The Northumberland Sensory Support Service is a team of specialist staff who work across the county with children and young people with hearing impairments (HI), vision impairments (VI) and multi-sensory impairments (MSI). Our aim is that all children make good progress, achieve well and enjoy their school and family life, and staff support the children and young people from 0-19 along with their families and schools/educational settings
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Meet the Team
We have the following staff as part of our Service:
We are based at
All the staff can be contacted via the main office on: 01670 624854
- Service Manager
- Team Leaders (HI and VI)
- 10 Teachers of the Deaf
- 2 Teachers of Visually Impaired
- 1 Teacher of Multi-sensory Impaired
- Mobility/Habilitation Officer
- Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
- Office Manager
- Administrative assistant/data manager
Who we support
We will accept referrals from a range of sources (for further detail please see HI/VI/MSI sections below) for children and young people with permanent diagnosed vision/hearing/multi-sensory impairments. We will provide advice only for children with temporary hearing problems arising from glue ear. We always require written parent/carer consent before we become involved.
Following an initial assessment we will offer support based on individual need - this will include consideration of the degree of hearing/vision/multi-sensory impairment, but is not restricted to that. We support learners with additional and complex needs.
Support will fall into one of three categories:
At any given time, the Service will be working with children and families from diverse groups and treat all equally, providing support for communication and accessibility according to individual need.
We work with children from birth to five, along with those of school age. During these early years we visit family homes and other settings as necessary to meet the needs of children and families following an early diagnosis. We firmly believe that early intervention is the best way to secure good futures.
- School/Setting to Contact
A sensory impairment can bring with it an impact on a child’s access to the world around them. This can be true of any degree of impairment, from mild through moderate to severe and profound.
Our team of specialists all have experience and qualifications related to working with children with HI/VI/MSI and are able to help families and education settings to make any adjustments necessary to minimise that impact. Whilst our work is mainly around access to education we are also concerned with the overall wellbeing of children and young people; having strong working links with the Disabled Children Team within social care we are able to make referrals as needed. Click here for more information about that team.
Many of our learners are referred to us at a very young age following a diagnosis of hearing, vision loss, or both shortly after birth. We are committed to the principles laid down within the government’s Early Support framework which emphasises the importance and effectiveness of early intervention. The Sensory Support staff work in family homes at this phase, and also in pre school settings, in order to maximise the benefits of early diagnosis and advise on strategies to minimise the impact of the sensory loss.
It is important that any adjustment to school environments are made quickly and efficiently so that sensory impaired children and young people are not at any disadvantage in terms of access to learning. Again, our specialist team will work with the young person themselves, their families and all school staff to ensure that the correct support is in place, and that everyone has a good understanding of their needs.
Our service supports learners in:
Mostly these services are free at the point of delivery regardless of the degree of assessed need.
In 2016-17 we were providing support at some level into 144 schools across Northumberland, in addition to a number of Nursery/Post 16 settings.
- Homes (pre school)
- Pre school settings (private nurseries, school nurseries, childminders)
- LA maintained schools
- LA special schools
- Academies and Free Schools
- Independent schools (costed service)
- FE Colleges (partly costed)
We provide our service by:
- Assessing need, i.e. the impact of the sensory loss on development and access to the curriculum
- Assessing functional hearing and vision
- Providing advice and guidance to schools and settings
- Providing training on all aspects of sensory impairment to schools and settings
- Providing and supporting the introduction and use of auxiliary aids and equipment
- Providing direct teaching intervention when required
- Liaising with other professionals, including the medical and health professionals concerned with diagnosing and overseeing the sensory impairments
- Ensuring that the duties brought by the Equality Act 2010 are clearly explained to schools
- Working with families to ensure informed choices
- Ensuring compliance with Local Authority processes related to statutory assessment (Education and Health Care Plans), and the others, e.g. Early Help Assessments, Team around the Child/Family
News and Events
Effective: 19 Oct 2017 to 18 Dec 2017
Read about some of the recent achievements of our children, families and learning support assistants.
Ex Prudhoe High Student Rebecca Maple receives her Foundation Degree at Chester University. Rebecca has a severe hearing impairment and left school in 2015.
Pofoundly deaf Kaitlyn wins the Young Partnership of the year Award at the Hearing Dogs Awards 2016.
Read here about upcoming events
Consultation on the Northumberland Area Special Educational Needs School Place Planning Strategy
We would like to hear your views to help us shape specialist services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in Northumberland. Come to one of our drop-in events listed below to hear more about it and tell us what you think and share your views. All events are between 1.00 p.m and 7.00 pm.
Wednesday, 1 November, Berwick Leisure Centre, Berwick upon Tweed
Thursday, 9 November, Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, Alnwick
Thursday, 16 November, Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington
Wednesday, 22 November, Ponteland Leisure Centre, Ponteland
Wednesday, 29 November, Hexham Leisure Centre, Hexham
Feedback and Further Information
We are always interested in receiving feedback and the views of anyone who uses our Service. If you have anything to say, please contact our office on 01670624854 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please complete the form here and the Service Manager will contact you directly.
Each year we conduct an audit of families, schools and young people who we support on a regular basis. For a summary of the most recent audit click here
If you would like any further information on the following please click here
- The current Service Development Plan 2017-18
- The current Self Evaluation report 2016-17
- NatSIP Eligibility Framework
- Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)