The role of the sensory room co-ordinator

The role of the sensory room co-ordinator

This paper was first published in the early 2000’s and this is an updated the sheet for 2014… Richard Hirstwood
sensory coord media-01
Section 1 – General
  1. To have an understanding of the needs and requirements of learners with additional needs.
  2. To understand the communication methods used by the students. Especially pre-intentional and emerging intentional communication.
  3. To understand ongoing assessment of students, in line with the school centres current Assessment, Recording and Reporting Policy.
  4. To develop or expand observations sheets to be filled in at the end of each sensory teaching session by the member of staff assigned to the group or the individual. To be overseen by the sensory curriculum manager in collaboration with subject co-ordinators, therapists and support staff.
  5. To understand the learning style of the students.
  6. To write, update and make staff aware of a comprehensive sensory curriculum policy.
  7. To provide general written information outlining the principles of a sensory curriculum for all staff.
  8. To be responsible for ensuring that all staff engaged in the delivery of multi-sensory teaching are aware of and teach according to the content of the policy document.
  9. To oversee and guide staff assigned to the individual/group with the lead teacher having the responsibility for ensuring appropriate records are maintained.
  10. To present this sensory curriculum policy to new staff as part of their induction package.
  11. To schedule meetings with staff members to discuss/advise on sensory principles, differentiation and practical activities.
  12. To provide training for teaching and support staff, inclusive of sensory curriculum development issues and practical activities.
  13. To identify those students with complex needs and compile individual multi-sensory teaching approaches to be used across the curriculum. Approaches will incorporate pre-requisite skills and specific activities, which will underpin the assessment, process and inform the target setting procedures.
  14. To liaise with O.T, SLT, Physiotherapist, and VI specialist where appropriate for advice on the compilation of multi-sensory teaching approaches.
  15. To liaise with parents, regarding the content and delivery of multi-sensory teaching approaches.
  16. To monitor individuals use of sensory equipment and resources.
  17. To present guidelines on Health and Safety issues when working within the sensory curriculum to all staff members.
  18. To adhere by the recommendations outlined in the health and safety procedures, inclusive of data sheet collection and aromatherapy essential oil safety.
  19. To purchase relevant equipment for rooms and general use, value for money, storage, and safety.
  20. To oversee training issues for the future, inclusive of the use of independent training consultants. 
sensory coord media-02

Section 2 – equipment general

  1. 2 To provide practical training in the use of all electrical sensory equipment, inclusive of sensory trolley, sound beam trolley and studio equipment.
  2. 2 To facilitate availability and use of sensory room and other equipment such equipment as sensory trolley and soundbeam trolley, by providing timetables? Booking systems?
  3. 2 To provide an inventory and description of all equipment, inclusive of instructions on how to use it.
  4. 2 To ensure that faults are monitored and that maintenance and repairs are up to date, (centrally held file of fault notification sheets to be made available).
  5. 2 To check sensory equipment/rooms for cleanliness/tidiness weekly.
  6. 2 To organise and ensure that a cleaning regime is established and maintained.
  7. 2 To check safety of equipment weekly e.g. fibre optic ends to ensure that fibres are contained, bubble tube stability etc.
sensory coord media-06
sensory coord media-04
sensory coord media-07

Section 3 – Specific Equipment

  1. 3 Change bubble tube water every six weeks. To do this you will need a pump if you are viewing this online click here to see the kind of pump best used.
  2. 3 Wipe the outer bubble tube non aggressive industrial cleaner specified for acrylic or washing up liquid will be fine for this job. Other cleaners can damage and cloud the acrylic tube itself. This should be done after any ‘messy’ session, or at least once a day.
  3. 3 Check that the bubble tube top bracket is secure and in place. This generally only applies to fixed bubble tubes over 1m tall.
  4. 3 Wipe soft mats with a soft cloth, periodically with a non aggressive industrial cleaner specified for vinyl or once again washing up liquid will be fine for this job. A little bit of common sense could be used to guide you how often you should do this job. If your groups have very clean feet and don’t drop saliva anywhere then this may not be a regular job, however…
  5. 3 Waterbeds must have conditioner added to the water every six months. There is a website here with great advice about waterbeds. You can buy cleaning/conditioning fluid here.
  6. 3 Wipe fibre optic strands with non aggressive industrial cleaner specified for acrylic or once again washing up liquid will be fine. Generally fibre optics don’t get too dirty, however as they’ll be handled and occasionally mouthed, then wipe down each of the strands will help keep them clean. Should you need to wash the fibre optics make sure you completely disconnect them from the light source and do not immerse the aluminium end into the water.
  7. 3 Check fibre optics for broken ends and re-seal if necessary. Although fibre optics are now made from plastic and there are no glass strands the ends can occasionally break open revealing sharp thin plastic strands. Nowhere near as dangerous as the old glass type but still worth checking.
  8. 3 Check projector lamp fan cooling filters. Although this is a job often carried out by professionals, a visual inspection would be able to ascertain whether or not the filters is becoming clogged with dust. This will greatly reduced the lamp life. Make sure you check your user guide and instructions before attempting to clean any filters.
  9. 3 Check mirror ball  ceiling fixings and check that the mirror facets  are all in place (occasionally they do fall off).
  10. 3 Check all fixtures for high level equipment are secure preferably with nyloc nuts.
  11. 3 Ensure that safety cables are attached to all high-level equipment. This is standard practice in theatres and nightclubs and unbelievable that it’s not in schools.
  12. 3 Check that all battery operated equipment is charged.
  13. 3 Check all equipment including switches are working and in good order.
  14. 3 Make sure that switches and small sensory items are returned to the cupboard.
  15. 3 Check all lamps and fans are working.
  16. 3 Check plugs and electrical connections full-size of fraying or bare wires. Never run cables underneath soft matting!
  17. 3 Check for loose wiring trunking or ducting.

I feel sure there are a lot of things we could add to this list. If you can see any glaring omissions I would really like to know about them and I will have them in. I can be contacted at

Julie Crabtree, Ravenscliffe High School and Richard Hirstwood, Hirstwood Training.