As you will be aware the NI Executive are currently consulting on their strategy for Children and Young People (2017 to 2027) with the extended closing date for responses 5pm on Friday 31st March 2017.

PlayBoard is currently collating its response to the consultation and we are delighted to see that after many years of pro-active lobbying and advocacy by the sector Play and Leisure has been recognised as a key outcome within the strategy.  Such recognition highlights that government are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of and the cross-cutting nature of play and leisure as key priorities in the lives of children and young people.

Given the importance of the strategy over the coming 10 years we would urge all of our members to submit a response to the strategy OR if you are unable to complete the full consultation document to submit a letter/email with your views, support for the inclusion of play and leisure etc.

In responding (whether completing the questionnaire or emailing a statement of support/making wider comment) you may wish to use all/or some of the points below which help to emphasise the importance of, and endorse play as an outcome within the strategy.

  1. The Right to Play is enshrined within Article 31 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child and it is to be welcomed that the NI Executive have endorsed the right to play as an outcome within the strategy
  2. Play represents a fundamental part of children and young people’s lives, supporting their growth and development, health and wellbeing, education and skills development and contributes to giving our children and young people the best start in life (in line with outcome 14 of the Programme for Government)
  3. The availability of accessible play opportunities within communities supports community cohesion and contributes to cross-community and cross-cultural understanding
  4. Play and leisure are cross-cutting issues impacting across Executive Departments including the Department of Education, Department of Health, and Department of Communities
  5. The play based School Age Childcare sector contributes significantly to outcomes for children and supports parents and carers to be able to access the workforce and/or training and education opportunities
  6. Acknowledging the development of the School Age Childcare sector under Bright Start we would highlight the need for specific action aimed at supporting the play workforce to access continued relevant training and support
  7. We welcome the outcomes based approach outlined within the strategy, however would highlight the need for focused activity to ensure that practitioners are fully conversant with the approach to be adopted, thus ensuring long-term sustainability and tracking of outcomes

Just click on the link for more details:

Children’s Questionnaire

Young Person’s Version

Young Person’s Questionnaire

Full Consultation Document

If you do not wish to complete the consultation questionnaire, written responses can be made in writing or by email to:

Children and Young People Strategy Team
Room 6.14
Rathgael House
Bangor
BT19 7PR
Email: cyps.consultation@education-ni.gov.uk 

If you require any further information or support please do not hesitate to contact us

Please note: PlayBoard are currently preparing its own response to the consultation and if you would like to feed any particular issues into the process we would be delighted to hear from you. Please forward any such comments to: Laura.McQuade@playboard.co.uk