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Irie Classroom Toolbox: a study protocol for a cluster-randomised trial of a universal violence prevention programme in Jamaican preschools
  1. Helen Baker-Henningham1,2,
  2. Marcos Vera-Hernández3,
  3. Harold Alderman4,
  4. Susan Walker2
  1. 1School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK
  2. 2Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica
  3. 3Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies, Institute of Fiscal Studies, London, UK
  4. 4International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Baker-Henningham, h.henningham{at}


Introduction We aim to determine the effectiveness of a school-based violence prevention programme implemented in Jamaican preschools, on reducing the levels of aggression among children at school, and violence against children by teachers.

Methods and analysis This is a 2-arm, single-blind, cluster-randomised controlled trial with parallel assignment. Clusters are 76 preschools in Kingston, and all teachers and classrooms in the selected schools are included in the study. In addition, a random sample of up to 12 children in the 4-year-old classes have been selected for evaluation of child-level outcomes. The intervention involves training teachers in classroom behaviour management and in strategies to promote children's social-emotional competence. Training is delivered through five full-day workshops, monthly in-class coaching over 2 school terms, and weekly text messages. The primary outcome measures are: (1) observed levels of child aggression and (2) observed violence against children by teachers. Secondary outcomes include observations of the levels of children's prosocial behaviour and the quality of the classroom environment, teachers’ reports of their mental health, teacher-reported child mental health, direct tests of children's self-regulation and child attendance.

Ethics and dissemination If this intervention were effective at improving the caregiving environment of young children in school, this would have significant implications for the prevention of child mental health problems, and prevention of violence against children in low and middle-income countries where services are often limited. The intervention is integrated into the school system and involves training existing staff, and thus, represents an appropriate strategy for large-scale implementation and benefits at the population level. Ethical consent for the study was given by the School of Psychology Ethics and Research Committee, Bangor University (ref: 2014-14167), and by the University of the West Indies Ethics Committee (ref: ECP 50,14/15).

Trial registration number ISRCTN11968472; Pre-results.

  • violence prevention
  • low and middle-income countries
  • preschool
  • cluster randomised trial

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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