BPCN was created around 16 years ago to support a rapidly expanding sector of playcare. Our passion as an organisation has always been to improve the quality of play and provision in out of school settings. Since those early days the organisation has been proud to work with many  clubs to improve the quality of the play and care they offer to the children and families accessing the service.

For many years our Quality Development Mentors worked with Aiming High, produced by Kids Club Network, which then became Aiming Higher from 4Children. Around 100 settings achieved accreditation through these schemes.

2010 sees BPCN mentoring out of school settings through the Quality in Play programme. This heavily play focused scheme encourages play providers to challenge and improve their policy and practice, Quality in Play has become recognised as the leading quality assurance system for the staffed play sector.

Quality in Play is divided up into 11 quality areas;


BPCN have a team of dedicated and trained QIP mentors, if you would like to find out more about this quality assurance programme or our mentoring services please contact us.


The Go Play Programme

This programme looks at the individual play needs of each setting with a mentor working directly with staff, children and young people to model practical ways to create innovative and fun spaces to play.


  • Raise the quality of play opportunities in out of school, breakfast and holiday clubs.
  • Develop a clear understanding amongst the workforce of high quality play practice.
  • Raise the profile of play and playworkers.
  • Consult with children in line with Article 31 of the UN convention of the rights of the child.


  • To improve the quality of play with clear achievable goals in line with the setting’s.
  • Focused Improvement Plan.
  • Give practical examples of good play practice.
  • Carry out detailed observations.
  • To identify with settings their current play practices and then establish steps to improve this practice.
  • To share all mentor recording with the setting to ensure transparency.
  • Support leadership by demonstrating high quality play practice.
  • Encourage staff to effectively consult with children.

Mentors will support the setting to create a variety of different environments, investigating senses, the play curriculum and other environmental factors. The emphasis is always on ensuring that children are empowered and at the centre of the process with consultation and effective participation an underpinning aspect of the programme. Key aims of the programme are to introduce new ideas for activities or how to use existing materials/loose parts in a different or innovative way. The play types are introduced or re-visited along with the playwork principles and the rights of the child to develop a clear understanding amongst staff of high quality play practice.


‘the two weeks helped us to introduce new ideas for play in
the setting and how to use the resources we already have’

‘it was an eye-opener and an enjoyable experience. It made me realise that
staff need to step back and let children have more control and free play’

For more information on the Go Play Programme please contact:
Emma Payne, Business Development Manager, Tel: 0121 236 29127 Mob: 07956 933633 Email: emma@bpcn.org.uk


The Play In Parks project

Play in Parks (PIP) is an open access scheme providing play opportunities in parks located within disadvantaged areas of Birmingham and is aimed at children aged 5 to 13. PIP is managed by Birmingham PlayCare Network and funded by the Big Lottery Fund

PIP has previously run for nine years on an annual basis over 4 weeks during the summer school holidays and 1 week over the school Easter holidays in different parks across Birmingham.

During Play In Parks there is a great range of playful activities and games for local children and their families, our Playworkers wear uniforms with the Play in Parks and BPCN logos.

This project gives the local children the opportunity to climb trees, play team games and engage in messy play. The children and the community were given the chance to revisit gaps in their playful childhoods. The project aims to empower local residents to reclaim their play areas and utilise one of the communities’ recreation spaces to its full potential. PiPs for this Autumn 2012 is being delivered in the following areas:

*Victoria Common, Northfield, Birmingham, B31 2LB
Monday 22nd – Friday 26th October 2012 between 11.00am – 4.30pm*

*Bloomsbury Park, Oliver Street, Nechells, Birmingham B7
Monday 22nd – Friday 26th October 2012 between 11.00am – 4.30pm*

If you require any further information please contact: Rebecca Coley on 0121 236 2917

  • Children’s freedom and control
  • The physical play environment
  • The human play environment
  • Reflective playwork practice
  • Workforce development
  • The law and regulation
  • Project and resource management
  • Clear play aims and values
  • Communicating effectively
  • Working in the community
  • The bigger picture