KiVa bullying prevention in Wales


The Social Research Unit at Dartington, in partnership with the Centre for Evidence-based Early Intervention at Bangor University and the Children’s Early Intervention Trust, is implementing and evaluating the KiVa bullying prevention programme in primary schools in Wales with support from the programme developer, Christina Salmivalli.


KiVa is an evidence-based programme for children aged 7-15 that was developed at the University of Turku, Finland. It includes:


  • a whole school introductory assembly
  • a launch meeting for parents and a parents website
  • 10 monthly lessons, each lasting one and a half hours
  • online games to help pupils rehearse ways of dealing with bullying
  • playground staff wearing KiVa tops to remind children of the school commitment to the programme
  • school posters
  • a KiVa team – typically comprising teachers and associated staff such as school counsellors and education psychologists – to deal with incidents of bullying


The programme is being implemented in Years 3-6 in 21 primary schools across Wales. Schools were randomly allocated to implement in the first year (2013-2014, n=11) or the second year (2014-2015, n=10).


All materials, training and coaching are provided and all materials for children and parents have been translated and produced in Welsh as part of this project. The randomised controlled trial evaluation will assess the programme’s impact on rates of bullying and being victimised as well as pupils’ emotional well-being and school attendance.


The project also involves developing a model that would enable the programme to be rolled out across Wales by ensuring quality whilst being affordable. This entails consultation with key stakeholders, including policy makers, anti-bullying NGOs, teachers, and parents. It focuses on:


  • how to build demand for the programme
  • the programme’s fit with the cultural context and educational curriculum
  • how to support implementation (including training and technical assistance)


The project is funded by the Big Lottery Innovation Fund for Wales and runs from March 2013 to July 2015. It will benefit approximately 2,000 pupils aged 7-11 years who will receive the programme in its entirety. It will also benefit an additional 1,000 plus pupils aged 4-6 in participating schools who will be exposed to the whole-school element of the programme and KiVa team activities where appropriate.