TCELT Research Seminar

Published on 9 November 2022

Using drama to support pupils’ transitions from primary to secondary school: interface between scholarship, research and practice

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The transitions from primary to secondary school are significant for pupils. Extant research indicates that drama develops pupils’ well-being, social skills, agency, motivation and ability to solve problems and manage change. However, apart from a handful of studies, not much is known about facilitating transitions using drama.  

The aim of this pilot study is to investigate the use of drama to support the transitions of pupils from primary to secondary school. 


The study employed a longitudinal research design. It was conducted in a Scottish local authority in partnership with schools, local authority employees and a drama specialist. It involved two associated primary schools plus an additional group of P7 students with identified social emotional behavioural needs (SEBN). For the mainstream schools, four workshops took place in May/June 2022 and one workshop in September 2022. Data were gathered at three timepoints: before intervention (TP1), after intervention (TP2), and follow-up in secondary school (TP3) (excluding SEBN group).  


This paper presents findings from a sub-set of data: an evaluation of pupils’ experiences of participating in the drama workshops at primary school (TP2). Aspects considered include students’ learning, feelings, and confidence about moving to secondary school and how (if at all) the workshops were beneficial.  

It also presents the experience of working across research, scholarship and practice.  


This study contributes to our understanding of the use of drama to support the transitions from primary to secondary school. It also highlights the importance of being cognizant of the aforementioned interface. 

Story category Research