Meet the Sensory Impairment Team

We work with schools and settings to promote inclusive practice and positive outcomes for children and young people with visual, hearing and multisensory impairments. Teachers in the team have had substantial class teaching experience prior to gaining specialist mandatory qualifications, meaning we can offer realistic and achievable solutions, tailored to the needs of the child and the demands of the curriculum. We also benefit from an Educational Audiologist, Mobility/Habilitation Officer and Peripatetic Teaching Assistants, all of whom hold specialist professional qualifications.

 

What people have to say about us

Parent: “you have an amazing professional team … it's been a huge learning curve for us all but (you) navigated our journey beautifully… I feel assured (he) will have the best chance in life to access his education and that means so much”.

Settings: “Fantastic delivery, really helpful”

“I feel much more confident that I can deliver support”

Melissa Boxall - Professional Lead for Sensory Impairment

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BA (Hons) Social Sciences
  • MA International Studies (University of Sheffield)
  • PGCE in Secondary Education (Sheffield Hallam)
  • PGCert in Bilingualism in Education (Birmingham)
  • BPhil in Special Education - Visual Impairment (Birmingham)
Experience/ area of expertise

Prior to teaching, Mel had a background in development work with people with learning difficulties and acquired brain injuries. She qualified as a teacher in 1997, and taught Humanities/RE in a secondary school before taking up a post as Language and Curriculum Development Co-ordinator in a large comprehensive school in Yorkshire in 1999. Mel undertook a postgraduate EAL qualification and managed a team to improve outcomes for children for whom English was an additional language under the Ethnic Minorities and Travellers Achievement Grant (EMTAG).

Mel became a Specialist Teacher for CYP with Vision impairments in Worcestershire in 2003 and completed the mandatory qualification in 2005.

Mel undertook additional Braille Literacy Training in 2014 and has a particular interest in Braille as well as EAL for pupils with a VI.
Accomplishments

Mel has co-produced a new Braille Competency in Education test for Teaching Assistants and support staff in schools.

Mel has managed change in which the VI, HI and MSI teams have merged to become the SI team.

Worcestershire pupils with SI have demonstrated sustained good outcomes, demonstrated in annual NatSIP benchmarking.
Training Mel delivers
  • Braille
  • Vision Impairment Awareness

 

Mel Westwood - Teacher of the Deaf

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BSc (hons ) in Psychology from The University of Leeds.
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education - Leeds University.
  • Dip ED mandatory qualification in Deaf Education form University of Birmingham.
  • British Sign Language level 1
  • Forest School Leader level 3
Experience/ area of expertise

Mel worked as a Primary school teacher for 23 years, in a wide variety of different schools the largest of which had 350 on roll the smallest 48! She spent 14 years as a Deputy Head Teacher and reception class teacher. She has 5 years’ experience as a peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf, in Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Accomplishments (work/personal)

Mel was responsible developing an exciting and stimulating Forest School site near to the school where she was Deputy head Teacher and developed a program of learning which the school used to support the emotional health and well-being of all the pupils.

Training Mel delivers
  • Deaf awareness
  • room acoustics
  • peer awareness
  • supporting staff in effective use of assistive technology

 

Joanne Gulliver - Senior Specialist Teacher

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • B.Ed. Honours
  • Dip Phil in special needs with hearing impairment.
  • British sign Language level 2
Experience/ area of expertise

Mainstream teacher in Primary for 8 years.

Previous experience includes SENCo and assistant head of a primary school.

Head of a resource base for Hearing impaired children in Sandwell and managed the integration of pupils from the base into mainstream.

Working as a teacher of the Deaf for over 20 years. Now is the senior teacher for the Babcock HI team.

Passionate about improving outcomes for hearing impaired pupils through full inclusion and skilling up mainstream teachers to understand the challenges hearing impaired pupils have in the mainstream classroom.

Senior teacher improving provision for early years therefore closing the gap in language delay.

Accomplishments (work/personal)

Passionate about improving outcomes for hearing impaired pupils through full inclusion and skilling up mainstream teachers to understand the challenges hearing impaired pupils have in the mainstream classroom.

As the Senior teacher have improved the provision for early years therefore closing the gap in language delay.

Have tutored on the PGCE course at Worcester University a work shop for hearing impairment in the classroom.

Training Joanne delivers
  • NatSIP tutor for hearing Impairment so deliver the NatSIP on line course to staff working with hearing impaired pupils.
  • Ordinarily available in the mainstream classroom.
  • Deaf awareness training
  • Early communication/ development in Early year’s settings.
  • Bespoke tailored training for all settings.
  • Exam arrangements
  • Advise for school trips and residential trips.
  • EHCP advise and report writing

 

Joanne Keyte - QTHI Teacher of the Deaf

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • Qualified Mainstream Primary Teacher
  • Qualified Teacher for HI
  • BSL Stage 1

Accomplishments (work/personal)

Jo developed and managed a small Service for HI pupils in the London Borough of Camden for thirteen years. It grew from one Teacher of the Deaf to three Teachers of the Deaf and a part time Educational Audiologist. She created close links with neighbouring boroughs and set up cross borough initiatives including a preschool family support group for parents of deaf children age 0-5years.

Jo joined the Hearing Impaired Service in Worcestershire as a Teacher of the Deaf in 1997 and has supported a wide range of deaf pupils’ age 0-18years during this time.

 

Claire Manford - Specialist Teacher – Multi-Sensory Impairments (MSI)

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BA (Hons) Psychology
  • PGCE
  • PGCert (Autism)
  • Diploma MSI
  • Braille Exam
Experience/ area of expertise Claire is a Specialist Teacher for Children with MSI supporting children with a dual sensory loss and/or a hearing loss or visual loss with additional learning needs. Claire supports children aged 0-25 in a range of settings including the home, nursery, special school, mainstream school or college. Claire has worked for this service for over 10 years. Previously she worked in special and mainstream schools teaching across the EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3. She has worked as part of the management team and lead ICT and Science within school. Claire has also worked as a SATs Examiner, Swimming Teacher and coached a number of sports in school. Claire has written the LA Eligibility Criteria and Local Offer for MSI and is part of a number of national MSI organisations.
Training Claire delivers

 

Claire delivers bespoke training based on the needs of individual pupils and has a special interest in Deaf blindness and Cortical Visual Impairment. Claire is a NatSIP Tutor in MSI. Claire has presented at regional conferences.

 

Claire Bradnock - Senior Specialist Teacher Visual Impairment

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BA Hons Degree in Psychology (Swansea University)
  • PGCE in Primary Education (Worcester University)
  • QTVI Diploma with Braille qualification (Birmingham University) achieving distinctions in her final assignment and research project.
Experience/ area of expertise and Accomplishments

Claire was a Primary Teacher for 13 Years in Birmingham and Worcester Councils, working with all Primary ages from Reception through to year 6. She was a Forest School Leader, completing the mandatory course and developing a new forest school area. She was the Early Years Coordinator for the school for four years, carrying out meetings and bringing local Primary schools together to ensure joined up support.

She has been a Specialist Teacher in Visual Impairment for 5 years since September 2013.

Braille is her area of expertise and passion. Her greatest achievement is to transfer a braillist to a mainstream High School, raising the awareness of children and teachers in the school and supporting the pupil’s inclusion. This is an area which she feels is a vital part of the job.

Claire has supported in developing and carrying out a Braille Competency Exam for Babcock for Teaching Assistants, supporting them as they begin to learn braille and through their course, to ensure they are focussed and developing their own professional development.

She has learnt how to use a variety of VI equipment e.g. Braillenote Touch and Prodigi, V5 Embosser, Duxbury translation package. She gives training to TAs in modifying and translating into braille, supporting braille exams in Literacy, Numeracy and Science at a Secondary level in order to support their VI pupils fully. She has supported many pupils with their technology in order to ensure access to the curriculum as their peers.

Claire has begun to teach music Braille to a pupil, having Grade 4 Piano herself.
Training Claire delivers

 

Claire is a NATSIP Tutor for a VI awareness course for Teaching Assistants, teachers and SENCos to support them with their VI knowledge. She is on her second cohort of participants.

She has contributed to PGCE students’ courses with VI awareness training and offers ongoing training to a variety of establishments from Nurseries, Primary, Middle and High school pupils and staff. She offers bespoke training in VI awareness to settings and peer awareness in school.

 

Catherine Bridge – Specialist Teacher Visual Impairment

Catherine works as an Advisory Teacher of Visual Impairment, working as part of the Sensory Impairment team. Catherine supports children from 0-18 years old following diagnosis and works in home settings, nurseries, schools and colleges. She carries assessments out and provides a range of support packages.

Catherine is available to deliver training which can be tailored to suit individual school needs.

Catherine’s previous role as a mathematics and ICT teacher in mainstream and independent schools, and as an experienced examiner for GCSEs and SATS, has given her an in depth understanding of curricular demands and the support required to achieve success.

Debra Moore Peripatetic Teaching Assistant Visual Impairment

Debra has been working as part of the Visual Impairment Team since 2007 when she started as a 1:1 TA support for a pupil in a Middle school, working 10 hours per week. The role was to ensure that the pupil had equal access to the national curriculum as his peers to enable him to achieve his full potential. This involved adapting school work, either by modification or enlargement, acting as a reader/scribe and consolidating learning individually outside the classroom environment as needed.

Debra then moved onto becoming a Peripatetic TA for the Visual Impairment Team based at Worcestershire County Hall and then with Babcock Prime when they commissioned the service. Debra is a qualified braillist.

Debra’s role is to deliver, on a 1:1 basis, tailored support to individual pupils at schools anywhere within the county as identified by the Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

This can be: touch typing programmes, Braille teaching, handwriting skills, transitioning pupils into new settings, low vision aid skills, preparing individual resources to support pupils learning.

Debra attends regular meetings with the Worcestershire Royal Hospital Senior Orthoptist team to keep up to date and share information on new developments with low vision aids and magnifiers.

Linda Webb - Teacher of Visually Impaired Children

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • B.Ed. (1983)
  • Advanced PGCSE in Special Educational Needs(1999)
  • Postgraduate Diploma: Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Visually Impaired Children (2009)
Experience/ area of expertise

Linda specialised in Early Years during her 20 years as a classroom teacher, but also taught in a school for blind children in Kent, where she learnt braille in the record time of six weeks! This inspired an interest in Special Education, and she has since taught children with a wide range of special needs aged 3-19 years, and has also been a SENCo at a large multicultural infant school. In 2007 she was employed by Herefordshire council as a part-time Teacher of Visually Impaired Children for Early Years, and began her training in this specialism at the University of Birmingham. Linda joined Worcestershire County Council in 2008 and graduated with Distinction as a Qualified Teacher of Visually Impaired Children a year later.

She now supports visually impaired children in the North west of the county, including Kidderminster, Stourport, Bewdley, Droitwich and Bromsgrove and two Special Schools.

Accomplishments

Through this challenging but rewarding work she has developed many new skills, including technology for visually impaired students, exam access regulations and has now supported three teenagers through the trauma of losing their sight. She strongly believe that working with families maximises the benefit of specialist support, so has organised a number of social events for visually impaired children.

Linda has many hobbies and interests, especially in the field of Arts and Crafts, and recently completed a Level 3 City and Guilds Qualification in Embroidery.

Training Linda delivers

Linda is very experienced at delivering training for a wide range of audiences, on topics such as

  • Visual Awareness
  • Peer Awareness
  • Inclusion of Visually Impaired Children in a Nursery/Primary/Secondary School
  • Multi-sensory Education

 

Joanna Brydon - Specialist Teacher Visual Impairment

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BSc Hons Psychology
  • Certificate in Counselling
  • PGCE (SCITT)
  • Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of
  • Children and Young People with Vision
  • Impairments (Postgraduate Diploma)
Experience/ area of expertise

Joanna supports children and young people with visual impairment from birth up to the age of 25 years in the home as well as mainstream and specialist settings

Joanna has previously taught in mainstream at the primary and secondary level as well as in a specialist residential setting for students with visual impairment. She has also worked in the fields of mental health and supporting adults with complex needs.

Accomplishments

Mainstream inclusion of Braillist with pupil achieving above national standard across areas.

Training Joanna delivers

Training can be provided for teaching and support staff in educational settings, including:

  • General Visual Impairment awareness training.
  • Bespoke training on inclusive strategies to accommodate the needs of a specific child with visual impairment within a setting.

 

Francesca Cowell - Mobility/Habilitation Officer

Fran has worked for the Sensory Impairment Team since 2014, specialising in supporting children and young people with a visual impairment (CYPVI). She began working for the team as a one to one classroom support assistant, helping a range of children with a variety of different visual impairments.

Since the beginning of 2017 Fran has been the Habilitation Officer, teaching Mobility and Orientation as well as Independent Living Skills (ILS) to CYPVIs in mainstream and special school. Her role is to teach the CYPVIs to safely access and navigate the environment and to learn to be as independent as possible in preparation for adulthood. Each CYPVI has an individual training plan but the skills taught may include the use of the long cane, road safety, using public transport, cooking, shopping and social skills.

Fran holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight in Children and Young People.

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