Fair Play for Children

Jan Cosgrove
3 min readJun 7, 2024

for the Child’s Right to Play

Manifesto for 2024 General Election

At last, the global community has recognised the special place of Play in the lives of all children by declaring an International Day of Children’s Play, 11th June, to be celebrated every year.

The forthcoming UK General Election is an opportunity for those who understand its importance to influence our future lawmakers. The following proposals are Fair Play for Children’s contribution to this debate. You are asked to share these ideas with others especially all candidates in your area before 4th July.

The Right to Play

This Right is Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty adopted by the UK but not forming part of our domestic law, so it cannot be used in our Courts. Many countries have incorporated the Convention into their own national law.

Proposal 1: that the United Kingdom incorporates the Convention into UK domestic law to help ensure the fullest observance of children’s rights in this country.

There can be no argument that this would subject the UK to decisions of a non-UK court, as this does not apply with the UN Convention. We also propose the creation of the post of Secretary of State for Children and Young People. There should be increased Focus for Children & Young People in urban design and planning,

Ensure that current UK law is being observed re Children’s Play

Contrary to popular understanding, there are strict laws governing the provision of Play (including Youth Work) in this country, contained in the Education Act 1996 (and as later amended by the Education and Training Act 2006). Clauses 508 and 507a&b set out those duties for Local Education Authorities. However, there is widespread non-compliance, and it is also a weakness of the current legislation that LEAs do not have to make regular submissions to central Government on their performance. It is a fact that children’s play and youth provision have suffered swingeing cuts by LEAs during the past decade and more.

Fair Play proposes a change to the existing law (easier to achieve than a whole new law):

Proposal 2: that a new clause is added to the 1996 Education requiring the Secretary of State to make LEAs submit a three-yearly report about their fulfilment of their duties under s508, 507a&b of the 1996 Education Act.

Proposal 3: It is also a fact that many LEAs have been hit by funding cuts from Central Government. Fair Play proposes a new Government Fund for Children’s Play and Youth Work, akin to the Sports and Arts Councils for adult recreation, and proportionate in scale to the funding received by those bodies.

This Fund would be used to encourage LEAs to support activities for children and young people especially those organised by local community bodies, charities, youth clubs, play projects etc.

There should be greater liaison between local authority and sports clubs/CASCS and children’s charities and governing bodies for sport and play.

It is important that the Government ensures the development and education of youth workers and play workers, both paid and voluntary.

Proposal 4: a major expansion of Play Streets across the United Kingdom — over decades children have been excluded more and more from around 3/4 million acres of play space in the residential roads where they live, mainly by the parked car.

More about Fair Play for Children: http://www.fairplay31.online/index.html

email: fpfc1972@gmail.com / mobile: 07488–265916

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Jan Cosgrove

National Secretary of Fair Play for Children, Also runs Bognor Regis Herald online. Plus runs British Music Radio online