The Sensory Service provides support for those with either a Vision Impairment or a Hearing Impairment
Visually impaired children and their families are supported by the Sensory Service. The Sensory Service is an Education Service which supports hearing impaired and visually impaired children and young people aged 0 to 25.
What the service offer:
Your child has been referred to the Sensory Service following a vision assessment made by a medical professional.
The following information explains how we aim to help and support your child.
Our service offers the following:
assess how the child/young person is using their functional vision in a school setting and inform planning.
offer training to school staff to ensure that the child/young person has access to the curriculum and the staff are aware of their needs.
direct teaching for some pupils with a very high level of need to acquire specialist skills such as Braille and use of specialist equipment to enable them to access the curriculum independently.
monitor progress of pupils to ensure that student’s individual needs are met, in accordance with the Children and Family Act.
provide advice on the differentiation and adaptation of teaching materials.
advise on technology which can improve access to the curriculum or the environment and deliver training for its use e.g. magnification software, braille note taker.
offer a multi-agency approach to ensure an effective exchange of pupil information by meeting regularly with the Developmental Vision Team at Alder Hey.
offer mobility assessment at home and in school.
offer training by our Habilitation specialist on cane techniques, road awareness, pedestrian crossings, recognition of location, safe travel from one area to another, ability to use audible information, etc.
offer training on independent living skills.
support the child/ young person and families at transition within and between educational settings.
where needed provide direct support in the classroom with Learning Support Assistants or Braille communicator to support the learning, educational progress and inclusion of pupils
provide adapted document braille and large print depending on the needs of the child/young person.
assessment for Education Health Care Plans and for SEN support.
The Sensory Service will apply the Natsip Eligibility Framework (see link below) when deciding on the need and level of interventions. The Natsip criteria is fluid and can change according to a number of factors such as transition and change of condition.
We are in line with the vision of the “Liverpool Promise” promoting the inclusion of children and young people with Visual Impairment and the development of inclusive practices. Our aim is to improve the outcomes and opportunities for children and young people with visual impairments in keeping with the Liverpool Promise.
Frequently Asked Questions (Vision Impairment):
Who decides which school my child will attend?
Many visually impaired children and young people will attend either primary or secondary mainstream schools, decided by family or carers. Other children and young people who have additional needs may attend a special school which will be decided by parents and carers in partnership with the Local Authority.
Will my child need an Education Health and Care Plan?
The majority of visually impaired children will not have an Education Health and Care Plan. However, children with a severe vision loss or visually impaired pupils with additional needs can request your local authority to carry out an assessment if you think your child needs an EHC Plan. Those children and young people with more complex needs who attend a special school will have an Education Health and Care Plan outlining their needs and how those needs can be met.
Are there opportunities for my child to meet other visually impaired children and young people?
The Sensory Service has a Parent Support Group for parents of pre-school children which meets regularly.
We are also working closely with different charities to ensure that children with a visual impairment can meet with their peers outside school times e.g. Henshaws.
Role of a QTVI
The role of the Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVI) may include some or all the following:
managing referrals from health, settings and families to education with clear referral routes and eligibility criteria (Following the Natsip recommendation).
providing direct support to babies and young children with vision impairment and their parent carers in the home to support early development and learning through play and to promote parental confidence.
assessing children and young people's functional vision in liaison with health professionals
liaising with health professionals on the range of available low vision devices and how to use them
advising in mainstream and specialist early years, school and FE and HE settings on strategies for curriculum access and independent learning
teaching the specific skills that your child needs to learn because of his visual impairment. Generally these are adapted ways of doing everyday activities and methods of participating in the school curriculum, such as reading and writing in braille, using a low vision device, or independent living skills. These skills are often known as additional outcomes.
conducting various assessments of your child to determine his abilities and needs.
making referrals for additional services your child may need, such as for habilitation training (Mobility and Independent Living Skills).
meeting with family members, your child's teacher, and other members of the educational team to discuss his progress and make suggestions for strategies to make his school work accessible and to include him to the greatest extent possible in all school, classroom, and extracurricular activities
preparing or obtaining learning materials, textbooks in the appropriate accessible format for your child (such as braille, large print, audio, or electronic format).
advising on access arrangements for exams
analysing the classroom and other environments for access and safety related to a student's visual impairment, and advising other members of the team about how best to organize the classroom and materials.
providing consultation and training for teachers, teaching assistants and other school personnel on effective strategies for teaching students with visual impairments
using strategies to help develop the visual and communication skills of children and young people with additional or complex needs.
providing a birth to 25 service, including effective transition arrangements at key stages from birth through awareness raising, training, transfer of information and ensuring specialist equipment is in place in the new setting.
supporting students through transition into post 16/FE provision and into independent adulthood
The QTVI may work together in your child's regular classroom to help with the ongoing lesson, in an empty classroom, or in a designated resource room, alone or with a group of students. He or she might also meet with your child before or after school. Or, he or she might only observe your child occasionally in order to consult with the teacher about your child's progress. How often they meet depends on the services designated by your child's Learning Support Plan.
In recognition of the above skills QTVIs are required to hold a mandatory qualification (MQ), which addresses a wide range of specialist outcomes. The importance of this qualification has recently been restated by DfE in the 2015 SEND Code of Practice.
Details of the MQ are set out in a national specification which is available at
For further information about RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) please visit RNIB.
For more information about VIEW (Professional Association for the Vision Impairment Education Workforce) please visit VIEW
For more information about Natsip (National Sensory Impairment Partnership) please visit Natsip
Role of the Registered Qualified Habilitation Specialists (RQHS)
Referrals for the RQHSusually arise from the QTVI.
The primary purpose of this role is to maximise the independence and inclusion of blind and visually impaired children and young people.
Specifically this will include:
Providing assessment, advice and training for children with a sensory impairment and their families or carers.
Maximise the abilities of children and young people, providing them with the opportunity to achieve the optimal level of independence.
Work with schools to promote inclusion and increase mobility requirements through providing advice and staff training on appropriate approaches, techniques and the environment.
Provide targeted training that will maximise the child’s or young person’s development of mobility and independence skills.
Teach children skills to look after him/her and to carry out everyday living activities that are appropriate for their age.
Model person-centred planning across the service and with key partners, ensuring that outcomes-based assessment is evidenced in all areas of work with a clear focus on engagement with families, children and young people.
Carry out Environmental Audits of educational settings and promote best practice ensuring settings make reasonable adjustments to support the inclusion and safety of children and young people with visual needs.
Hearing impaired children and their families are supported by the Sensory Service. The Sensory Service is an education service which supports hearing impaired and visually impaired children and young people aged 0 to 25. Referrals usually come from hospital but parents and carers, schools and other agencies are also welcome to make referrals which we will then follow up.
Following referral, the service provides early intervention and support in line with the Nationally Agreed Criteria Natsip for involvement. It aims to work in partnership with parents and carers with regard to the specific challenges resulting from hearing impairment.
From diagnosis to leaving school, specialist Teachers of the Deaf and support staff work with families, schools and all other relevant agencies to ensure hearing impaired children and young people enjoy the same opportunities as their peers.
The service provides a range of support for pupils and schools (depending on the level of hearing loss) including training for school staff, advice with regard to the implications of hearing loss, one to one teaching support, support from a learning support assistant and the provision and maintenance of Radio systems for those hearing impaired pupils who meet the criteria. (Radio systems are specialist equipment which help children and young people listen better through their hearing aids in noisy environments).
The service liaises closely with a range of other agencies to deliver seamless support for children and families. It also works as part of the team around the child to provide specialist support for pupils with additional and complex needs.
Hearing impaired children and young people who need sign language to access school curriculum will be offered a place either in the Deaf Resource Base at Knotty Ash Primary School or at the Deaf Resource base at Broadgreen International Secondary School.
Useful links for hearing impairment:
Action On Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
Frequently Asked Questions (Hearing Impairment):
What support will my child receive after he or she has been diagnosed with a hearing impairment?
This is dependent on the level of hearing impairment and age of the child but after the referral, a teacher of the deaf will contact the family. If the child is very young then proposed support will be discussed at meeting with the family/carers. Any decision will be made in partnership with families and carers. We will help the family understand the implications of hearing impairment, hearing aid management, communication methods and refer to other agencies as appropriate.
If your child is already at school then support, ranging from advice about classroom management, training for schools, on going advice for school staff, provision of specialist listening equipment (Radio Aid systems) through to one to one support from a support assistant and direct teaching from a teacher of the deaf is available.
All pupils with a permanent hearing loss will be added to our caseload with intervention being in line with Natsip guidelines (Natsip).
Who decides which school my child will attend?
Most hearing impaired children and young people will attend either primary or secondary mainstream schools, decided by the family or carers. Other children and young people who have additional needs may attend a special school which will be decided by parents and carers in partnership with the local authority. Pupils with profound hearing loss who need signing support will attend the Deaf Resource Bases at Knotty Ash Primary School or Broadgreen International School.
Will my child need an Education Health and Care Plan?
The majority of hearing impaired children and young people will not have an Education Health and Care Plan. However children with a profound hearing loss or hearing impaired pupils with additional needs can request an Education Health and Care Plan. Those children and young people with more complex needs who attend a special school will have an Education Health and Care Plan outlining their needs and how these needs can be met. Children attending the Deaf Resource Bases will require an EHCP.
Are there opportunities for my child to meet other hearing impaired children and young people?
The sensory service has a Parent Support Group for parents of pre-school children which meets regularly at Merseyside Society for Deaf People (MSDP).
Liverpool Deaf Children Society (LDCS) holds regular meetings and activities
The National Deaf Childrens Society (NDCS) has weekends for families e.g. for newly diagnosed children and activity weekends for older children
Merseyside Society for Deaf People (MSDP) holds afterschool and holiday activities
Who else might support hearing impaired children and young people?
The Sensory Service works closely with the staff at the Audiology department at Alder Hey hospital to help monitor the effectiveness of hearing aids and attend regular meetings at hospital.
Specialist speech and language therapists from the Permanent Hearing Impaired Network support children and young people with severe and profound hearing losses. The teachers of the deaf work closely with these therapists to meet communication needs and promote language development. Other speech and language therapists may also support hearing impaired children and young people with speech and language difficulties.
Educational psychologists may be involved with pupils if additional difficulties are suspected.
What is the role of the Teacher of the Deaf?
A Teacher of the Deaf is a qualified teacher who is additionally qualified to teach hearing impaired children. Teachers of the deaf provide support to deaf children and young people from the age of 0 to 25, parents and carers and their families and schools. They will give families information for example about the implications of their child’s hearing loss, support with wearing hearing aids or a cochlear implant and ways to develop language development. Teachers of the deaf deliver a range of support to hearing impaired pupils in school including training for school staff, assessment of pupils language and communication needs, direct teaching, fitting and maintaining Radio Aid systems which help hearing impaired pupils listen better in classrooms, contributing to pupil support plans and reviews in a, person centred planning approach. They also liaise closely with a range of other agencies, notably specialist speech and language therapists and staff from the audiology department at hospital.
Operational Lead for Hearing Impairments
Contact: Chris Haigh
Tel: 0151 233 5970
Operational Lead for Visual Impairments
Contact: Yohann Lespagnol
Tel: 0151 233 5970
Who to contact
- Contact Name
- Dawn McColl
- Contact Position
- Operational Lead for Hearing Impairments
- 0151 233 5970
Where to go
- c/o Cunard Building
- L3 1AH
- Referral Details
Referrals usually come from hospital but parents and carers, schools and other agencies are also welcome to make referrals which we will then follow up.
- Local Offer Age Bands
Young Adults (16 to 25)
Primary (5 to 11)
Secondary (11 to 16)
Early Years (0 to 5)
- Needs Level
- SEN Provision Type