Sensory and Physical Team (SEND Support and Inclusion Teams)

The Sensory and Physical team is a large multi professional team that has a wealth of experience and skills in meeting the educational needs of children with Hearing Impairment (HI), Visual Impairment (VI) and Multiple Sensory Impairments (MSI).  The team also work with schools to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of students with medical conditions and physical difficulties.

In the team, you will find Specialist Teachers for HI, VI and MDSI, an Educational Audiologist, Specialist Learning Support Assistants, Communication Support Workers, a Speech and Language Therapist, Social Worker for Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Habilitation Officer, Resource Officer, a Deaf Worker, a Service Development Officer and Clerical Assistant.  We also have an Occupational Therapist who works in educational settings across Durham with specialist expertise in moving and handling.

What do the team provide?

The SEND and Inclusion Support Teams promote inclusion and equality of opportunity to ensure improved outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities including children with medical conditions, physical difficulties or sensory impairment.

The purpose of the service is to:

  • Support the Local Authority's statutory and core SEN functions
  • Provide early assessment, intervention and work closely with families and in partnership with all other appropriate agencies to ensure integrated service delivery
  • Provide training, planning, advice and consultancy for schools so that they are enabled to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND 
    The team make provision of targeted support for those children with a high level of sensory needs

Access criteria for provision

Hearing, visual or multiple sensory impairments. Any child with a hearing, visual or multiple sensory impairments will be referred by medical staff to the service and the Natsip (National Sensory Impairment Partnership) eligibility criteria will be used to determine the level of support. Children and young people who attend maintained nursery, primary, secondary schools and academies and meet the annually updated SEND referral criteria, will be provided with appropriate support levels which could range from giving advice to working with children and young people in educational settings or within the home to provide targeted interventions to improve their development and educational outcomes.

The team will also liaise with families, children and young people to work in partnership to ensure appropriate individual levels of support that will encourage inclusion and develop social and emotional well-being.

Medical condition or physical disability

The team offer an open referral system for any child with a medical condition or physical disability. They can be referred by health/medical staff, educational establishment or parents can themselves make a referral.  Children and young people who attend maintained nursery, primary, secondary schools and academies will be assessed by our Occupational Therapist at school and advice/support offered which can include recommendations for manual handling equipment/adaptations, risk assessments/care plans and targeted interventions to improve their development and educational outcomes.

Funding

  • Hearing, visual or multiple sensory impairments

The service is funded through the HIGH needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant. The majority of work is free at point of delivery.

The only costs to schools are for CPD requests to raise sensory awareness where schools do not have a child with a sensory impairment attending.  All training courses offered are evaluated in order to continually improve delivery.

  • Medical condition or physical disability

The service is funded through the HIGH needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant. The majority of the work is free at point of delivery, this includes training in specific manual handling techniques and in the use of specific equipment/aids.
The costs to schools are for CPD requests for back care awareness and specialist training for school SENCos in completing risk assessments.  All training courses offered are evaluated in order to continually improve delivery.

Key policies

The service follows the guidance in the Code of Practice and the policies and the practice outlined within the Children and Families Act 2014.  The service also adhere to guidance in the Equality Act and the Durham LA SEN Inclusion Policy

Contacts:

Sensory Support Service General Enquiries 03000 264 530

Senior Educational Psychologist - 03000 263 333

Team Leader Visual Impairment and Multiple Disability and Sensory Impairment - 03000 264 538

Team Leader for Hearing Impairment - 03000 264 540

Occupational Therapist, SEND & Inclusion Team - 03000 263 333

Enrichment activities

The team offer short breaks during the school holidays (such as swimming, horse riding, rock climbing and theatre trips) which are open to families who have a child or young person with sensory impairment. This programme is designed through consultation with families and children and young people so that they are able to offer an exciting range of activities that are suitable for all ages, abilities and impairments.  This also gives positive opportunities for children with sensory impairments to socialise with others. The team systematically gather feedback about short break programmes in order to be responsive to families’ requests.  They also encourage children and young people to be involved with specific local events such as the annual Deaf Tennis competition, visits to the NDCS Listening Bus and to compete in Disability Athletic events. 

Special qualifications/expertise

Staff receive at least 5 days of training on an annual basis and all have specialist qualifications in their specialist field.

These include:

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Deaf Children
  • Masters Degree in Deaf Education
  • BA Honours in Combines Studies (Education & Audiology) MSc Audiology
  • British Sign Language levels 1-5
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Children with Visual Impairment
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Children with Multi-Sensory Impairment
  • NNEB Nursery Nursing Advanced Diploma in Education
  • BSc Hons Degree in Occupational Therapy
  • Key Trainer course - Manual Handling of Pupils with Special Educational needs and disabilities 

Health and social care professionals receive appropriate supervision to support their professional registration.

Information for advice and support

In order to provide an excellent integrated service, the team work in close partnership with a wide range of medical, education and social care professionals with whom they have data sharing agreements.

To keep families of sensory impaired children at the heart of their service, they hold termly forums with parent/carers to share information, gather their views and to develop new initiatives. All are welcome to attend.

This child centred ethos permeates through the day to day interactions with children and young people as their Investors in Children status demonstrates. Students can also be involved on a more formal basis with the local sensory extreme group where they discuss and plan new developments for sensory impaired children and young people to inform our service development.

Some of the voluntary agencies and transitional services the team are linked with include:

  • National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
  • Action for the Blind
  • Useful Vision
  • Durham Adult Sensory Services

Feedback

The team are always keen to hear from service users and would encourage you to get in touch with both compliments and complaints.  If you are unhappy with the service, please contact Rachel Leonard and an investigation will be made into your concerns.

If your complaint cannot be resolved, you will be directed to Paul Shadforth who as strategic SEND Lead, will be able to explain the complaints procedure and work towards resolving disagreements.

When is it on?

Session information
Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm

Who to contact

Contact name
Rachel Leonard
Contact position
Senior Educational Psychologist
Telephone
03000 263 333
Website
https://www.sendirect.org.uk/

Other details

Referral and availability notes

open referral system; medical information will be required.

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