Sensory Needs Service - how we support Visually Impaired and Deaf Children

Parent Guidance

Parent guidance/advice is a very important aspect of the pre-school provision offered by the SNS. Our teachers work alongside parents offering information and support as soon as a deafness or visual impairment has been diagnosed. Advice is given on developmental and educational issues arising from the diagnosis. Regular contact with parents also enables the teachers to discuss the options and possibilities for future educational provision. SNS teachers liaise between parents and organised groups such as playgroups, nursery schools, voluntary organisations and other associated support services.

Visiting teachers

The service has a team of visiting teachers who go in to the Authority's mainstream and special schools attended by pupils with sensory needs. They advise heads and teachers on the educational implications of sensory needs and recommended strategies to facilitate Deaf and VI pupil's access to the curriculum. Advice on strategies to support children in pre-school settings is also provided. Visiting teachers work with children and young people from pre-school through to Further Education. Children's progress is monitored using a range of assessment materials. Appropriate targets are identified which may form part of the child's Individual Education Plan.

Children's Hearing Services Working Group: CHSWG

This is a locally based multi-agency group working together to provide for, and meet the needs of, all children within our area who have been identified as having deafness.

Find out more about CHSWG

Specialist Provision for Deaf Children

A small number of children have needs which are best met in our  Specialist Provision for Deaf Children staffed by qualified teachers of the Deaf in a mainstream school. The service is responsible for the staffing and overall management of the provision at Bevendean Primary School. Some secondary age pupils attend Lewes Priory School in East Sussex where there is a successful Hearing Support Facility HSF. We also use East Sussex's Willingdon Primary School where the HSF uses 'Total Communication' for a small group of children.

Find out more about the Specialist Provision for Deaf Children.


We provide and maintain radio aids and other audiological equipment for Deaf pupils on our caseload. We also give a full audiological service in co-operation with the Health Authority. Our team also help to provide specialist access to technology available for loan for our visually impaired pupils, for assessment purposes, and teachers offer a small library of large print books to the children they are working with. Our team then offer advice to schools and parents on the management of the resources provided, so that full and effective use can be made of them.

Educational Assessment

Teachers in the Sensory Needs Service are experienced in offering advice on the needs of Visually Impaired and Deaf pupils in educational assessment procedures. Special arrangements may be made and test materials, and their manner of presentation, can be modified (and/or extra time allowed) in Standard Assessment Tasks, GCSE's, A-Levels and GNVQ's

In Service Training

Teachers from the SNT annually offer INSET to mainstream and special school teachers who have Deaf or visually impaired children in their classes, and to Learning Support Assistants working with pupils with sensory needs. School based INSET is given as the need arises. Sensory Needs Team teachers also offer INSET to the staff of nurseries and playgroups attended by children with sensory needs.