We’d all benefit from encouraging children to go outside and take risks

Stop popping the balloons. Forget the dew on the grass. Bring back the conkers and the yo-yos. And ditch those hi-vis jackets that make every child look like Bob the Builder. It’s time, says the chief inspector of schools, to blast the bugles, sound the trumpets and chuck out the cotton wool. It’s time, in fact, to set the children of this nation free.

Perhaps she didn’t mention bugles, but at the weekend, Amanda Spielman did mention the “dew on the grass” that had led to a cancelled sports day, and the conkers, yo-yos and the potentially too dangerous balloons that were being snatched from children’s childhoods, along, she implied, with their human rights. There had, she said, been “an over-zealous approach to health and safety” in schools and it was time to bring in a bit of balance. It was time to distinguish between “real and imagined risk”; time for children to develop a bit of “resilience” and “grit”.

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