Special Schools

Special Needs School


Pupils whose needs are more severe and complex usually study in special schools. Research has shown that these pupils are at much greater risk of developing mental health problems later in life, and so they are arguably in greatest need of resources to promote their positive mental health as soon as possible. A survey of special schools in England noted that “schools kept reporting that addressing mental health and emotional wellbeing was one of their most pressing challenges.”

We have responded to that challenge by developing a Special Needs Supplement to Zippy's Friends. This is a much more extensive resource than the Inclusion Supplement for mainstream schools, and recognises the wide diversity of abilities, needs and ages. For instance, each of the stories in Zippy’s Friends has been adapted for four levels of learning, with extensive use of Widgit Symbols.

The Supplement includes:

• Ideas and advice for teachers 
• Activities suitable for different ability levels 
• Dozens of visual aids 
• Games 
• Social skills stories 
• Stickers 
• “Zippy Tips” cards to remind pupils of what they have learned.

We provide a wide range of resources so that teachers can select those which are most suitable and helpful for their pupils.

Here are a couple of examples – a dominoes game which helps pupils to identify feelings, and My Circle of Help, which pupils make to remind themselves of people to whom they can turn for support (click on the images to enlarge them). 

Dominoes Game

My Circle of Help

A range of activities have been developed as alternatives for each activity in the original programme. 

The programme has been developed in collaboration with special schools with support from the National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS). National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS),

Teachers’ feedback was very positive, with approval ratings averaging 88%, and the resources have been used successfully with pupils aged from six to 17.

The Special Needs Supplement has been independently evaluated by the University of Birmingham thanks to a generous grant from The Judith Trust.  Eight special schools from London, Birmingham, Surrey and Northamptonshire were recruited into the study, and teachers were specially trained to teach the programme. 

The findings of this study suggest that the Special Needs Supplement to Zippy's Friends "can have beneficial effects for children with SEN, particularly in the areas of self-awareness, ability to regulate emotions and relationship skills".


For more information about Zippy’s Friends for children with SEN, please contact Partnership for Children:

Email: info@partnershipforchildren.org.uk

Tel: 020 8974 6004

Special Needs logo

I’d just like to say Thank You for giving us resources which are appropriate for special schools, you’ve obviously put a lot of time into making these appropriate.’ – Special School Teacher


The success of this is truly stunning. There are clear indications of the children displaying empathy. This is an area of great difficulty for children with autistic spectrum disorder.’ –Special School Head Teacher

Partnership for Children, 26-27 Market Place, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1JH, England
Telephone : 00 44 (0) 20 8974 6004 - Registered Charity number: 1089810