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A recent study commissioned by Play England suggests that there are huge benefits in children using playgrounds and attending after school clubs, with benefits far outweighing the cost to provide both facilities. The research looked at studies published around the world and made estimates based on their amalgamated findings.
They discovered that:
An adventure playground provides a good quality play space for children to take risks, explore, and experiment. The type of play an adventure playground encourages promotes the healthy development of children – physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and creatively.
While short term, this translates to improved health and development, in the longer term, children using playgrounds attain the goals of Key Stage 1 earlier and this in turn leads to higher attainment at Key Stages 2 and 3. In real terms this means that they generally achieve better GCSE results which in turn gives them economic advantage in later life.
After school clubs were also studied and Play England again found that after school clubs run by trained staff lead to improved GCSE results which in turn leads to higher earnings in later life. An investment of £1 in a playground leads to social benefits worth £1.32. After school clubs are proportionally cheaper to create and here, every £1 invested in after school clubs leads to £210 in social benefits.
These findings show just how valuable the provision of playgrounds and after school clubs are in providing long term benefits to creating a healthy and successful population.