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:

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.

Please note, the next course will start in September 2015.

Watch our Partners in Learning video now!

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.


National Transition Conference: 1 July 2015 (Birmingham)

Pathways through transition: life after compulsory education for young people with vision impairment

Taking place at the University of Birmingham, this one-day conference focusing on the real life experiences of blind and partially sighted young people as they work through the journey from school into further/higher education and into the world of living and working independently. Cost: £95

Find out more and book your place now by downloading the conference overview and completing the application form below:

VIEW Conference: 12-13 March 2015 (Birmingham)

The VIEW conference is the largest conference of its kind in the UK for VI education professionals, offering a great opportunity for networking with colleagues and getting the latest information on policy changes. This year's speakers include Philippa Stobbs from National Children's Bureau and Richard Bowman from Great Ormond Street Hospital. The conference is aimed at education professionals working with blind and partially sighted children and young people.
For further information and to book your place, visit the VIEW website.

Courses and Professional Network Meetings

Upgrade your braille knowledge, learn about the new Unified English Braille code (UEB)

RNIB are pleased to announce that in conjunction with UKAAF (the UK Association of Accessible Formats), we will be presenting two additional training days in Unified English Braille for those who missed out on the National training programme in early 2014. There will be one course in London on the 4th March and one in Birmingham on the 24th March. Please download and complete the application form below and return it as soon as possible as places are limited.

RNIB will also continue to offer the services of an experienced trainer to organisations and authorities wishing to plan their own training days in UEB. Please email for more details.


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:

Online discussion forums

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, Juliette Taylor by emailing

New ‘Teachbraillists’ forum

‘Teachbraillists’ is a new online discussion forum recently launched by RNIB. The forum aims to provide an opportunity for teachers and other educational practitioners to share best practice and discuss issues specifically relating to the teaching and supporting of learners who have the most severe vision impairment and are, or are likely to be, braille users. For further information about the forum, please download the below documents:

Join the 'teachbraillists' forum now!

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


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