Children's Views on their Play Access at Home, in School and within the Community

  • Rebecca Finney

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stated that children have a right to play. Despite this, there are continuing concerns around children's access to free play. There has been limited focus on gaining children's views about their play access, particularly older children. In paper 1, a systematic literature review (SLR) sought to elicit children's views on factors affecting their access to play at home, school and in the community. Nine papers published between 1992-2017 were identified using The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) framework. Papers were evaluated for methodological quality, appropriateness and relevance of focus. The SLR explored children's views in relation to a contemporary model of temporal, spatial and psychological factors affecting play access and found there were significant overlaps between the domains. Factors were then explored further from a social and ecological perspective. Two conceptual models were developed based on the findings. Paper 2, an empirical investigation using a multiple-case study design, gathered the views of Year 6 pupils and Year 7 pupils (10 to 12-years-old) living in the same community around their access to play. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants from one primary school and one secondary school in North-West England. Six workshops, including a focus group, were conducted with each year-group. Each group consisted of six participants. Qualitative data from both focus groups were thematically analysed individually, then compared across year groups using the revised model of temporal, spatial and psychological factors affecting play access proposed in paper 1. The findings detail how Year 6 and Year 7 pupils access their right to play at home, in school and within the community. Similarities and differences between each group's play access are identified. Implications for educational psychologists (EPs) are discussed. Paper 3 considers the concept of evidence-based practice in relation to the role of EPs. Effective methods of dissemination are identified and the implications for the current research considered. A dissemination strategy for sharing findings with key stakeholders, the wider EP community and other professionals is outlined.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCatharine Atkinson (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • community
  • home
  • school
  • children's views
  • Article 31
  • play access

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