The Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service works with children and young people up to the age of 19 attending school and resident in the Berkshire Unitary Authorities who have educational needs arising from a diagnosed hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairment. Specialist teachers, paediatric habilitation specialists, educational audiologists and specialist teaching assistants provide a key worker service for pre-school children, pre-school groups, parent workshops and provide advice, teaching and training for pupils, parents and schools.
We loan specialist equipment to schools for children resident and attending schools in the Berkshire local authorities who are on our caseload and whose needs are not met via the Education, Health and Care Plans or high needs funding from their resident local authority.
We are a joint arrangement between all Local Authorities in Berkshire:
- Windsor and Maidenhead (host authority)
- Bracknell Forest
- West Berkshire
Jane Peters - Manager
Phone: 01628 796786 or 07887 540921
Address: Sensory Consortium Service Central Office, Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1RF
What are the eligibility criteria for your service?
Referral to the service would need to be supported by a clinical diagnosis of a vision, hearing or multi-sensory impairment that indicated a mild to profound loss not correctable by use of glasses. The service would then make an assessment of the needs of the child or young person including using the National Sensory Impairment Partnership Eligibility Criteria and provide written recommendations which would include adding on to the service caseload where appropriate.
How are referrals/applications made to your service?
Pre-school children and young people are referred by the Ophthalmology or Audiology Health Service. School age children and young people are referred by their school following a diagnosis by Ophthalmology or Audiology that confirms a vision or hearing impairment that meets the agreed medical assessment criteria for referral which would indicate that the impairment is likely to affect access to learning opportunities.
What is your service standard for responding to referrals/accessing services?
Hearing impairment: we expect to make contact within 24 hours from receipt of a referral for a pre-school child and 5 days for a school age referral during school term times. We make contact with families of children diagnosed with a hearing impairment through Newborn Hearing Screening within 24 hours of diagnosis during school holidays.
Visual impairment: We expect to make contact within 24 hours from receipt of a referral and 5 days for a school aged referral. The response to referrals is primarily during school term times although we provide some additional cover during the summer holidays so that a blind diagnosis will be followed by a visit before the beginning of a new academic year.
Multi-sensory impairment: We expect to make contact within 24 hours from receipt of a referral and 5 days for a school aged referral during school term times, once a child has been confirmed as having impairments of both their senses of hearing and vision.
All referrals will be followed by an assessment to be completed within 6 weeks of referral during school terms and receipt of relevant provision is made immediately following.
Who provides / funds your service?
The Service does not make any charge to parents.
Independent schools can access the service but are charged for this provision. Colleges and 16+ provisions would access the service via top-up funding arrangements between the colleges or local authorities and the service
Feedback and complaints procedure
Compliments and complaints can be directed to:
- Your allocated specialist teacher
- Team Co-ordinator Vision Impairment: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Team Co-ordinator Hearing Impairment: email@example.com
- Head of Service: firstname.lastname@example.org
All users of the service are provided with an annual opportunity to complete a user evaluation of the service via our website but we encourage users to contact us directly for any specific compliment or complaint that they wish to share
How will I know my child/ young person will be safe using this service?
All staff have additional qualifications for working with children and young people with a sensory impairment. We undertake regular reviews of staff performance and report and evaluate the outcomes we achieve with children and young people on our caseload against national attainment data. All staff are vetted and meet the requirements of Local Authority employment regulations for working with children and young people.
Supporting people with
- Hearing impairment
- Visual Impairment