Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Bullying is a public health priority but to date, there is a lack of evidence-based anti-bullying programmes or interventions designed for use in special schools. KiVa is a successful anti-bullying programme for mainstream schools currently used in 23 countries. This brief paper outlines the co-development and adaptation of two KiVa lessons into KiVa-SEND lessons and their implementation in two special schools in the UK. One school supports pupils with a primary need of Autism, the other supports pupils with severe and complex learning disabilities. Engagement with the lessons was high from both pupils and staff; the content was perceived as acceptable by staff, complementing the curriculum and perceived as suitable for their pupils. Minor adjustments need to be made to ensure all pupils can comprehend and access the concepts. Further development of the KiVa-SEND programme and testing its potential effectiveness to reduce bullying and associated negative outcomes in special schools is now warranted. Key Points There is a lack of evidence-based anti-bullying programmes for use in special schools. This paper details the piloting of an adaptation of KiVa (a successful, evidence-based anti-bullying programme for mainstream schools) for use in special schools. The adaption (KiVa-SEND) was a co-design between a couple of special school teachers, and educational and psychological researchers to ensure the materials and approach were in line with school requirements and teaching practices. The KiVa-SEND lesson engagement was excellent from the 12 staff and 62 learners involved and the materials were deemed acceptable via direct feedback and researcher observations. Suggestions were provided on how to make the materials even more suitable for diverse learning needs. KiVa-SEND has the potential to be embedded within the special school curriculum and then be tested for its effectiveness at reducing bullying and associated negative outcomes of bullying amongst the special school population.

Original publication




Journal article


Support for Learning

Publication Date