Creating and evaluating transition from primary to high school utilising children's rights.

  • Nicola Fairhall

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Background: Children's rights are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In recent years, there has been increased emphasis on children and young people's participation and upon accessing their views. Unicef has developed a 'rights-respecting' school award (RRSA) to support embedding the UNCRC in schools; many students access this approach at primary school though move to a secondary/high school without this rights-based framework. Following an investigation of children's views on children's rights more broadly, this thesis evaluates a rights-based transition from primary school to high school for pupils who have attended a RRSA primary school. Methods/participants: An evaluative systematic literature review was carried out to investigate children's views on children's rights. Action research was carried out with key school staff in a primary school and a cohort of Year 6 pupils in order to create and evaluate a rights-based transition to high school. Data were collected through a researcher diary, pupil questionnaires, staff focus group, and a small group interview with four Year 7 pupils following transition to high school. Analysis/findings: In the systematic literature review, nine papers were reviewed and themes within children's views and factors that may affect these were identified. These were developed into a hierarchical progression of rights realisation. Findings from the empirical research identified the utility of, and barriers to, a rights-based transition to high school, from the perspective of staff and pupils, prior to, during and after transition. Conclusion/implications: Implications for practice and further research including ways to develop children's rights in school transition and in a wider context were considered. Findings were disseminated to school staff linked to the empirical research and a plan for dissemination to a wider audience through Unicef's RRSA was identified, including use of a 1-page infographic representing the rights-based transition process.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Catharine Atkinson (Supervisor)


  • action research
  • school
  • transition
  • children's rights
  • children's views

Cite this