The best start for children with MSI

Here at Sense we believe that no one should be left out of life and for children with MSI (Multi-Sensory Impairment) this starts with not being left out of education.

Our new campaign is asking the Government to give children with MSI the best start in life by increasing the amount of specialist support available in schools.

MSI teachers provide vital support

Due to their co-existing sight and hearing loss, children with MSI often need additional support to be able to achieve their potential.

Children with MSI can receive support from a range of professionals to support their health and educational needs, one of whom is MSI teachers who provide educational support by tailoring a child’s learning to ensure that their needs are met.

MSI teachers usually work by supporting multiple children across different ages and schools by providing additional specialist input in addition to other teaching professionals.

Not enough Local Authorities employ MSI teachers

Despite the vital role these teachers play, evidence gathered by Sense suggests that not enough children are getting access to the specialist support they need. Responses to recent Freedom of Information requests revealed that over half (52%) of Local Authorities across England do not employ any MSI teachers.

There is also large variation in the support available across the county, with an urgent need for more teachers in some areas. For example, in the North West only 19% of Local Authorities reported employing MSI teachers, which is well below the national average.

More investment is needed from national government

We are calling on the Government to address this gap in support by introducing a MSI Education Fund with £34.3 million ring-fenced funding available to Local Authorities in England to improve the provision available. This includes funding to ensure that enough teachers are recruited, trained and employed over the coming years:

  • £4.8 million to train and employ 21 MSI teachers in Local Authorities where there is an urgent need
  • £13.3 million to fill the remaining gaps in provision, by training and employing 58 MSI teachers in Local Authorities where there is no current provision, but a less urgent need
  • £16.2 million to keep 73 MSI teachers in post across England

You can support our campaign by contacting your MP or find out more about the research behind the campaign by contacting the policy research team at Sense

This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.