Positive Play support programme

The Derbyshire Positive Play support programme is a unique early intervention programme designed to raise the self esteem and emotional wellbeing of shy, timid, disaffected and challenging children and young people − a home grown programme of over 20 years. 


The Positive Play Support Centre is on the campus of Sharley Park Community Primary School in Danesmoor. The Centre of Excellence has a suite of rooms including a rainbow room, enchanted forest, a sensory magic room, office and courtyard. It also has a comprehensive library for the use of schools and practitioners who are supported by the Positive Play team.

One to one sessions are delivered in a sensory environment using the natural medium of play. The structured sessions are tailored to meet individual needs, assisting in developing, listening and communication skills, addressing anger management issues and helping children and young people to deal with the consequences of their actions. It is designed to equip children and young people with the necessary resilience, social and life skills to manage the issues that confront them enabling them to access the curriculum and achieve their potential.

Positive Play-Support aims and objectives

  • to allow young people a space to express and communicate feelings and difficulties in their lives, through a variety of media in constructive rather than aggressive ways and in a safe non-threatening environment
  • to help young people feel good about themselves and raise self-esteem by providing activities that look at their strengths and by valuing what they do and making it special
  • to provide a non-authoritarian, supportive, reliable, safe, unconditional relationship within schools and other settings
  • to provide some of the early experiences that may have been missed but which are necessary for formal education and social interaction
  • to help young people acquire the complex range of life skills needed to achieve their full potential.

Sheffield Hallam University have conducted two evaluations of the intervention, the second one being a three year longitudinal study by Dr J. Empson.

"There is statistically supported evidence that positive behaviour change occurs in children who have participated specifically in the Positive Play-Support Intervention"

In conclusion it was stated that the effectiveness was proven that:

"unless a Child or Young Person can manage their social, emotional and behavioural baggage, their achievement in school and their success in life will be significantly limited."

Ofsted reports defined the programme as

"an early intervention tool, reducing disaffection and encouraging inclusive education."

Comprehensive bespoke training is available to schools and settings the throughout the country, enabling practitioners to support the emotional well-being of children and young people in their setting. 

For further information please contact the programme manager, Sharon Urben: email: positive.play@derbyshire.gov.uk or tel: 01246 862854.