Play Policy & Legislation
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Play Wales has commissioned and published a range of research studies about children’s play and playwork.
Researching play sufficiency
Since the commencement of the Welsh Government’s Play Sufficiency Duty in 2012, Play Wales has commissioned four small-scale research studies. These show local authorities’ experiences when implementing the duty to assess and ensure their area provides children with enough opportunities to play. The studies look at the successes and the challenges.
All four studies recognise that the Play Sufficiency Duty and the supporting documents produced by the Welsh Government – regulations, statutory guidance, and toolkit – agree that: ‘play is what children do when the conditions are right and establishing it as their way of maintaining their own health and wellbeing.’
The first two studies were carried out in 2013 and 2014 by Dr Wendy Russell and the late Dr Stuart Lester. Wendy also undertook the 2019 and 2020 research, collaborating with Mike Barclay, Charlotte Derry and Ben Tawil.
To request a copy of any of the full research reports please email us.
Making it possible to do Play Sufficiency: Exploring the conditions that support local authorities to secure sufficient opportunities for children in Wales to play
This study focuses on the conditions that help local authorities in taking actions in support of children’s opportunities to play. It makes 13 recommendations for actions that can help local authorities meet their Play Sufficiency Duty responsibilities.
It also includes 26 examples of actions local authorities have taken to support children’s play. Each example aims to show the unique contexts, processes and people involved, and offer adaptable ideas for those working to support children’s play.
Children’s Right to Play in Wales: Six years of stories and change since the commencement of the Welsh Play Sufficiency Duty
This study explores the perceptions of how children’s opportunities to play have changed since the commencement of the Play Sufficiency Duty. The research, carried out between January and March 2019, found that much had been achieved, despite this being a challenging time for local government and public services. Achievements included:
- working in partnership
- raising awareness of children’s right to play
- reconfiguring services and spaces to create opportunities for playing.
Towards Securing Sufficient Play Opportunities: A short study into the preparation undertaken forthe commencement of the second part of the Welsh Government’s Play Sufficiency Duty to secure sufficient play opportunities
This study looks back over the first year of the statutory play sufficiency process, and forward to the commencement of the second part of the Play Sufficiency Duty. The duty requires local authorities to ensure their local area secures sufficient opportunities for children to play.
The purpose of the study was to look at:
- what happened over the 12 months after the first Play Sufficiency Assessments were submitted to the Welsh Government in 2013
- how selected local authorities prepared themselves to respond to the commencement of the second part of the Play Sufficiency Duty.
Leopard Skin Wellies, a Top Hat and a Vacuum Cleaner Hose: An analysis of Wales’ Play Sufficiency Assessment duty
This study explores how local authorities responded to the first part of the Play Sufficiency Duty to assess whether their area provides enough play opportunities for children.
It draws on data from 20 local authority Play Sufficiency Assessments, associated documentation and interviews. The report concludes with four recommended ‘key conditions’ that would support local authorities in maintaining the momentum generated by the Play Sufficiency Assessment process. These key conditions are:
- Maintaining dialogue
- Fostering an ongoing community of learning and practice
- Acknowledging children’s competence and adult responsibility for collective wisdom
Researching children’s views about play
What children say about play in Wales: 2022
This report pulls together data from surveys completed by nearly 7,000 children across 15 local authorities in Wales as part of their Play Sufficiency Assessments in 2022.
The report includes findings about children and teenagers’ satisfaction with the time, space and permission they have to play, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on their opportunities to play. To emphasise children’s voices throughout, it also features insightful quotes from children and teenagers of all ages from across Wales.
Most children and teenagers across Wales have told us that when they are allowed out, feel safe, and able to play in the places they want to, they are happy with their choice of spaces to play.
Overall, children and teenagers are satisfied with their opportunities to play. However, some groups of children and teenagers stand-out in their reporting of low satisfaction with their play opportunities. These include disabled children and teenagers and ethnic minority children and teenagers.
This report was written by Dr David Dallimore, a research consultant specialising in early years childcare and play.
What children say about play in Wales
This report pulls together data from surveys completed by nearly 6,000 children across 13 local authorities in Wales as part of their Play Sufficiency Assessments in 2019.
Local authorities have to use the Play Sufficiency Assessment template to show how they have consulted with children. The Welsh Government’s Play Sufficiency Assessment Toolkit includes a survey that local authorities can use to gather data on children’s views about the opportunities to play in their neighbourhoods. This report examines the results gathered through the survey.
The report shows that when they are allowed out and able to play in places they choose, most children report satisfaction. Nonetheless, the report does identify several barriers to play, including playing outside in their local neighbourhoods.
This report was written by Dr David Dallimore of Bangor University.
A copy of the survey can be found in The Play Satisfaction Survey: A guide to using it locally information sheet.
Researching the play workforce
Welsh Play Workforce Study 2021
This study gives an insight into the play workforce in Wales. It focuses on three overlapping areas: strategy, links between the strategic and practice, and the play workforce.
The study focuses on those who work directly with children and young people. To inform the study, data was gathered through online surveys, interviews and a focus group.
The executive summary features a list of 16 findings, along with an analysis of the results including comparisons between the 2021 findings and those from the last workforce study in 2008. These findings will be used to inform the Play Wales Workforce Development Plan.
The study was undertaken by Swansea University’s Dr Pete King and Dr Justine Howard.
If you would like a copy of the full research report, please email us