Virtual School Sensory Support Autumn newsletter

Volunteers needed for parent governor role

I have been a Governor of Virtual School Sensory Support for just over 5 years, having been elected as a Parent Governor in the summer of 2015. At that time my eldest son was just about to start primary school, and he was already receiving support from a fantastic VSSS Teacher of the Visually Impaired. As well as being an opportunity to hopefully contribute something to VSSS, I thought that becoming a Governor might help me to understand the challenges my son may face in the future and to learn about the support that could be available to him. I had no previous school governance experience so I felt a little daunted, but I soon realised that my own perspective as a parent was relevant and highly valued and I gradually learned the rest of what I needed to know over the coming months.

Governors of VSSS attend three Full Governors Board meetings a year, as well as sitting on one of the two committees (Curriculum and Resources). None of these meetings lasts more than two hours, and virtual attendance has made contributing even easier this year. Whilst attending as many meetings as possible is an important commitment to make, it is also extremely rewarding; I have learned so much since I joined the Governing Board, as well as having the opportunity to make a worthwhile contribution to VSSS and in turn have an impact on the lives of children and young people with sensory loss across Norfolk. The Governing Board has remained active this year via online meetings, and it has been especially fulfilling to be able to support VSSS as it has adapted to meet the extreme challenges of recent months.

On a personal level, joining the VSSS Governing Board has been an incredibly valuable experience and has been well worth the time I have spent. As well as the knowledge I have gained which will help me to support my son throughout his education and beyond, I have learned about the importance of good governance and the contribution I can make to that. It has also been incredibly rewarding to play my own part in supporting VSSS in its commitment to championing children and young people with sensory loss, and supporting them to reach their aspirations and potential.

If you are interested in becoming a parent governor of Virtual School Sensory Support, please contact Kate Stocks (headteacher).
You can e-mail Kate on kate.stocks@norfolk.gov.uk or contact her by phone on 07900 164819 or 01603 704040 for an informal conversation and to find out more about what the role involves.

Mask Challenge

This advice aims to support children and young people who are deaf with communication whilst we are a mask wearing society.

Face coverings are a challenge for children and young people who are deaf as they can:

  • Obstruct access to lip-reading and gesture

  • Distort speech
  • Make speech unintelligible

Whilst we are concerned about the communication challenges that face coverings present for children and young people who are deaf; we also respect that people may choose, or be advised, to wear them for their own protection or for the protection of others.

When wearing face coverings please be aware that your voice will be distorted and muffled. When wearing a face covering, a talker needs to take extra care in their speech production (regardless of the level of deafness of the listener). 'Extra care' includes a range of factors detailed below:

  1. Ensure children and young people who are deaf are as close to the person speaking as possible (following socially distancing guidelines where appropriate).
  2. Face children and young people who are deaf when speaking to them.
  3. Reduce the background noise as much as possible.
  4. Make sure you have the attention of the children and young people who are deaf before beginning to speak.
  5. Talk slowly, but do not shout, over-emphasise or exaggerate your words.
  6. Ensure only one person speaks at a time.
  7. Allow time for processing information.
  8. Check comprehension with open questions.
  9. Repeat / rephrase remarks if not understood.
  10. Ensure any hearing devices are being worn and are working.
  11. If applicable / possible make use of a radio aid.
  12. If feasible, consider live captioning, so that what you say is displayed on a device.

Please be also be mindful of the social implications. Talk to any children and young people who are deaf about what they feel would support them whilst mask wearing is required / prevalent.

For further support and guidance please contact your Teacher of the Deaf.

Vision Norfolk offering support & activities/events

Vision Norfolk (formerly NNAB) provision for VI Children, Young People and Families would like to make contact with as many of you as possible across Norfolk.

They offer a range of support and activities for families across Norfolk so please get in touch with them for further information and to be included on the mailing list.

Contact details are as follows: E-mail barbara.dunn@visionnorfolk.org.uk or phone 01603 561242

There are a range of events taking place throughout the year. The following events will be taking place in November and December:

  • 22 November 2pm -3pm (approx) - Virtual Family Fortunes game. A prize for the winning family!
  • 25 November 7.30pm-8pm (approx) - Parents Virtual Social event. A chance for parents to catch up (feel free to bring a drink and nibbles to your laptop), chat and swap ideas for entertaining your children and talk about what you would like from Vision Norfolk going forward. Very informal.

  • 5 December 2pm -3.30pm Children's Virtual Christmas party with Santa. The annual children's Christmas party but done via Zoom!
  • 19 December 2pm -3pm Children's Virtual Christmas Quiz. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prizes

To book a place for any of these events please email barbara.dunn@visionnorfolk.org.uk or call 01603 561242

Warm Christmas Wishes to you all


As Christmas is fast approaching VSSS would like to take this opportunity to wish families we support and professionals we work with a peaceful and happy Christmas and a good start to the new year.

We will be back with news updates in the Spring term. Until then look after yourselves and stay safe!

Best wishes from all of us at VSSS

This news item was published : 20 November 2020.

This news article has been listed as being potentially useful for governors.