1st Edition

Becoming a Sensory Aware School A Toolkit to Develop a Whole School Approach for Sensory Wellbeing

By Alice Hoyle, Tessa Hyde Copyright 2025
    260 Pages 31 Color & 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    260 Pages 31 Color & 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    Sensory needs are often misunderstood and, as a result, neglected across many schools.  Yet sensory needs are universal foundational building blocks at the base of both human and learning needs. This practical book covers everything schools need to know and consider about the sensory needs of all students and staff within the school environment. By focusing on all sensory needs in a holistic way, this leads to a deeper understanding of one another and is a truly inclusive approach to benefit all. 

    Sensory aware schools have the potential for happier and more productive learning environments, with reduced potential for disruption as well as improvements in how school communities work and learn together.  Chapters look at the sensory aware student and teacher and the sensory aware classroom and school, setting out the roadmap for working from sensory awareness to sensory inclusion and towards sensory wellbeing. 

     The book:

    • Sets out the core and quality standards for Sensory Aware Schools
    • Provides a clear introduction to sensory systems and sensory awareness, discussing a variety  of different models and approaches
    • Contains audit tools to help the reader to reflect on sensory needs, as well as a wealth of best practice tips, reflective questions, and case studies
    • Develops staff skills in recognising and responding to sensory needs
    • Offers easy-to-implement, practical strategies for effective, short-term adjustments as well as long-term improvements to the sensory school environment 
    • Includes an extensive sensory curriculum for students.

    This accessible book equips the reader with a multitude of strategies and resources and illustrates how adopting a whole school approach to sensory wellbeing will benefit everyone. It is essential reading for school leaders, SENDCOs, and primary and secondary teachers in mainstream or specialist provision, who are keen to develop an ethos of supporting sensory needs.


    Chapter 1- Introduction

    Chapter 2- Sensory Aware Schools                                                                                    

    Chapter 3- Understanding our Sensory World

    Chapter 4- You are a Sensory Individual

    Chapter 5 Recognising and Responding to Sensory Needs

    Chapter 6 Developing your sensory curriculum

    Chapter 7- The Sensory Aware School Environment Page X

    Chapter 8 The Whole School Approach to becoming a sensory aware school

    Chapter 9 Conclusion and Next Steps                                                            

    Further Reading and Resources


    Alice Hoyle is a wellbeing education consultant specialising in Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RSHE). She is a neurodivergent (ND) mum supporting varying levels of sensory needs in her ND family. Having worked in schools as a teacher, PSHE lead, Youth Worker and LEA Education adviser for two decades, she is very aware how sensory needs are hugely misunderstood and neglected across many mainstream schools.

    Tessa Hyde is an Occupational Therapist with nearly forty years of experience working in the NHS and independent sector. She works with schools and families to assess, identify and support the sensory and physical motor co-ordination needs of school aged children. Tessa has a wealth of knowledge and strategies to support coordination and sensory needs at home and school.

    Alice and Tessa were neighbours for ten years. This book was created after Tessa led a successful assessment on one of Alice’s daughters, where the suggested strategies were transformative.

    "This is an absolutely fantastic resource, I was entranced by all of the amazing activities and how incredibly useful they are. I love the visuals, and the catfood session had me squirming! I think this toolkit will make such a difference in raising awareness and understanding as well as making necessary changes to sensory wellbeing in schools." 

    Jane De Ste Croix, Principal Educational Psychologist Bath and North East Somerset