Small powerful everyday things

Conversations of humanity in the SEND system

Through storytelling, people with different perspectives can come together and share their common humanity, hopes and goals. This publication features 12 true stories told by special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) professionals, learners and their families.

Small powerful everyday things - conversations of humanity in the SEND system

Key areas of learning

SEND learner and teacher with technology

Whilst the perspectives of our storytellers are vastly different, their stories reveal a unanimous goal: everyone within SEND wants to create a more supportive and humane system that places those most in need at its heart.

The report identifies key areas of learning, including: 

  • Being more self-reflective: staff said that by telling their story and taking a step back, they were able to refocus on what mattered most in their jobs to support learners; 
  • Changes to practice: by listening deeply staff improved ways of working with parents and learners, leading to more learner centred learning pathways; 
  • Improving organisational culture and staff wellbeing: staff found that storytelling activities helped staff build positive relationships and foster a kinder, more humane culture at work; 
  • Helping to find voices: by telling their stories, participants said they felt re-energised and empowered, and even able to help others. 

The act of telling stories, listening and being listened to in itself, has a positive impact on those learning and working in the SEND system.

Access the full report

It is clear from these stories that systemic reform must happen at all levels in SEND, but there is also the hope that small powerful everyday things can make positive change happen.