TDA Story Links Final Summary Report

Website: is the website of the Centre for Therapeutic Storywriting.

Therapeutic Storywriting is an innovative and creative way for SEN teachers to support children whose emotional difficulties are getting in the way of their academic learning. By working with the metaphor in stories – written both by the child and the teacher – emotional issues are addressed in a way that does not overwhelm the child.

This website is written and maintained by Trisha Waters, the author of the Story Links project.

Book: Attachment in the Classroom

Geddes, H

2005 Worth, London

Report: The Impact of Parental Involvement: Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review

Desforges & Abouchaar

2003 DfES publications, Nottingham

Book: Playing and Reality

Winnicott, D

1999 Routledge, London

Winnicott is concerned with the springs of imaginative living and of cultural experience in every sense, with whatever determines an individual’s capacity to live creatively and to find life worth living.

‘He was a man who could be ‘popular’ and completely accessible without ever ceasing to be profound, a man who ranged audaciously far and wide in the realms of thought but who always came back to home base, the psychology of the child.’
– Oliver Sacks, The New York Times Book Review

Book: Therapeutic Storywriting (A Practical Guide to Developing Emotional Literacy in Primary Schools)

Waters, T

2004 David Fulton, London

Literacy work can provide a therapeutic context in which to support children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in mainstream schools. This text provides a clear theoretical rationale for therapeutic storywriting.

By the author of the Story Links Project.

Book: A Secure Base

Bowlby, J

1997 Routledge, London

Controversial yet powerfully influential to this day, this classic collection of Bowlby’s lectures offers important guidelines for child rearing based on the crucial role of early relationships.

Book: Inside I’m Hurting

Bomber, L

2007 Worth, London

Inside I’m Hurting provides educational professionals with a much-needed classroom handbook of new strategies, practical tools and the confidence for supporting these children from an attachment perspective, thus promoting inclusion in the school system.

Contents include: how attachment difficulties can affect a child’s ability to learn; providing an ‘additional attachment figure’ in schools; the benefits and challenges of getting alongside children who have experienced trauma and loss; transitions during the school day; permanency and constancy; being explicit; regulating arousal levels; handling conflict; wondering aloud; lowering the effects of shame; working with transition from primary to secondary phase; developing effective home/school partnership (includes a photocopiable initial meeting prompt card); providing staff support; recommendations for future action.

Video: Research and Development in SEN – Working with Families

Three research projects focusing on the relationship between schools and families, with an emphasis on SEN, are used to improve teacher training.

At the University of Chichester, Trisha Waters is working on Story Links, a literacy project that uses a partnership with parents to target behavioural problems.

At the University of Northampton a project is providing trainee teachers with more information about extended schools and what is being done to encourage families to get involved. Another project there looks at how teachers can work with fathers in developing boy-friendly teaching.

The programme also looks at what researchers do to spread the word about what they have learned and how such knowledge can best be used to inform practice in schools.

This is the first of three programmes exploring the work of educational researchers who aim to improve teacher training by developing projects relevant to SEN.

View video:

Book: The Uses of Enchantment

Dr Bruno Bettelheim

1991 Penguin Books, London

The Uses of Enchantment book cover

Wicked stepmothers and beautiful princesses, magic forests and enchanted towers, little pigs and big bad wolves: Fairy tales have been an integral part of childhood for hundreds of years. But what do they really mean? In this award-winning work of criticism, renowned psychoanalyst Dr Bruno Bettelheim presents a thought provoking and stimulating exploration of the best-known fairy stories. He reveals the true content of the stories and shows how children can use them to cope with their baffling emotions and anxieties.