Skip to content

Sensory Provision Review

Published 6 June 2023

There is constantly work going on at Hertfordshire County Council, not just to deliver our services but to continuously improve on what we can offer. With this in mind, we reviewed if the services for D/deaf, vision impaired and multi-sensory impaired children and young people in Hertfordshire, are giving you everything you need.

This involved understanding how we can help the largest number of children and young people to reach their potential using the budget we have, and ensuring we can continue to do this in the future too, as more children need support.

What exactly did we review?

The review looked at the educational services and settings which provide to the children and young people with sensory impairment. We worked with a number of different services and professionals, including specialist teachers from the SEND SAS team, senior teachers from schools and specialist settings, and colleagues from the special school planning team. We also analysed statistical data such as referral numbers, caseloads, and children's attainment.

We also wanted to make sure we included feedback from the families whose children and young people use the SEND SAS service, so we:

  • analysed the feedback from families who use our services through evaluation forms, the HPCI survey, and the annual SEND SAS parent/carer survey;
  • spoke to families, with British Sign Language interpreters, at the Phoenix Family Day about their deaf childrens' educational journeys so far - from the point of identification and support from a SEND SAS Teacher of the Deaf, through pre-school to primary/secondary school and beyond;  
  • spoke to families at a Goalball Event during the half term holiday, for parents of children with vision or multisensory impairment;
  • ran an online accessible survey for deaf and/or visually impaired young people about the support they receive from the SEND Sensory Impairment advisory teams.

What did we learn? 

The current provision for deaf children in Hertfordshire specialist schools and settings is good or outstanding and very few Hertfordshire children currently attend Deaf specialist schools outside Hertfordshire. However, there are some areas we need to consider more:

  • Early Years Settings - There is currently no specialist provision in Early Years settings for children who are deaf whose home language is BSL. Staff and other children can struggle to communicate with these children.
  • 16+ Provision - We want to keep the numbers of deaf young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) really low.  There is not yet specialist provision for signing deaf young people in Hertfordshire.
  • Auditory/Oral + Sign Supported English (SSE) - Some school-aged deaf children need signing as a temporary measure while they transition to using listening and speaking as their primary mode of communication. We need to create this provision for this group of children.
  • Expansion of Specialist Deaf Provision (Bases) - In recent years there has been increasing demand for specialist deaf provision. All provisions are full and Schools for the Deaf have been expanding year on year. There are no bases available to secondary aged deaf pupils and currently no children or young people, who use BSL as their primary mode of communication, attending mainstream schools.
  • Special schools - cater for children with complex learning needs which may include sensory impairment. As only a few schools employ a teacher with the mandatory qualification to teach sensory impaired children, these schools told us that they would appreciate more training opportunities from the sensory teams. We currently provide support to special schools and, in some cases, direct intervention with pupils.
  • Children who are deafblind or who have multisensory impairments (MSI) - numbers of these children have been steadily increasing over the years. We employ one part time specialist teacher who holds the qualification to teach MSI children. We need to do more learning to make sure that these children are provided for now and in the future.   

How we will be improving our services as a result of the review:

1.  We will improve the training staff receive in schools

We will expand the training offer for schools from 'basic awareness' to 'enhanced' so that they can feel more confident in meeting the needs of children and young people with sensory impairment.  We will also continue to develop the information on the Local Offer website to include better training materials for professionals.

2. We will use data to drive improvement

We will work closely with the data and quality assurance team to make sure that we use the information we have around these services to make it easier to access the services, drive improvement, and identify what is working well/not so well in the service. 

3. We will work with health colleagues in sensory services to provide a more joined up approach

We will continue to feed into the Sensory Strategy and work with our colleagues in the social services to share information, raise awareness, and make the transition to adult services easier for young people with sensory impairments. 

4. We will develop the support we provide to special schools

We will develop the special school offer to include a range of training and support to schools and individuals. We will offer audits and a community of practice model for VI / Deafness Coordinators. 

5. We will improve the opportunities and provision for 16+

We will further develop the provision for young people aged 16+, clarifying funding streams, responsibilities and gaps in provision.  We aim to improve the signing skills and enhance knowledge for SEND SAS staff working with this cohort. 

6. We will 'close the gap' so that children with sensory impairment reach their potential

We will continue to invest in early intervention, and monitor attainment levels in younger children with SEND to make sure that we identify needs early, and children and young people with sensory impairments are able to reach their potential.

Next steps...

We will continue to use what we learned from the review to improve and shape the services for children and young people with sensory impairment.  We will also use the recommendations of the review to feed in to the wider ISL Strategic Development Plan and ambitions so that schools and children feel better supported..

We will carry out further work around Sensory and Deaf provision in Hertfordshire.  We will continue to meet with the School Place Planning Team and the Statutory SEND Department to manage both the demand and gaps in Deaf specialist provision.

We recognise that the demand for SEND Specialist Advisory Service is increasing year on year for both statutory assessment reports and referrals, meaning that our specialist teachers have less time to provide active advice and support to pupils, settings and families. Therefore, we will be looking into reorganising the service to support statutory work and to meet the increased demand. Our ambition is to offer more inclusive, effective and efficient support by refocusing the service on the most vulnerable children, including those children and young people with sensory needs.

If you would like to comment on the review and its findings, we would love to hear from you.  Please do contact us on:



Like many other websites, we place small information files called 'cookies' on your computer.

Why do we use cookies?

To remember your settings, for example your language and location. This means you don’t have to keep entering these details when you visit a new page.

To find out how you use the site to help us update and improve it.

How do I change my cookie settings?

You can change the settings of your web browser so that it won’t accept cookies. For more information visit

But, doing this may stop you from using some of the online features and services on this website. 

Cookies we use

Cookies do a lot of different jobs, and we use 2 types of cookies:

Required functionality cookies – these cookies are essential for the website to work.

Performance and feature cookies – these cookies help to improve the performance and feel of this website, for example providing you with personalised services.

Take a look at a list of cookies we use on our website:

NameTypeHow we use itHow long we use the information for



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.


Required functionality

To track the effectiveness of our website using Google Analytics. 

2 years


Performance and feature

To save the pages that you visit by clicking the heart at the top of the page. 

1 month


Performance and feature

This stores your postcode (or partial postcode) when we ask you for your location.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This stores your location as a pair of latitude / longitude coordinates.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of all answers submitted to the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of what content cards are clicked on when using the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Required functionality

This used to track user sessions on forms hosted on

Just for the time you are on our website.

Third party cookies

There are links and content from other sites and services on our website. These sites and services set their own cookies.

Below are a list of cookies that the other sites and services use:

Service namePurposeMore information

Google analytics (_utma/b/c/z)

These are used to compile reports for us on how people use this site.

Cookies of the same names are also used for the same purpose by other websites such as Building FuturesCountryside Management Service and Hertfordshire LIS.

Visit the Google Analytics website for more information about the cookies they use.

You can prevent data from being collected and used by Google Analytics by installing Google's Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Google Translation - googtrans

This cookie is used to remember which language to translate each page into if you have chosen to do so.

It expires at the end of your browser session.


We use a Bing cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Bing to find out more about their cookies.


We use a Google cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Google to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences on Facebook, which we may link to. Facebook may set some of its own cookies if you follow these links.

Visit Facebook to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences and feeds on Twitter, which you may wish to follow or read from this website. Twitter may set some of its own cookies.

Visit Twitter to find out more about their cookies.


We have a YouTube channel, which we may link to. YouTube may set some of its own cookies if you follow those links.

Visit YouTube to find out more about their cookies.


This ASP.NET_Sessionid cookie is essential for the Netloan secure online payments website to work, and is set when you arrive to the site. This cookie is deleted when you close your browser.



This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample which is used to generate funnels.

Visit HotJar to find out more about their cookies.


These cookies are set to help us report on how people are using the site so we can improve it.

Visit Siteimprove to learn more about their cookies.