Aim: This study gathered views of 10 to 12-years-old pupils about their play experiences before and after transition to secondary school, comparing access to their right to play.
Method: A multiple-case study design was used to gather views of six Year 6 primary pupils and six Year 7 secondary pupils living in the same community in the United Kingdom (UK). Six workshops, including a focus group, were conducted with each year group.
Findings: Qualitative data from both focus groups were analysed thematically, individually and across year groups. Findings indicated that temporal, spatial and psychological factors affected both Year 6 and Year 7 pupils’ play access. Year 6 pupils were more satisfied with their play opportunities and reported more time to play.
Limitations: The small-scale size of this study limits drawing conclusions. Data were collected in the summer term and therefore the weather and point in the school year may have been influential.
Conclusions: Findings suggested that, for the pupils involved, play opportunities appeared to decrease upon transition to secondary school. It is therefore important that barriers to play across age groups are considered and addressed, to ensure that all children can realise their right to play. Educational psychologists (EPs) can raise awareness of the benefits of play and the potential impact of limited play opportunities for older children.