SERSEN Therapeutic Storywriting Project


Project Overview

SERSEN was one of eleven Special Educational Needs (SEN) Regional Partnerships established in 2000 by the Department for Education and Skills to develop better regional planning arrangements for SEN. In Autumn 2003 the South East Region Special Educational Needs (SERSEN) Partnership sponsored a Therapeutic Storywriting Project.

In Autumn 2003 SERSEN organised a pilot training for over 50 SENCOs and SEN teachers from 8 education authorities in Therapeutic Storywriting. The training used the Therapeutic Storywriting model, designed to support children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties develop emotional literacy through storywriting. This model was initially developed by Trisha Waters at Sussex University where her research showed that, in addition to supporting the child’s emotional literacy, it can also develop the child’s motivation and skills in writing. This pilot training was the second phase of the SERSEN Therapeutic Storywriting Project– the initial phase involved the writing of the teacher’s bookTherapeutic Storywriting by Trisha Waters, published by David Fulton in May 2004.

The aim of the 3-day training was to support teachers set up Therapeutic Storywriting groups at Key stage 2 in their own schools. For this reason the training days were spread over a few weeks to allow teachers to bring their experience of setting up groups and examples of children’s stories to the 2nd and 3rd days of training.

Five 3-day courses were offered in the SERSEN region. Four of these were available for teachers in the 6 SERSEN LEAs i.e. Kent, Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, Brighton & Hove, with the fifth course offered to teachers in the neighbouring South and Central Regional Inclusion Partnership (SCRIP). Each course was limited to 12 participants to allow time for teachers to discuss the experiential aspects of the course as well as issues arising from newly set-up Therapeutic Storywriting groups.

The following year SERSEN  commissioned an evaluation of the impact of Therapeutic Storywriting on pupils’ learning.  This report found that the groups

  • Enabled pupils to use  writing to process difficult feelings
  • Encouraged pupils to develop co-operative and trusting relationships with peers
  • Supported listening and speaking skills
  • Increased pupils’ concentration and motivation to write

View full report: Writing Stories with Feeling

  Writing stories with feeling ( 773.1 KiB )

Support for Learning journal article 

  Support for Learning article: An evaluation of Therapeutic Storywriting Groups ( 93.9 KiB )



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Therapeutic Story Writing book coverTherapeutic Storywriting – A Practical Guide to Developing Emotional Literacy.

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