Challenge and Risk in School Grounds

Managing Risk in School Grounds

"Learning through Landscapes is committed to children being able to experience challenging play and learning activities in the day to day environment of their school grounds. We absolutely support the need to balance the benefits of any activity against the risks associated with that activity. We want to enable schools to make careful and considered judgements that will allow children to develop the skills that they need for a fulfilling adult life."

Juno Hollyhock, Executive Director, Learning Through Landscapes

Since 2010, there have been significant changes in policy and approach to managing risk in schools and early years settings. In 2012, the Lord Young Report made a series of recommendations, including a move to Risk Benefit Assessments, simplifying paperwork and single consent forms for the academic year. In 2013 this was interpreted by the Health and Safety Executive, and by 2014 many organisations were starting the process of implemeting these changes.

Fundamentally, these changes are driven by the task of preparing the next generation of workforce and citizens. It is the core business of teaching and learning.

If we don’t allow children to experience managed risk, I have grave concerns about the future for workplace health and safety. If the next generation enter the workplace having been protected from all risk they will not be so much risk averse as completely risk naive – creating an enormous task and dilemma for their employers – how to start that health and safety education process or to continue to try to protect them from all risk which is of course impractical and impossible.

(Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive)


Given children’s appetite for risk-taking, one of the factors that should be considered is the likelihood that children will seek out risks elsewhere, in environments that are not controlled or designed for them, if play provision is not challenging enough.

Another factor is the learning that can take place when children are exposed to, and have to learn to deal with, environmental hazards. Play provision and outdoor learning are uniquely placed to offer children the chance to learn about risk in an environment designed for that purpose, and thus to help children equip themselves to deal with similar hazards in the wider world.

The following pages lay out our rationale and documents to support our approach to managing risk, for our staff, customers and the children that we work with.

Read on to find out why we use Risk Benefit.

Learning through Landscapes

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