Events, training and networks for education professionals

We offer a range of professional development opportunities to encourage good practice in the education of children and young people with a vision impairment.

These are designed to ensure inclusion of children and young people who are blind and partially sighted, including those with complex needs.

In addition to these events we also support the work of specialist professional networks operating within the visual impairment field. These will be of interest to school and college teaching staff, learning support assistants, visiting specialist teachers and associated professionals from health and social care teams.

Online training

Visual impairment is a low incidence disability in children and young people and it is not always easy to access the necessary training locally to learn how to support these children effectively. Bringing people together to share knowledge and understanding beyond their own school or local authority boundaries is essential.

One of the main ways in which RNIB sets out to support the professional development of people working in the field is through a regular programme of online accredited or certificated training courses for professionals:

Braille literacy course

RNIB and NatSIP have collaborated to develop a new online course to support the teaching of literacy through braille by qualified teachers of children with vision impairment or those in training. A subsidised pilot will run in November 2014 to evaluate the new course. For further information please download the information below:

Partners in Learning course

Partners in Learning is a level 3 BTEC course developed between RNIB and the Open University, using a blended learning approach of online study and discussion activities supported by two face-to-face training days. The course consists of six units and is studied over 12 months, as part of a group.

Understanding visual impairment in children and young people

Understanding visual impairment in children and young people is a two unit course developed from Partners in Learning. Students can enrol at any time and study at their own pace. The course includes a range of assessment activities and leads to an RNIB certificate.

Face to face events

Early Years

A two-day course "Assessment and Management of Infants and Young Children with Severe Visual Impairment: Identifying risk and vulnerability and promoting optimal outcomes" will take place on 11-12 November 2014 and is coordinated by Naomi Dale (Consultant Clinical Psychologist), Alison Salt and Jenefer Sargent (Consultant Paediatricians), from the Developmental Vision team, Wolfson Neurodisability Service, GOSH. For registration and further information, please visit the Participant website.

Training in Unified English Braille

We are able to offer the services of an experienced trainer to organisations and authorities wishing to plan their own training days in UEB. We are also keeping a register of individuals who are interested in attending an RNIB course. If there is sufficient demand then these will take place towards the end of the year. For further information, please email

Exams update day  | 2 December London | 4 December Leeds

What: An opportunity to refresh your knowledge and understanding of access arrangements for external tests and exams and to raise any issues of concern with key specialists.
Who: Education professionals working with children and young people with vision impairment who are following the mainstream curriculum.

Professional Network Meetings

RNIB/VIEW Braille networking day

RNIB/VIEW Braille networking days are an opportunity to learn about good practice around braille learning from fellow VI professionals and to share information and ideas about resources and teaching approaches.

The next meetings will be held in January 2015 - dates to be confirmed. 

VITAL (Visual Impairment Touches All Learning) Network

VITAL is a network of professionals working with children with complex needs and visual impairment. VITAL is facilitated by RNIB but is mainly comprised of teaching and associated professionals working in schools, services, early years and health settings. We have four regional VITAL groups operating in the following regions:

  • London and the South East
  • The South West
  • The West Midlands
  • South Wales

Each group meets twice a year. For more information please email or view the following documents:

VITAL meetings now available for booking

1) A Curriculum for children and young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities - VITAL London and South East meeting

Tuesday 11 November 2014

This meeting, presented by Penny Lacey (University of Birmingham & Castle Wood School) will explore a curriculum framework, including planning, activities and assessments, for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and vision impairment.

Venue:  RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE. Meeting Room 5 and 6.

Cost:  £40 including refreshments and lunch

2) iPad accessibility with Matthew Carr – including the use of iPads with children with Cerebral Visual Impairment - VITAL West Midlands Meeting

Wednesday December 10 2014

Venue: RNIB Pears Centre Wheelwright Lane Ash Green, Wheelwright Lane, Ash Green, Coventry CV7 9RA

Cost: £40 including refreshments and lunch

To book a place, please download the booking form and email it to: or telephone 01509 632 413.

Professionals network framework

RNIB is currently involved in bringing together a national framework of professional networks within the visual impairment field, with the aim of providing information about their activities in one place. Our network directory forms a key part of our role in promoting effective practice in the education and development of blind and partially sighted children and young people. 

For further information on professional networks contact the RNIB Children, Young People and Families Team at

Vision Impairment Forum (VI Forum)

VI Forum is a UK-based online discussion group, for all professionals working with children and young people with a visual impairment within an educational environment.

It is for discussing issues relating to the teaching of students with visual impairments. The list aims to provide an opportunity for teachers and other educational practitioners to discuss issues and provide a practical information-sharing forum.

For further information go to VI forum, or contact VI Forum Moderator, Janet Cuthbert by emailing

New Forum ‘Teachbraillists’

‘Teachbraillists’ is a new discussion forum recently launched and hosted by RNIB. The list aims to provide an opportunity for teachers and other educational practitioners to discuss issues and provide a practical information-sharing forum.  Teachbraillists , which  has been developed in addition to VI Forum to run side by side and complementary to it, is for discussing all issues relating to the teaching and supporting of learners who have the most severe vision impairment and are, or are likely to be, braille users. 

To join ‘Teachbraillists’ visit their forum.

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