Primary school outlaws running in the playground’. This was the headline last week from an article on the Mail Online website.
This kind of story seems to be a regular occurrence and it feels I’m reading them more frequently.
I’m surprised, now we’re into autumn, I haven’t seen an article about the great British game of conkers being banned from school playgrounds, another hardy perennial at this time of year.
Then we move to Christmas and there will probably be a story about a school banning Christmas in case it offends children and parents who don’t celebrate the Christian festival.
Then, if it snows, there will inevitably be a story about snowballs being banned for health and safety reasons. It is all becoming far too predictable.
So what about this recent story about running in the playground being outlawed? Was it true?
Delving deeper into the story and going beyond the headline, it appears it is.
The Cornwall primary school, according to the article, brought in the ban after children often ended up needing first aid.
Instead the children were being encouraged to play in sand or join the choir at break time.
The article goes on to say parents have condemned the school for using health and safety as an excuse to remove the freedom to spontaneously run in the playground.
Since the ban the school has reported a 30 per cent drop in first aid incidents and an 80 per cent drop in bad behaviour.
So with these results, surely this is a good thing? I don’t think so.
Thinking back to when I was in my Portsmouth primary school, I remember having a plaster applied to my bloodied and grazed knee because I fell over after running across the playground and losing my footing.
I also remember having a bump to my head after my friend and I ran into each other. But these incidents taught my young and developing mind a good lesson, to be more careful.
My daughters sometimes come home from school with exactly the same injuries as I suffered thanks to a fall in the playground or a head bump with a friend and I’m pretty certain their children will too one day and so will their children.
As an adult, running only usually happens as a form of exercise or when you see your train about to leave the station.
For children, running isn’t a chore and it’s exercise without feeling like it.
So I’ll encourage my daughters to run and when they get injured I’ll be there to help and comfort them. But I’ll encourage them to keep running with the advice to look where they are going.
Poole bridges the generation gap
As an after-school treat, we decided to take the girls to the Pyramids at Southsea.
It’s always a pleasure going there, mainly because of the memories it brings back from when I was a child. Most Saturday afternoons in the ’90s were spent there.
It still has the blue and green flumes, it still has the klaxon that signals the wave machine is about to kick in, and you still need a pound coin for the lockers.
I’ve mentioned before in this column about my memories and I’ve recalled that my favourite part of the swimming centre was the Sidewinder flume.
I’d visited with the kids a few times in the past few years, but this ‘ride’ was never open. I don’t know why.
But I was pleased that this time it was, and my daughter Caitlin loved it.
And predictably she had more than one go.
It is still a place perfect for children to have fun just like it was 20 years ago and I think I still enjoy the place just as much as they do.