‘Safety rules sending children off the rails’

UK Telegraph 21 Feb 07
A generation of children are going off the rails as they seek increasingly dangerous thrills beyond the “stifling” safety of the school gates, experts warn today. The construction of ultra-safe playgrounds, coupled with bans on snowball fights, conkers and tag in the school yard may be exposing children to extra harm or even a life of crime, it is claimed.At a conference today, Barnardo’s, the children’s charity, and Tim Gill, the former director of Play England and a Government adviser, will say that the “compensation culture” has had a dire effect on children. The comments come a fortnight after almost one million schoolchildren were forced to stay at home when just 4 in of snow paralysed the education system. Many schools closed in case pupils slipped in the playground.In a further surrender to the so-called cotton wool culture, it was also revealed this month that one Lincoln primary had banned playground games such as kiss chase and tag because playtime was becoming too rough. Other schools have forced children to wear goggles during conker fights, banned lunchtime kickabouts to stop people being hit by stray balls and cracked down on science lesson experiments in case pupils are burnt. One Government-backed study in November said teachers were now so scared of being sued if a class day out goes wrong that they are increasingly taking pupils on “trips” in school grounds.