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Watford council punts parents from playground

It's just not appropriate, OK?

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The final push toward state control of children began this week in Watford, as the Council declared two adventure playgrounds were no-go areas for parents.

Council rules excluding adults apply to two undercover play areas - Harwoods and Harebreaks.

Early reports suggested that parents now needed to be CRB checked in order to supervise their own children. This was denied by a spokeswoman for the Council, who explained that it was simply inappropriate for parents to remain on site.

She said: "These are places where children aged 5 to 15 may play freely.

"Parents drop children off and it is then the job of play workers to manage the children. If adults are on site, it prevents them looking after the children, as they have to spend time managing the adults, which is not their job.

She further explained that this situation is no different from that which operates in schools or nurseries and parents would not expect to be allowed to come into those places. There were other "similar" venues for children to play in, including parks and community centres – although the facilities on offer at these were not identical to those offered in the adventure play centres.

She did, however, confirm that the Council did not run other facilities of this type that parents could access freely.

According to Claude Knights, director of children's charity Kidscape, there is already too much polarisation between adults and children. She added: "There is growing suspicion and lack of trust. Do we really want to increase the number of spaces where parents are forced to hand over family relationships to officials?" ®

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