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 Zoom (or other video-conferencing services).

If you would like a consultation with a Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired (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

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

All schools have a special needs co-ordinator (SENCO) who can support children who are hearing or visual impaired or are multi-sensory impaired. 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

Who can make referrals?

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

We do not accept referrals for children who are home educated or attending independent schools. More 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 24 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 will also be supported with:

  • advice in respect of differentiation of academic work
  • access to an educational audiologist
  • access to a British Sign Language (BSL) as appropriate
  • equipment to facilitate access to learning
  • advice with regard to reasonable adjustments to the physical environment in the school
  • review meetings as required
  • training to staff to support learning
  • direct teaching support through a Qualified Teacher of the Deaf (QTOD) as deemed appropriate
  • advice and support for exams as appropriate
  • initial advice and deaf awareness training to the staff employed by the school or early years setting

Support for parents
Parents may be supported with:

  • access to a teacher of the deaf
  • 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 (as deemed appropriate)
  • help to develop their independent audiological management skills
  • access to an educational audiologist
  • tuition from a British Sign Language tutor as needed

Specialist support units in Northamptonshire

There is a specialist unit at Vernon Terrace Primary School in Northampton which can support up to 11 students and at Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton who can support up to 15 secondary age students.

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 deaf children and young people includes:

  • teachers of the deaf
  • teachers of the deaf with additional specialist qualification supporting children with multi-sensory impairments
  • an educational audiologist
  • deaf instructor
  • early years team
  • access and communication support workers
  • speech and language therapists

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 can be used to read websites out loud. It also provides other accessibility tools. It is free to use.

Support for pupils 
We teach the skills necessary to enable the child or young person to fully access the curriculum including Braille and touch typing, and provide some IT equipment to  pupils. We also provide some adapted resources. We attend reviews and monitor progress with ongoing assessment.

Support for parents
We work very closely with parents and involve them at all stages.  Parents are actively involved in the necessary observation and assessment of a pre-school child, and in any subsequent programmes. Our mobility officer also works with parents of pre-school children. In addition, we provide weekly Braille classes for parents.

Support for schools
We work with teachers to provide support and advice for enabling the pupil to fully access the curriculum and how to enable the pupil to be fully involved with the broader activities the school offers. We also provide IT support for pupils' equipment.

We attend annual reviews and also offer whole school training on issues around visual impairment.

Who is in the team?

  • Qualified Teachers of Visual Impairment (QTVI) 
  • Mobility Officer
  • IT specialist
  • Braille tutors
  • Early years team
  • Access communication support worker

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.