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22.10.19

One in three children with vision impairments missing out on specialist support

Since 2017 thousands of children with vision impairments have had to suffer from cuts or frozen funding for specialist education services, a new report by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has said.

Despite the rise in the number of children and young people requiring and accessing specialist support, 43% of local authorities have also reported a decrease in Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVI). These teachers are vital for making education accessible for children and young people who have visual impairments.

These reductions on QTVI has resulted in an increased workload for those that remain, and almost a quarter of local authorities are planning further reviews that could result in more cuts.

The report also states that having the right support in place for children with visual impairments can allow barriers to be removed for learning and enable them to develop the specialist skills they need to succeed, not just at school but as adults with full lives.

Keith Valentine, director of development at RNIB, said: “Every day in schools across England, children are expected to learn by reading books, watching demonstrations, interpreting graphs and completing written tasks. But these activities all rely heavily on the ability to see.

“Children and young people with vision impairment require specialist support to access the curriculum, navigate their school, take part in sports or games and learn on equal terms with sighted children. This vital support enables them to develop the essential skills they need to succeed, not just at school, but as adults with full lives.”

Along with the report, RNIB have illustrated their findings with a map which illustrates where local authorities have frozen, cut or threatened changes to finding for vison impairment services, along with an accessible list of the data they have collated. The map conveys how structures, practices and budgets for specialist education services differ significantly across local authorities.

 

 

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