Sensory Impairment Service

The Sensory Impairment Service is currently working either in schools or settings (where the school’s or setting’s Risk Assessment allows this) or delivering work remotely via phone, email or virtually. Home visits have now been reinstated for under 5’s where a risk assessment has taken place and measures are in place to reduce risk for families and the team.

If you would like a consultation with a Qualified Teacher of children with vision impairment (QTVI) or a Qualified Teacher of the Deaf (QTOD), please either email the specialist teacher who is currently supporting your child or make contact via email at SIS.NCC@northnorthants.gov.uk.

New referrals will continue as usual with the initial contact from the team by phone or email.

All schools have a special needs co-ordinator (SENCO) who can support children who are hearing impaired or who have a vision impairment. If a child requires further support, you can make a referral to the Sensory Impairment Service.

The Sensory Impairment Service provides specialist teachers and support for children with:

  • a hearing impairment
  • a visual impairment
  • multi-sensory impairments
The Sensory Impairment Service provides support to children and young people across both North and West Northants councils.

Who can make referrals?

Children will normally be referred by health professionals, but parents and schools or settings may also contact the service.

We do not accept referrals for children who are home educated. Information about elective home education is available on the 'Home schooling a child with SEND' webpage.

How do I make a referral?

Referrals can be made using the online form below:

Make a referral - visual impairment

Before making a referral for a visually impaired child, they must have seen an optician or ophthalmologist in order to proceed.

Make a referral - hearing impairment

​What happens when a referral is made?

Find out what support you will receive from the Sensory Impairment Service when a child is referred for support.

Support for schools and early years settings

Within 5 working days of the referral (or 48 hours for newly diagnosed children from the new-born hearing screening programme), a Teacher of the Deaf will arrange an appointment to visit the school or early years setting to carry out an assessment of the child or young person.

Schools may be supported with:

  • advice from an educational audiologist
  • advice or direct teaching of British Sign Language (BSL) 
  • equipment to facilitate access to learning
  • advice with regard to reasonable adjustments to the physical environment in the school
  • review meetings 
  • training to staff to support learning
  • direct teaching support through a Qualified Teacher of the Deaf (QTOD) 
  • advice and support for exams access arrangements 
  • access arrangements to facilitate independent learning
  • initial advice and deaf awareness training 
  • advice for a range of assistive listening devices

Support for parents

Parents may be supported with:

  • advice from a qualified teacher of the deaf (QTOD)
  • training for the use of specialist auditory equipment
  • training for hearing aid or auditory implant management and maintenance to facilitate speech, language and communication development

Support for children and young people

The child or young person will be supported directly with:

  • teaching support through a Qualified Teacher of the Deaf 
  • help to develop their independent audiological management skills
  • access to an educational audiologist
  • tuition from a British Sign Language tutor as needed
  • Social emotional or well-being needs relating to their hearing impairment
  • Self advocacy

Specialist support units in Northamptonshire

There is a specialist unit at Vernon Terrace Primary School in Northampton and at Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton. Children attending this special provision will have a statement of special educational need or an education, health and care plan.

Who is in the team?

The support team for children who are hearing impaired/deaf includes: 

  • a teacher of the deaf with additional specialist qualification supporting children with multi-sensory impairments
  • Qualified teachers of the deaf (QTOD’s)
  • an educational audiologist
  • a BSL instructor
  • an early years team
  • access and communication support workers
  • speech and language therapists
  • sensory Impairment advisors

Additional support

  • Hearing impairment support - The Local Offer includes a list of hearing support services available for children and young people.
  • National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) can provide further information on many other topics related to childhood deafness.
  • BrowseAloud - A support tool that can be used to read websites out loud. It also provides other accessibility tools. It is free to use.

Support for schools and early years settings

Within 5 working days of the referral, a Qualified Teacher of children with vision impairment (QTVI) will arrange an appointment to visit the school or early years setting to carry out an assessment of the child or young person.

Schools may be supported with:
  • training for staff
  • equipment to facilitate access to learning
  • access arrangements and recommendations to facilitate independent learning 
  • review meetings
  • annual functional vision assessment reports
  • direct teaching support and mobility support
  • advice for exam access arrangements 
  • mentoring from Inclusive technology assistants for specialist equipment
  • advice regarding specialist technology 
Support for parents

Parents may be supported with:
  • advice from the sensory impairment service
  • training in the use of specialist equipment
  • early years parent groups
Support for children and young people (CYP)

CYP may be supported with:
  • direct teaching of specific skills
  • advice on access to learning through specialist equipment
  • social emotional and wellbeing needs relating to their vision impairment
  • self-advocacy
Who is in the team?

The support team for children with a vision impairment includes: 
  • qualified teachers of children with vision impairment (QTVI)
  • mobility officer (supporting mobility and independence skills)
  • inclusive technology technicians
  • sensory impairment advisors
  • access and communication support workers 
  • resource technicians (adapting braille)
Additional support
  • Visual impairment support - The Local Offer has a list of visual impairment services available for children and young people.
  • BrowseAloud - A support tool can be used to read websites out loud. It also provides other accessibility tools. It is free to use.
  • RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind