Long Term Coaching and Inset Days online/offline

Day Courses – With the Hirstwood Team

As Hirstwood Training can’t visit your school at this moment in time, we are offering single day, half day or multiple day courses carried out via zoom and our own online hosting platform. As you may expect from Hirstwood Training these courses are fun and engaging and have a massive impact on schools sensory approaches.


Bespoke/Coaching – With the Hirstwood Team

Do you have NQT’s (or teachers new to your school) who would be helped by the opportunity to learn more about working with a sensory curriculum and understanding sensory issues?

Do you have a sensory target on your School Development Plan, for example to create sensory spaces?  To make more effective use of your sensory room/space?  To re-envisage the use of your outdoor space?

Do you have a year group that would really benefit from some personalised sensory activities and exploration?

Do you want to work on a project in partnership with your parents/carers to look at sensory connections between home and school?

Would you like to identify and empower specific staff (Teachers/TA’s) to lead on sensory work across school?

Would you like to develop a sensory outreach service or design a sensory library to support local mainstream schools?

Would you like to consider a particular curriculum area from a sensory perspective and create a range of accessible activities that can be used across school?

Would you like to use your sensory room more effectively?


You may want all of the above, or perhaps an identified need specific to your school, can be supported and developed by a brand new offer from Hirstwood Training.   


Hirstwood Training already offers a wide range of online courses, half day and full day seminars and online conferences thus translating our usual face to face events to meet current demand for remote learning.  


We have worked to produce a series of robust, and effective blended learning opportunities which exploit the particular features that remote learning offers us all. 


To add to these, we are offering a new option that is designed to support your needs more precisely, and because it is delivered over an agreed time period, it allows for development applied to your own educational environment.  This means that, based on an initial discussion to identify aims and structure, your staff can be supported and mentored with clear input that works to enhance their skills and knowledge whilst at a strategic level, moves your school forward and enhances opportunities for your learners.  Having tested this approach we have found:


Clear evidence of impact on an agreed aim/objectives

Engagement and development of staff is enhanced

Flexibility allows for accommodation of unexpected changes


We are finding that the ability to work on a learning process over time, with regulated and variety of input combined with a mentoring system, allows for a very different, and rewarding CPD experience.


The time scale will be agreed in the initial discussion where an action plan for delivery will be created.  Your CPD intervention may take place over a month (for small scope projects) to a term or year.  Key elements will include:

1. Initial discussion to agree nature and scope of the project.

2. Suggested Action Plan sent to you for approval.

3. Initial CPD session delivered via Zoom.

Followup sessions may include

A. Theory sessions

B. Action research

C. Discussion sessions

D. Practical activities and ideas

1. There will be access to mentoring throughout the project – this allows for individual queries, concerns or ideas to be shared and supported quickly.

2. A final session to draw together outcomes and identify next steps.  (Hopefully this will be able to be a face to face session at your school if current restrictions ease)

3. A short report that you can use for Governors, Ofsted, funding bids.


Interested?  This CPD offering allows us to personalise exactly to match the needs of your school and combined with a longitudinal approach with maintained contact throughout, will maximise the impact and thus change is effected in a way which ensures it is embedded in practice.  Better outcomes for your school; your staff and of course, your students…what’s not to like?


Why not get in touch for a chat by emailing lois@hirstwood.com 


We genuinely want to respond to your needs and have the team and skill set to do so effectively..and always with positivity.

Mix and match the sessions below to give you an idea of your personalised agenda
Just click on the words to see the content (in no particular order).

How to create a sensory classroom

Every classroom is a multisensory room. Let us help you to make your classroom a great environment for successful learning.

Each year, you need to adapt your classroom environment to match the sensory abilities of your new pupils.

How do we make sure that pupils can take part in the sensory learning opportunities on offer? How does the environment support this engagement and interaction?

We can show you a range of ideas and strategies for developing sensory spaces; from large classrooms to the smallest sensory corners!

Clonker or resonance boards

Communication is key to most educational objectives, but a huge challenge for many individuals with autism, PMLD and sensory and physical impairments. Naomi has a plethora of dynamic, but simple, ideas to share to using music, sound and vibration to develop engagement. From Lycra loops, curriculum links, beads, stories and much more, you’ll have a greater range of ideas at your fingertips to integrate your resonance board into everyday learning and classroom activities.

Introducing an Environmental Audit

In your setting, the influence of the environment can have a huge impact on successful learning.

For a learner with autism, or a learner with severe or complex learning needs; this impact can be very different.

In this session, we introduce you to an Environmental Audit. Completing this will tell you how ‘autism or sensory impairment friendly’ your learning space is. We then share simple adaptations to support learners to make more ‘sense’ of their learning environment.

Creating portable sensory spaces

Every room can be a sensory room, but how you modify an environment to ensure that individuals are able to fully participate in the sensory experiences we offer?

Sometimes you just need a small, portable or temporary sensory space. This could be a corner of a classroom, a bedroom or any other place. But what should you use to make your environment? What sensory resources does it need in it?

We will share a plethora of ideas and strategies for developing sensory spaces – from large scale environments to the smallest sensory spaces!

Sensory Stories

A sensory story is a vehicle used to deliver many outcomes. Relaxation; specific learning targets; interaction; sharing with others; communication…the list can be endless!

But there is much more to sensory stories than picking up a book and reading it from front to back!

To engage our learners it needs to be multisensory, but how multisensory does it need to be?

In this fun and engaging session, we look at the importance of:
how a sensory story supports learning
‘bite-size’ stories and how to choose them
why repetition is your friend
how to use digital/mobile technology to enhance the interactivity of a story
choosing multisensory stimuli for your story

At the end of this session, you will be confident to create your own multisensory story full of engaging sensory learning opportunities!

iPads in SEN

We have a huge armoury of ‘tried and tested’ sensory apps and online training resources to share with you on how to use iPad apps for sensory learning, visual stimulation, hearing loss, interaction, communication development, curriculum links, and sensory stories – without downloading a thousand apps!

Working with sensory loss

This is a powerful and thought-provoking session. We enable you to experience your school and learning environments as your multisensory impaired learners do.

We simulate different tactile, visual and hearing impairments. Then working in pairs, with one enabler and one experiencer; you explore and move around the school environment.

Is it easy to find your way around? Do you feel disorientated or lost? What sensory clues are available in the environment for you?

This session will enable you to understand:
why some learners react unexpectedly in different environments
why learners are more successful in some environments than others
how to change your environment to support your learner’s sensory abilities
how clutter in the learning environment can be confusing

This session would combine well with ‘Introducing an Environmental Audit.’

Sensory Communication

Communication is one of the most important skills we want our learners to develop. How do we support our learners to develop these crucial skills?

In this session, we experience the same successes; frustrations and communication breakdowns as our learners do. We experience the need to use many different ways to communicate, and why a more sensory approach to communication is often required.

Understanding a learners communication frustrations will make you a more effective and receptive communication partner.

Sensory for pre-formal and semi-formal learners

We begin by outlining the principles of multisensory learning. We’ll look at the importance of a sensory curriculum – and what this means in everyday practice. We will look at why our learners need sensory stimulation and this interactive session will show you how learners can engage through fun, appropriate and regulated sensory stimulation. We will finish by looking at our understanding of how the brain works – and how this knowledge is changing and reinforcing our sensory approaches to learning.

Learn how to create sensory spaces for learners with autism

How should sensory spaces be different for learners with autism? We offer a range of ideas and strategies to create sensory spaces that are safe and effective for learners with autism. These positive spaces build upon learning strengths to develop attention, interaction and communication. We look at how to use these spaces for sensory ‘seekers’ and sensory ‘avoiders.’

Using a sensory profile for a learner enables us to identify the best sensory strategies for their successful learning.

This session links well with ‘Identifying learners sensory strengths.’

How to use your sensory room effectively

We’ve been working in multisensory rooms since they first appeared! ‘The practical guide to multisensory rooms’ (Hirstwood & Gray 1995) is still one of the few texts to focus on the use and development of multisensory rooms.

This session will make clear what a multisensory room is, and the potential this space has.

We look at each piece of multisensory equipment as a tool and describe how to use it and what you can achieve with it.

We share many ideas on how to use your multisensory room with different learners to maximise the impact of this space.

After this session, you will understand how to use your multisensory room to create clear, engaging and appropriate multisensory learning opportunities for all your learners.

Sensory on a shoestring

Sensory on a shoestring tools complement your sensory approach to learning. These shoestring tools can be powerful motivators, attention-getters and story-makers and more!

And sensory tools don’t have to be expensive!

There are many things from pound shops and, of course, suppliers like Ikea/Tiger/Maplin, which can create engaging sensory sessions.

Remember! Matching sensory needs with cheap and cheerful tools means you will discover an easy way of engaging sensory learners further in their learning.

How you can understand over and under stimulation

We know that some learners are over-stimulated, and some need extra stimulation; to keep them engaged in learning.

We help you to understand that under and over stimulation applies to all the sensory modalities. These are vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, vestibular & proprioception.

This session will increase your team’s awareness of sensory loss; its impact on communication and learning; and why we need to give more modulated sensory clues for our learners.

Finding the learners sensory strengths

Let us show you what a learner’s sensory strengths are and how to create sensory activities they will want to engage with. Engaged learners are successful learners!

Understand a learner’s sensory challenges and you identify their barriers to learning.

By identifying a learner’s sensory strengths and challenges you can offer more appropriate, relevant and engaging sensory learning opportunities.

Why sensory stimulation?

What is sensory stimulation? Which learners need sensory stimulation? This session considers the basics of sensory stimulation and it’s importance for all learners with SEND.

We look at the sensory modalities and why they are important in learning for all learners. These are vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, vestibular & proprioception.

Each of our senses reinforce each other, giving us more detailed information together than we would receive from one sense. This enables us to understand and interact in and with our environment. For learners with SEND, this is the beginning of developing sensory regulation.

What is multi sensory learning?

We explore our world by seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, moving in it and, sometimes, tasting it.

This is multisensory learning – learning that involves two or more senses in the same activity. This kind of learning is how we all learn as babies, before we become more cognitive learners.

For learners with SEND, multi sensory information is critical to their learning success. This multi sensory information helps a learner to understand and engage in the environment around them.

This is especially important if a learner has a sensory impairment, e.g. a visual impairment and receives less information via this sense.

Multi sensory learning enables the learner with SEND to be more successful in engaging with, understanding and remembering the learning experiences we offer.

Assessment & Target setting

Do you want to simplify the way you set targets? We want to introduce you to a simple, but powerful tool, which will do just that. Our target setting system is based on a well-researched formula, which is flexible too – saving you time, reducing paperwork and giving you an easier, visual way to track progress.

We’ll explore how to break down a goal into achievable targets, ‘scaffolding’ the learner’s emerging skills in a way which will support their learning. We will also share how to build assessment and recording into everyday classroom or learning environment.

Hirstwood Training are always here to answer questions for you, let’s have a chat!