Events, training and networks for education professionals

We offer a range of professional development opportunities to encourage good practice in the education.

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 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 uncommon 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:

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.

Which course to choose?

For further information, you can download our 'Online training opportunities' brochure below:

For a detailed comparison of the two courses download the following course comparison document:

Professional Network Meetings

RNIB/VIEW Braille networking day

  • London 3 July 2014 (postponed from 21 January)
  • Leeds 25 June 2014 (postponed from 13 February)

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. You can find further information, including location and timings, in the Braille networking day programme below, as well as the application forms for each event.

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 refer to the VITAL network information document below, or to be put on the regular email distribution list email

Professional Networks 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

VI forum

The VI Forum is a UK based email discussion network, established to support staff working within education. The list aims to facilitate discussion of issues relating to the teaching of students who are blind or partially sighted and provide an opportunity for teachers and other educational practitioners to discuss issues, share best practice, resources and provide a practical information-sharing forum.

RNIB short courses

Unified English Braille training

The workshop courses below are designed to provide hands-on training in the changes to the braille code resulting from the introduction of Unified English Braille (UEB). They assume some existing knowledge of braille and will be of maximum benefit to people who are already comfortable with contracted braille.

Each course will run from 10am to 4pm and will include lunch.
Price: £20

Technical text courses

Following on from the recent courses covering straight forward literary text in the new Unified English Braille code (UEB), RNIB is pleased to offer a course on technical material in UEB. Whilst no prior knowledge of UEB is required, delegates will benefit from having a basic understanding of the UEB literary code. The course will concentrate on the UEB technical code required for Mathematics and Science from Primary to Advanced Level.

The course will run from 9.45am (refreshments available from 9.30) to 4pm. It will be led by David Spybey, recently retired head of Mathematics at New College Worcester.  The cost of the course is only £20 and as part of your course pack you will receive a 40 page booklet entitled 'An introduction to UEB for mathematics and science'

Several dates are already fully booked however there are currently places remaining on the following courses

  • Thursday 8 May - Bristol
  • Friday 13 June - London (additional date)
  • Friday 20 June - Edinburgh
  • Thursday 26 June - Birmingham

Venue details are available below:

Download an application form:

Please note

There is extensive demand for these courses and many of them are fully booked. Because they are heavily subsidised by RNIB and NatSIP we are unable to provide any more courses with the current funding. We plan to make all the course materials available online after the courses have been held so that anyone who has been unable to attend can work through the exercises on a self teach basis. We will also be able to offer bespoke training to schools and local authority services from September 2014. We will circulate further details of these initiatives (including costs) as they become available.

For further information please email or telephone 020 7874 1308

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