Specialist Education

We are currently involved in projects that ACoRNS are leading with and are paired with Psychology Masters students and Educational Psychology Doctorate students who support us to complete these projects


Digital 'I Am' Stories


We have been focussing on the use of Digital Stories to support young people from Hill House School to move successfully into their new adult home.


Digital Stories consist of a short video about the young person. The stories are based mainly on child-led interests and exploration rather than adult-directed prompts or staged activities. Digital storytelling is developed from the ideas of Lambert who argues that digital stories are natural vehicles for understanding and reflection and for creating meaning, as well as enabling voice, agency and a sense of belonging. Children’s voices and views are, therefore, at the centre of the research through highlighting their unique trajectories via individual digital stories. The stories illustrate both the positive experiences and the challenges that children and their families face as well as model how these challenges are mitigated by school-based processes. It is vital that Digital Stories are co-created with the child/young person, families, teachers and their current support staff.


We created 3 Digital Stories over the course of a year with support from the ACoRNS team, who then wrote up all of the findings as part of their research.


There is a framework that can be followed to support with creating Digital Stories.



We created a 'Day in the Life' video story for each young person who was moving on from Hill House so that their new team could watch this and learn all about them before they moved in. Video footage is so powerful and can provide so much more than reports and paperwork. So often paperwork for moves focuses on what individuals are unable to do and about behaviour that challenges. As much as it is important to share that information, the Digital Story allows people to see all the things that the individual is able to do and excel at and enables young people to have a voice and be part of their moving plan


The process:


• Identify the individual that you are making the Digital Story for


• Discuss with family, social workers, the young person (if appropriate), staff team


• Discuss the plan at pre-admission meetings


• Discuss the use of Digital Stories with new placement


• Mental Capacity Assessment & Best Interest Meeting


• Consent forms signed to agree to be part of the ACoRNS research


• Start the Digital Story process:


- Mapping - Create a mind map about the child/young person: what they like, enjoy, dislike,  and the things they find more challenging. Talk to family and staff teams to gather a range of views. If the child is able to communicate their views, theirs should be the dominant voice


- Filming - Using the ACoRNS digital stories “I am..” framework, plan where you will take your videos. The focus is on environments and activities that are meaningful for the child. Once planned, take some video clips of the child over a few weeks or months. With younger children it can be interesting for them to use a ‘wear cam’ to gain footage from their perspective, and height! Footage should always be stored securely on site


- Describing - Use the mind map and the video footage to describe the child in short statements from their point of view based on the digital Stories ‘I am...’ framework


- Editing - Use the ‘I am...’ descriptions to select video clips that best show the characteristics or behaviours of the child. Try to present the views and perspective of the child as meaningfully as possible


To see some examples of Digital Stories for young people in a nursery setting that capture the ‘I am…’ statements, click here.


Please see an article in the SEN magazine all about the Hill House digital story work titled 'Moving into adult life with Digital Stories' here.


As a result of the digital story work with ACoRNS, all young people moving on from Hill House now have the opportunity to develop their own digital `I AM` story and this now forms a key part of their moving plan


Please see an example of a digital story that was developed for a young person moving on from Hill House


“Digital stories put the young people right at the centre. This, combined with lots of careful transition planning leads to a successful move. It celebrates all the great life skills that the young person has learnt and shows their essence. The digital story also helps new staff see all the activities the young person enjoys and what their personality is” 

- Care Manager HHS