Embracing Risky Play to Enhance Child Development

Evidence shows that risky play improves child wellbeing and development; so when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. This event will provide you with the information and tools you will need to take a balanced approach to providing risky play opportunities in your children’s services.

Why create opportunities for risky play?

'The Care Inspectorate supports care service providers taking a positive approach to risk in order to achieve the best outcomes for children.'
The Care Inspectorate Position Statement on Risk in Play

Embracing a risk-benefit approach is part of the Care Inspectorate’s changing regulatory culture. This shift recognises the benefits of risky play which have been evidenced through a range of studies and include helping children:

  • develop mentally, physically and socially
  • solve problems
  • develop independence and their own confidence, learning their own capabilities
  • keep healthy and reduces obesity
  • increases academic performance
  • …have fun!

Parents and professionals rightly have concerns about exposing children to risk and it is important that a balanced approach is taken which includes appropriate checks and precautions.

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • Introducing risky play into your setting
  • Risk, national policy and inspections: how the Care Inspectorate and other organisations are now working with you to embed risky play in your practice
  • A history of risk in play – have we become too risk adverse?
  • The benefits of risky play
  • Parent and practitioner attitudes to risk and the impact on the child
  • Communication with staff and parents around risky play: building confidence to create opportunities for children to learn and develop
  • How to undertake a Risk Benefit Analysis (RBA)
  • Creating the environment for risky play indoors and outdoors

Who should attend?

This event will be of interest to all those looking to create opportunities for risky play with children including: teachers, early years practitioners, childminders, nursery workers, family centre workers, and leisure facility managers amongst others.



09:15 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Opening remarks from the chair

Tam Baillie, Former Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

Session 1: The Case for Risky Play

10:05 Making the Case for Free Range Competent Children

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland

10:25 From a Philosophy of Protection to a Philosophy of Resilience

A brief history of risk aversion and why it’s turning around.

Hilary Long, Glasgow Convener, Upstart Scotland and formerly Manager, Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens

10:45 Questions and discussions

11:00 Refreshments

Session 2: Conducting a Risk-Benefit Analysis of Risky Play

11:20 Interactive session

  • Practical tools for taking a balanced approach to risk management using the process of risk-benefit assessment
  • Thinking about children’s play and development, how our values and direction influences our management decisions
  • The role of organisational  training and feedback loops. 

Matt Robinson, Training and Development Officer, Grounds for Learning

12:20 Lunch and networking

Session 3: Balancing risk in practice

13:05 Maximising opportunities for outdoor play

Rachel Cowper, Programme Manager, Thrive Outdoors Team, Inspiring Scotland

13:25 Nursery Case study: staff & parent training & communication

Elaine Stewart, Senior Early Years Practitioner, Abercromby Nursery

Donna Fraser, Early Years Practitioner, Abercromby Nursery

Lynsey Wheater, Parent

13:45 School case study: risky play inside and outside the classroom

Kate Coutts, Headteacher, Nesting Primary School

14:05 Questions and discussions

14:25 Chairs closing remarks

14:30 Close of event

* Agenda subject to change



NASUWT, 35 Young Street North Lane, Edinburgh EH2 4JD | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, housing associations, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

23 August 2018



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