What is The Sensory Festival?

11 & 12 July 2020 – online

The Sensory Festival will create a wealth of sensory ideas and strategies around supporting engagement in learning and the emotional resilience of learners with complex needs, autism and SEND.  Lockdown has been a very challenging and isolating time for both parents and practitioners.


The Sensory Festival will inspire everyone to rejuvenate their sensory approaches to having fun, building and maintaining relationships and re-engaging in learning.


It is a weekend of video presentations; online workshops; question and answer sessions and live Zoom sessions!


We begin each day at 10am with a live ‘Welcome session’ with Richard Hirstwood. He’ll let you know how you can ask questions and which presenters will be involved in the Zoom meeting on that day at 2pm!

Our themes for The Sensory Festival are:


Mental Health and Wellbeing

Implementation of the Engagement Model and The Rochford Review


Creating sensory resources

Autism & difficult behaviour

Transitions and going back to school


Presentations include:


Barry Carpenter, OBE, CBE – ‘The Recovery Curriculum’

Richard Hirstwood – ‘Stripped Back Sensory’

Carol Allen – ‘Learning without limits!’

Chris Barson – Autism Q & A’s

Nick Sheffield – ‘The Engagement Model & the Curriculum’

Pete Wells – ‘Gobbin Hood and His Merry Phlegm!’ Deconstructing a Disgusting Sensory Story

Jeanette Scull – ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’

Jen Steptoe – ‘Creating a busy board – and why you need one!’

Jo Grace – ‘Sensory engagement for mental wellbeing’

Clive Smith – Sensory Issues and Challenging Behaviour

Les Staves – The Sensory Roots of Learning

Sarah Moseley – Let’s get reading! Structured approaches and learners with SEND

Jeanette Scull – ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’

Mike Ayres – ‘Touch and tactile wall panels’

Katie Fielding – ‘The Kingsbury Way introducing our Rainbow Experience’ (Recovery Curriculum)

Ian Bean – ‘Early cause and effect and switching progression’

Leigh Blakeman – ‘Zoom and home learning lessons’

With more to come from Becky Lyddon, Julie Cowpe-Stephens and Helen Dillon!

The Sensory Festival Chat Room.


This Chat Room is where you can ask a question, share your thoughts and interact with other like-minded Sensory Festival goers!

We’ll be asking:

What is your best ever ‘desert island’ sensory resource?

What sensory item could you not have done without in Lockdown?

What is your best sensory make ever?

Amongst other questions…and we can’t wait to hear your answers!

It’s also here that you can ask a presenter a question – what do you want to know from Nick Sheffield about implementing the Engagement Tool in your classroom?  What is Carol Allen’s advice about transitioning an anxious learner back into the classroom?


‘Sensory Invention Test’


We want you to join our ‘Sensory Invention Test’ and share your creations with the Sensory Festival Chat Room!  How will you use your invention with your child or with your class?  Share your pictures and ideas in the chat room!


Live Zoom at 2pm each day!


Each day at 2pm  we’ll also be having a Zoom Session with our presenters – a chance to ask those burning questions raised through the video presentations.


Who should come to The Sensory Festival?


We welcome everyone to join The Sensory Festival! Parents, practitioners, teachers, teaching assistants, therapists from around the world can join us – from those beginning their multi sensory journey to those who are more experienced!


What do I need to join in?


When you buy a ticket for The Sensory Festival you will create an account with us using your email address.  This is where you will access the Sensory Festival on the 11 & 12 July.  If you already have an account with us, then you can use this email to buy a ticket and when you log into your dashboard you will see The Sensory Festival waiting for you.   You will also need internet access and a computer/phone or tablet and access to Zoom.  We also recommend you are well stocked with tea/coffee/snacks/cake or whatever you fancy for the duration!  This is the beauty of online participation!


Video Presentations

All the video presentations will be available early on Saturday morning for you to work through at your own pace.  These will be available to you for a week following the Festival. Watch unseen videos or re-watch your favourites!


Group Bookings


Schools or settings who wish to buy multiple tickets for The Sensory Festival should contact Lois to make a booking.  Lois will make this multiple booking for you and raise an invoice for the cost – a much simpler process for booking your collegues on The Sensory Festival!  Contact details – lois@hirstwood.com or 01524 426 395.

The Sensory Festival £24 (inc VAT.)

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