The Starfish Advocacy Project

STARFISH – Speaking up, Telling our stories, Achieving our best, Realising our potential  

Starfish is a schools based service supporting primary aged children with communication needs or Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities to improve their communication, life and learning skills. The project helps children to build the skills and develop their confidence to be able to participate more fully in the classroom and school life.

The project aims to enable children to develop their communication, narrative, social and educational skills in order to reach their full potential. Children at risk of social exclusion have access to an enriching programme of support which enables them to develop communication and life skills, leading to an improvement in emotional well-being, increased participation in school and the wider community and engagement with learning.

The project method is through small group teaching and practice of oral personal narrative skills, including: setting the context; describing clearly using words to create pictures for the listener; naming relevant emotions and identifying the impact the event had on the speaker. The small group learning culminates in a video recording and live delivery of a personal oral narrative to peers and adults.

The project began when Every Parent & Child (EPC) noticed that the work they were doing as part of the SENDIASS and Independent Support services required children to be able to advocate for themselves at school meetings. EPC approached the Boshier Hinton Foundation to fund a pilot project to develop the skills children would need. The pilot project ran in Fleecefield primary school and was a great success. The current project is running in Oakthorpe primary school and is being funded by EPC. The project has been jointly developed and delivered by ‘Every Parent & Child’ and ‘Speech and Language Services’ (Enfield NHS and Enfield Council) in partnership with the pilot schools.

To take part in the project

If you would like Starfish to run in your school please contact Lynne McKinstry to discuss it at lynne.mckinstry@epandc.org.uk