Improving outcomes for children with sensory impairments
Author Jacqui Webber-Gant
Date 23rd Aug 2017
Over the last year, OLT have partnered with the sensory support service teams in 25 local authorities as part of the NatSIP/DfE contract to deliver professional development for the schools’ frontline sensory workforce. The funding covered the course licence fee and enabled sensory teams to deliver the OLT courses as a flexible and effective means of training school staff in sensory impairments.
Each participating local authority sensory support team has nominated a qualified specialist teacher to lead the hearing, vision or multi-sensory impairment course. After completing the course, as part of their tutor training, participants planned the integration of the course as a sustainable element of the regular support they provide to schools.
The 300 participants included teachers, SENCOs, NQTs, HLTAs and teaching assistants who support children with sensory impairments. Many completed the course over one school term, but others wanted the training to be a focus for the whole year. Tutors used group sessions or one-to-one support to provide expert advice, and guide the shaping of goals and interventions that enable participants to transfer their learning to the classroom.
Here’s some feedback from a couple of tutors on the quality of the course and its value as a training resource:
“This has changed my view of on line training, as previously when I have investigated this type of training, I have not felt it was as useful as face to face training. However, the wealth of materials, videos etc., and the quality have been impressive.” KT, Head of Support Service
“Writing SMART targets with those working closely with students I support has helped enhance our working relationships and the support provided for individual children.” CM, QTMSI
Participants were enthusiastic, and found the courses interesting and engaging. Here’s some feedback comments:
“I found this really useful with a good balance of reading, interactive visuals, videos and quizzes. I liked being able to access the course at a time and place that was appropriate for my lifestyle and that I could dip in and out of it rather than having to complete in one sitting. Really interesting, informative and useful for improving my teaching and general communication with deaf students.” ET, Teacher
“Creating the goals in a SMART way has enabled me to have a clear idea of the aim for my one-to-one interventions and the intervention section helped me to look at ways in which I could improve the support I offer in my current role to deaf children and has set me well on my way to achieving my goals. The case studies were beneficial as they gave me an insight into the lives of deaf children and those who support them rather than just learning about theories. It was also great to see how these children are being supported enabling me to compare my own methods and add to them.”
ES, Learning Support Assistant
Following the success of the first year (see fig.1 below), the project is being funded for a second year, and more sensory support services are now gearing up to deliver the OLT courses in their schools in the year ahead. If you’d like to find out how your team or school can participate then please get in touch.
Fig.1 - Comparison of pre and post-course evaluation questions
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