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Norfolk City Council Logo
Phone Number: 01603 704040
Fax Number: 01603 704047
Minicom Number: 01603 704044
Email: sensorysupport@norfolk.gov.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What do Sensory Services do and how do they do it?

A.  Qualified teachers of CYP (Children & Young People) with SI (Sensory Impairment) carry out a central role in the education of children from birth, working in homes, early years settings, schools and post 16 settings.  This includes:

Early Intervention

  • Managing referrals from health to education, with clear referral routes and eligibility criteria for specialist support, such as the NatSIP Eligibility Criteria guidancewhich is used by over 90% of services
  • Assessing children's functional vision and hearing in liaison with health professionals
  • Liaising with health professionals on the range of available low vision devices and hearing technology and how to use them
  • Providing direct support to babies and young children and their parents in the home to support early development and learning through play and promote parental confidence. This may include the use of the SI specific Early Support resources. The specialist teacher is frequently the professional best placed to take on a key working role.

Inclusive Teaching and Learning

  • Advising in mainstream and specialist settings on strategies for curriculum access and independent learning 
  • Guiding the work of other professionals, such as teaching assistants, therapists, through INSET, ongoing specialist advice and direct teaching
  • Teaching specialist skills, for example Braille, communication skills or the use of specialist equipment and ICT 
  • Adapting teaching and learning resources in print, audio or tactile formats
  • Advising on access arrangements for exams
  • Developing the communication skills of children with additional or complex needs

Additional Curriculum

  • Advising on how appropriate communication and independence strategies can enhance children's functional vision and hearing
  • Assessing and reviewing settings/environments for accessibility, such as acoustics, lighting levels, and health and safety
  • Promoting emotional wellbeing and social and communication skills


  • Providing a birth to 25 service, including effective transition arrangements at key stages through awareness raising, transfer of information and ensuring specialist equipment is in place in the new setting
  • Supporting students through transition into post 16/Further Education provision, employment and independent adulthood
  • Providing a skills mix which allows services to develop specialisms e.g. in early years or post 16

In addition, specialist services in health include

  • Ophthalmology, optometry, orthoptics, speech and language therapy, audiology, cochlear implant centres, specialist Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for deaf children

Specialist services in social care include

  • Social worker teams for Hearing Impaired/Vision Impaired/deafblind/disabled children, provision of specialist equipment for use in the home, accessible childcare and leisure services, habilitation


Q. What services can I expect in Norfolk for my child with a sensory loss?  

A.  Detailed information of what you can expect at each stage of your child’s education can be found below and on this website


Q. What are the minimum standards sensory services work to?


A. There are a number of national quality standards which specify good practice for CYP with SI. A list of National Quality Standards for Sensory Impairment is available on the NatSIP website


Q. What qualifications do sensory specialists hold?

A.  Sensory specialists in education hold a specialist mandatory qualification in addition to qualified teacher status.  This is based on a wide range of learning outcomes. The importance of the qualification is recognized by DfE and Ofsted:

‘Parents, headteachers, LEAs and organisations concerned with the education of children with SEN have a high regard for the MQs. … As a result of the training, most teachers are better able to raise the achievement of pupils with sensory impairment, not only their academic attainment but the whole range of their other achievements, including mobility, communication and life skills.’ (Ofsted, 2004)

Other recognised qualifications include Teaching assistants working with CYP with sensory impairments. NatSIP has mapped an appropriate training pathway. Further support roles for different areas of sensory impairment include:

  • Habilitation Worker with vision impairment
  • Intervenors with multi-sensory impairment 
  • Communication support workers with hearing impairment


Q.  How can I contact my teacher at Virtual School Sensory Support?

A.  Please click here to go to the 'about us' section of our website, where you can find a list of names and contact numbers for your teachers at Virtual School Sensory Support by team


Q.  What is the procedure on how to make a complaint?

A.  Please click here to download our Complaints Policy 


Q. How do I know if my child or young person gets pupil premium funding?


A.  Your child's school will be able to tell you if your child/young person receives pupil premium funding.  The school website should tell you how pupil premium funding is spent in the school.

For further information for funding available in schools please click the following link:

SEN funding in schools - Norfolk County Council

Q.  Where can I find further resources?

A.  Please click here to go to the 'Resources' section of our website, where you can filter resources by a number of different sections including: information and policies


Other resources