoce 10 March 2015 at 5:37 pm #

      Not quite bottom! There were 10 options, so a middling 5th; definitely not a top priority.

      Good word that, boojum: easier to say than to find…

      Like

      • plexity 10 March 2015 at 6:01 pm #

        whatevr, just please don’t waste time on developing a professionally thingy. By the time it happens there won’t be anyone left in a job anyway.

        Like

      • adrianvoce 10 March 2015 at 7:03 pm #

        Ha ha. Who needs jobs?

        Like

  3. plexity 10 March 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    BTW, great slides and what a lovely steering group!

    Liked by 2 people

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Playwork field calls on parties to adopt policy measures for play | Policy for Play - 25 March 2015

    […] A special session at the National Playwork Conference in Eastbourne earlier this month has produced a clear and ambitious play policy agenda ahead of the General Election. Here is the text of a joint statement from the conference convenors and the steering group for a new vehicle for playwork: […]

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  2. Advocating for play at the crossroads (part 2) | Policy for Play - 6 May 2015

    […] It is part of the playwork principles that ‘playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult led agendas’ and that this role ‘should inform the development of play policy, strategy, training and education’. The London Adventure Playground Association, (chaired in the 60s by Lady Allen herself); LAPA’s successor, PLAYLINK; Fair Play for Children; London Play; Play Wales; the Children’s Play Council; and many local play associations, have each embodied this principle by drawing on their playwork experience, with its unique insights into how to best support children’s play, to advocate for play beyond the playground. Support for playwork development, as an important part of the children’s workforce, must be part of any new play policy; but equally important will be that other areas of the policy are informed by the playwork approach. Each of these objectives require that playwork, more than ever, needs its own national body. […]

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  3. Playwork steering group calls for halt in standards review | Policy for Play - 9 October 2015

    […] steering group for the initiative to develop a new vehicle for playwork has written to SkillsActive urging the sector skills council to pause the current review of […]

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  4. Why we need the Playwork Foundation – The Playwork Foundation - 13 July 2016

    […] consistency with the established Playwork Principles. But what the playwork community most seems to want from a national body is a representative, collective voice: raising the status of playwork, […]

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