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Valence School

Sensory Service


Educational Support for Children and Young People with Sensory Impairment


The Specialist Teaching and Learning Services – Sensory Service is part of the Valence School Outreach. 

The STLS Sensory Service is comprised of teachers with the Mandatory Qualification for sensory impairment and other sensory support professionals.  They provide services in homes, preschools and school across Kent and operate from 14 different venues.

The STLS Sensory Service supports children and young people with:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Deafblindness (Multisensory Impairment)


What does the STLS Sensory Service provide?

For children and young people with a sensory impairment:

  • We support young children’s development, communication and exploration through specialist sessions with preschool children and their families in the home.
  • We build the confidence and capacity of educational settings and schools to meet sensory needs through information sharing, signposting and training.
  • We work to support access to the learning environment, curriculum, communication and information through direct work in preschools and schools including the provision of specialist teaching and equipment.
  • We promote the independence, resilience and well-being through close liaison with children and young people, their families, health professionals and the commissioning of support for mobility training and specialist activities.


How can you access this service?

Children and young people are usually referred on diagnosis by health professionals, including those from the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme. 

Parents, preschools and schools can refer children and young people with diagnosed hearing impairment, visual impairment or deafblindness. 


For the referral forms please contact:

For Hearing Impairment please contact:

West and North Kent – Carol Cousins, HI Coordinator  

Tel: 07920 585433 or email

East and South Kent – Jo Clarke, HI Coordinator 

Tel: 07825 380152 or email

For Visual Impairment referrals please contact:

Jennie Russell, Visual Impairment Coordinator - Referrals, 

Tel:  07795 151364, Email

For Visual Impairment training please contact: 

‚ÄčLisa Bell, Visual Impairment Coordinator - Training, 

Tel: 07917 224205, Email 

For MSI/Deafblind please contact:

Suzanne Wilkins, Head Of Sensory Service,

Tel: 07825 013362, Email 


What happens following a referral?

  • You will be telephoned by a teacher with a specialist qualification in HI, VI or MSI.
  • Your referral may lead to information, signposting or telephone advice to your child’s preschool or school.
  • For children and young people with moderate, severe or profound bilateral sensory impairment specialist teaching will be provided in early years and state-funded mainstream schools.
  • Specialist teaching is provided in the early years at home and in preschools.
  • Specialist teaching is provided in schools which are state-funded mainstream schools, including academies and free schools.
  • Services to maintained Special Schools are part of a bespoke package of support agreed in liaison with the Sensory Link professional at your child’s Special School.


What is specialist teaching?

Specialist teaching can include:

  • Assessing functional hearing and/or vision to provide strategies and advice for the preschool or school.
  • Supporting and monitoring the development language or the use of BSL.
  • Teaching Braille and supporting access to the curriculum through touch.
  • Providing Assistive Listening Devices and supporting the use of amplification.
  • Advising on the size of print, differentiation of work and supporting the use of Electronic Magnification Systems.
  • Monitoring progress and achievement.
  • Delivering training on HI, VI or MSI including the impact of sensory impairment and strategies to support access to learning.

Including learners with sensory impairment

Appropriate approaches to support the inclusion of learners with sensory impairment can be found in:

Mainstream Core Standards for All Learners (Click on the link)


Best Practice Guidance for Sensory Impairment in Special Schools (Click on the link)


For further information on the STLS Sensory Service please contact:

Suzanne Wilkins, Head of Sensory Service, Valence School

Tel: 07825 013362