Political Lobbying

Play Scotland aims to influence policy, increase investment and promote awareness in play.

Play Scotland Launches Scotland’s Play Strategy

Scotland’s Play Charter 

Play Scotland is promoting Scotland’s first inclusive Play Charter.  This describes a collective commitment to play for all babies, children and young people in Scotland.

It builds on the Scottish Government’s National Play Strategy and the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach to supporting children, young people and their families.

The Charter is for parents, play providers, play champions and everyone with an interest and/or responsibility for play in Scotland.

Children and young people have the need and the right to play indoors and outdoors in welcoming and stimulating environments.  Through play children have fun; develop and learn; assess and manage risk; use their imaginations and create new experiences that contribute to their health; wellbeing and a happy childhood.

This Charter has received Cross Party support at the Scottish Parliament.

You can find full details and how to pledge your supported here


Scotland’s Play Charter Debate at Scottish Parliament
14 March 2017

Motion in support of Scotland’s Play Charter placed by Ruth Maguire MSP.

This Motion received Cross Party Support which resulted in a Debate held in the Chamber on Tuesday 14 March 2017.

You can read the transcript from the Debate below:

Scotland’s Play Charter Debate Scottish Parliament Transcript


Scottish Government launches Play Strategy and Action Plan

Play Strategy

Children’s play is crucial to Scotland’s well being; socially, economically and environmentally. Our people are our greatest resource and the early years of life set the pattern for children’s future development.

‘The experiences children have in early life – and the environments in which they have them – shape their developing brain architecture and strongly affect whether they grow up to be healthy, productive members of society’ (Harvard University, 2007).

Play is an essential part of a happy, healthy childhood and ‘when children play their brains do two things: they grow and the become organised and usable’ (Hughes, 2013). By investing in all our children and young people now we can strengthen their ability to achieve their full poten

Play Strategy Action Plan

The Action Plan supports Scotland’s first National Play Strategy by setting out what actions need to be taken, in the domains of home;nursery and school; community; and positive support for play to realise our vision for play.

Play is fundamental to a healthy, happy childhood and is essential to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Scotland as a whole.

The Action Plan has been developed by the sector and there is a role for practitoiners, parents and carers, politicians, planners and policy makers in enabling and supporting children’s play.


Play Scotland Petition PE01440 on the Plans for New Children and Young People Bill

” This Government’s vision for children and young people is clear: we want Scotland to be the best place in the world for them to grow up “

Aileen Campbell MSP.
Minister for Children and Young People

The Scottish Government has announced that it will be consulting on a new
Bill which will incorporate Children’s Rights into the
Children and Young People’s Bill.

Play Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to include a Statutory Duty for Play in this new Bill.  This could place a Duty on local authorities to provide sufficient and satisfying play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities.

This would help the Scottish Government delivery on their commitment to improve children’s outcomes and quality of life through play.

On 18 September 2012 we presented further information on our Petition to the Public Commmission Committee.  The Play Scotland presented were: Margeruite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive Play Scotland; Dr Sue Robertson, British Medical Association and Therea Casey, International Play Association President.

We have been asked back to the Public Commission Committee on 11 December 2012.

Local Government Elections March 2012

Play Scotland paper for the Local Government Elections March 2012

Scottish Government Play and Risk Debate

The Scottish Government in partnership with Play Scotland, The Police and the Care Commission commenced at Play and Risk debate in 2010.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive of Play Scotland is the Chair.

Question Time Event

Play Scotland hosted the Parliamentary Question Time in November 2010 at the Scottish Parliament in conjunction with Children in Scotland as part of the Play and Risk Debate, arising from the action plan for the Scottish Government’s Early Years Framework.

Feedback from this event will be taken forward by the Play and Risk Debate Group, convened by the Government and chaired by
Marguerite Hunter Blair, chief executive of Play Scotland.

Question Time Panellists were MSPs Christina McKelvie (SNP), John Scott (Conservative), Ken MacIntosh (Labour), Robert Brown (Liberal Democrat) and Robin Harper (Green Party), and play expert and author Sue Palmer.

Speaking ahead of the event, Sue Palmer said: ” Children need to play – especially outdoors. It’s how they develop self-confidence, resilience, resourcefulness and countless other vital human characteristics (not least common sense). Scientists now tell us that play is as important for their all-round development as food or sleep. So we can’t afford to ‘battery-raise’ the next generation of Scottish children. If they’re to grow into healthy, resilient, responsible citizens, we have to unravel our current cottonwool culture, and welcome them back where they’re meant to be – out to play. ”

June 2010

The Scottish Government has published a Review to the Equally Well report.  Play is mentioned in the Annex.


4. The Task Force heard of action that the Scottish Government was leading to support implementation of the Early Years Framework:

The Play Talk Read social marketing campaign has been launched. It emphasises
the importance of the home-learning environment and encourages parents and other
carers to value positive interactions with their child during the first years through simple, free, fun activities. The campaign, which will run for a number of years, has been positively evaluated and has been shown to have reached 90% of the target audience.

The Go Play Programme, administered by Inspiring Scotland, has been launched with funding of £4m over 2 years. It aims to increase opportunities for children aged 5-13 years to engage in free play activities, contributing to mental and physical health outcomes and building social cohesion. Go Play targets specific local authority areas where children are least likely to have opportunities to develop through play and will improve the infrastructure of the play sector at local, regional and national levels.

A Scottish Government/COSLA/Third Sector Data and Indicators Group for early years has been working on a meaningful, manageable and robust set of indicators against which progress towards key national and local outcomes can be assessed.

A multi-agency Research Into Practice Group has been established. In response to feedback from local partners, the Group was created to provide more information from the centre on research evidence and evaluations of national and local programmes. As well as avoiding duplication of effort and sub-optimal use of scarce resources, better dissemination of “what works” information from the centre would lead to local partners basing local implementation on the best available evidence and practice.

Equally Well – 2010 Review 

December 2009

We were delighted to see that Play was one of the ten transformational changes mentioned in the Scottish Government Early Years Framework.

The Early Years Framework is one of three interlinked policy frameworks including Achieving our Potential and Equally Well.  These three documents combined aim to achieve high quality play opportunities in every community, increased play and physical activity, and improved and increased access to play.

April 2009 – Play and Risk Debate

The Scottish Government in partnership with the Care Commission, Play Scotland and the police will lead a debate on understanding and balancing the benefits of play against risk.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive of Play Scotland was appointed by the Scottish Government to Chair the Risk Debate.  Play Scotland will keep members up to date on the progress and activity of the project team because it is really important that everyone’s voice is heard in the debate.

December 2008

In December 2008 the Scottish Government launched the Early Years Framework.

“This framework is about giving all our children the best start in life and the steps the Scottish Government, local partners and practitioners in early years services need to take to start us on that journey.”

Scottish Government

For further information click here

One of the ten transformational changes within the Early Years Framework is to “Improve outcomes and children’s quality of life through play”.

Short Term Action

In 2009 The Scottish Government in partnership with the Care Commission, Play Scotland and the police will lead a debate on understanding and balancing the benefits of play against risk.

Medium Term Priorities

Developing local play and green space policies and improving play opportunities.
Promoting positive environments for children and families through planning, regeneration and transport policies.
Nurseries and schools supporting outdoor learning and outdoor play.  Trying out innovative approaches such as nature kindergartens.

Longer-term Objectives

High quality play opportunities in every community.  Increased play and physical activity.

June 2008

In October 2007 Play Scotland received lottery funding to establish the Scottish Play Commission.  This was to examine the ‘state of play’ in Scotland.  In June 2008 Play Scotland launched the Findings of the Scottish Play Commission at the Scottish Parliament.

For further information on the Scottish Play Commission and to see the Findings of this report
click here