Shining the Spotlight - Partnership for Children

We are really proud of our members and will jump at every chance to shout about them and their achievements! This is a dedicated place to showcase members and to shine the spotlight on their projects.

A boy sits on a climbing frame that looks like a train.This time, we're looking at Partnership for Children. 

How it works

Partnership for Children is a registered charity that was established in 2001. Our aim is to promote the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children, helping them to develop social and communication skills, coping mechanisms and emotional resilience.

We do this by providing teachers, parents and carers with skills, support and resources.

Our main activity is Zippy’s Friends, a year-long, whole-class programme which helps young children (5-7 year olds) to develop coping and social skills. It addresses issues such as anger, jealousy, communication, bullying, change and loss. Through games, activities and role plays, children learn to find ways: to express anger or frustration without hurting anyone — or themselves; to find the words to say when they feel sad or scared — and the confidence to tell someone; and to work together to stop bullying or to befriend children who feel lonely.

In response to a chronic lack of resources for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), we have produced an Inclusion Supplement for use in mainstream schools, for instance to make activities more visual or tactile, and a more detailed SEND Supplement for use in Special Schools with children whose needs are more severe or complex (7-19 year olds).

What has been achieved?

We work in 16 areas of the UK and, through partners, in 32 other countries. 1.5 million children have benefited from our programmes so far.

We have an established track record and our programmes have all been evaluated through randomized control trials (RCTs) in a variety of cultures. RCTs have shown statistically significant improvements in coping and social skills for children taking part in the programmes, as compared to control groups. Other findings included: increased emotional literacy, improved class climate, a reduction in bullying, and improved academic performance. Zippy’s Friends has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

Our initial trials with children with special educational needs and disabilities produced encouraging results but highlighted the need for resources to be adapted and expanded. As a result, we developed and tested hundreds of new resources and trialled them in schools. In 2014, we received funding for an 18-month evaluation by the University of Birmingham. Their key findings were that the Zippy’s Friends for SEND programme is both feasible and acceptable to children, their teachers and parents. Teachers’ ratings indicated that children’s social skills, emotional literacy, and emotional recognition improved.

Zippy’s Friends for SEND is fantastic. Pupils really enjoy the stories and more language has developed due to the programme. 

SEND Teacher, Surrey

Great resources ready to run with – so rare for SEND! Thank you for making something to help SEN teachers. 

SEND Teacher, Birmingham

Zippy’s Friends has beneficial effects for children with SEND, particularly in the areas of self-awareness, ability to regulate emotions and relationship skills.

University of Birmingham

Next steps

We will promote and disseminate our adapted programme for Children with SEND.  

After four years of development and evaluation, we aim to reach more children by embedding Zippy’s Friends for SEND in more special schools and specialist resource provisions nationally.

More information


Twitter: @PfChildren