Protect our children's health and wellbeing - Stop new schools being created without any outdoor space for children to play and learn.
Think back to your childhood and you’ll likely remember being outside, playing tag or other games with your friends, building dens, riding your bike, feeling exhausted but happy. You probably don’t think back with nostalgia at sitting in front of the television or being cooped up inside on rainy days.
Our children have a fundamental right to access outside space for play and learning and for many children in the UK, especially those living in urban conurbations, the school day offers the best chance for this. This should be a time that offers the chance to exercise, gain confidence, build relationships and social skills and to understand nature and the desire to protect it.
Most of us were lucky enough to have such a lifestyle when we were young, let us not deny our children of the same. Our children’s happiness, health and wellbeing should never be compromised.
The UK has lost protection for our schools' outside spaces. In fact, there are no longer any statutory rules that state schools have to provide a certain amount of outside space per child. This is why we are seeing schools opening and existing without any outside space at all.
In 2013, the Government changed legislation so any new school opening in the UK no longer had to provide any onsite outside space. Also in 2012, they relaxed rules so there was no longer any statutory regulations stating minimum outside space requirement for existing schools.
What does this mean?
It means we are now seeing new schools open in the UK with TOO LITTLE or NO outside space at all. The solution is to transport children off to an alternative off site space for PE and exercise. This eats into teaching time and reduces the quality of the school day.
The need to get children outside and be active is becoming more and more prevalent as we see a more sedentary lifestyle driven by computers, games and technology. We are a nation facing an obesity crisis and a rise in mental health issues and it is getting worse. Now is the time to be looking for long term solutions in fighting these issues, not using short sighted tactics driven by austerity.
If we don’t act now, many of the UK schools that lose outside space can never get it back. Currently there are over 3,000 schools facing issues with outside space and because of Government policy, this number is rapidly increasing.
With the charity Learning through Landscapes, we are asking the Government to re-introduce statutory legislation that stipulates all new schools opening in the UK must provide adequate onsite outdoor space for their children. The guidelines set out in the recent Buildings Bulletin 103 should act as a baseline that all schools must achieve.
Please help protect our nation’s children and future children by signing our petition.
This petition is managed and run jointly by Share My School (www.sharemyschool.com) and Learning Through Landscapes (http://www.ltl.org.uk).
- Secretary of State for Education
Nicky Morgan MP
Stop new schools being created without any outdoor space for children to play and learn. Please revise or introduce legislation that stipulates the minimum amount of suitable outdoor space all new schools created in the United Kingdom must make available to their children for recreation and learning.
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