As a regional resource, the MSI (Multi-Sensory Impairment) Department provide a specialist curriculum tailored for deaf-blind learners with unique sensory and learning needs, developing their ability to understand and interact with people and the world around them.
We believe in a happy learning community.
Children with multi-sensory impairments (MSI) have both hearing and visual impairments (deaf-blindness), often with other disabilities, which hugely affect their learning and communication. At the Victoria School MSI Unit, pupils follow a specialist curriculum to help them learn to understand and interact with people and the world around them. We have very high levels of staffing - 1:1 or better for many activities. We also have high levels of expertise, with ongoing specialist training for all staff. Our curriculum was developed at Victoria to meet the complex needs of pupils with MSI. It was published in 2009 by Sense, and is now used nationally in a number of other settings and services for children with MSI.
The Unit is a regional resource, established in the mid-1990s and educating up to 15 children with MSI from Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall. We take pupils from 2-19, with varying combinations of hearing and visual impairments and other difficulties which mean they need a specialist environment in order to thrive. Our pupils all have some degree independent intentional movement enabling them to explore and act on their environment.
Each pupil has an individual timetable and teaching programme, based on their specific learning needs and interests. They work with a limited number of staff, who are skilled in 'reading' their signals and encouraging their communication and curiosity. We use whatever communication approaches best suit each child – speech, signing, object or picture symbols, switches, gesture, movement signals – presented as clearly as possible. If signing is used, for example, it may be on-body or accessed visually or through hand-under-hand touch. It depends on the child’s needs and preferences.
Some pupils are regularly included in main school or other local special schools for specific sessions; all have the opportunity to participate in school-wide art and music workshops and performances. We also use community facilities, with regular trips out to extend learning.
We have strong links with the local sensory support services, with the University of Birmingham, which provides a mandatory two-year specialist qualification in MSI for teachers, with Sense and with specialist MSI services elsewhere in the country. These links help us to stay up-to-date and to contribute to the wider MSI field.