The 11 Special Educational Needs (SEN) Regional Partnerships were established in 2000 by the Department for Education and Skills to develop better regional planning arrangements for SEN. One of the objectives is to develop more inclusive policies and practices and it has been a great pleasure and privilege in the South East Regional SEN (SERSEN) Partnership to work with Trisha Waters in support of this aim through her Therapeutic Storywriting project.
We have been able to offer teachers in schools in the SERSEN region the opportunity to participate in exciting and innovative work which builds upon Trisha’s research and practical experience in education and mental health. More than 60 teachers in mainstream primary schools in 10 of the Local Education Authorities across the South East and South Central Regions have been able to benefit from training to set up Therapeutic Storywriting groups in their own schools. The enthusiasm for the setting up of Therapeutic Storywriting groups across the region has already had a positive effect in these schools and the early results in addressing and improving emotional literacy and academic literacy are most encouraging.
Inclusion in school is not an optional extra and the schools engaged in the project are demonstrating a commitment to individual children within their own environment.
This model supports entirely the approaches outlined in the green paper Every Child Matters (2003) and the supporting SEN Action Programme. Diversity is the norm in today’s classrooms – every child, whatever their background or ability, should be given the opportunity to achieve and all schools are expected to play their part. Therapeutic Storywriting offers some joined up thinking in the coordination of education and health around the needs of individual young people with emotional difficulties. Within the SERSEN region we are looking forward to the development of this work having a measurable benefit to teachers, children and their families.
SERSEN Partnership Manager
Surrey, November 2003