The need for specialist support
Why do blind and partially sighted children and young people ned support from specially qualified teachers? Take a look at the evidence here...
Cuts to specialist support services have the potential to dramatically affect the support children with vision impairment receive, and how well they do at school and in later life.
RNIB collects data on local authority vision impairment (VI) education services so that we can monitor changes to provision for children and young people. See the key findings from our 2013 Freedom of Information (FOI) request to local authorities in England.
Protecting specialist services for children with vision impairment
Our information leaflet ensures that local authority officers understand the importance of maintaining specialist education services for children with vision impairment even when budgets are tight. It also explains the legal implications of changes that reduce specialist support.
Download your copy below:
- Protecting specialist services for children with vision impairment (Word, 180 KB)
- Protecting specialist services for children with vision impairment (PDF, 520 KB)
At RNIB we would be pleased to advise local authorities on the issues raised in this document.
Campaigning against cuts
We have lots of advice and guidance on campaigning to help you campaign against cuts in your local area.
We have also produced a document to help campaigners understand how the law can be used to help fight cuts to valued services in their area.
- A practical guide for campaigners - disabled people, families, carers and local groups (Updated version July 2012) (Word, 180 KB)
Find out the contact details of your RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for further support.
Evidence to support specialist provision
This section provides useful information to underpin the need for specialist services for blind and partially sighted children. The information is grouped into the five key areas:
1. Statutory requirements and guidance for LAs
There are several key areas where schools and local authorities have statutory obligations to children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Our Statutory requirements and guidance for LAs document lists the key legal duties, discrimination legislation, and the latest SEND green paper report to help support your case.
2. Guidelines and quality standards in education
There are many policies, guidelines and standards relating to educational provision for blind and partially sighted children. These do not have statutory force but are useful to reference as effective practice.
3. Evidence of need for specialist support
Where there is clear evidence of the need for specialist support, it follows that there is a requirement for specialist intervention to address that need. This document contains the latest research evidence to highlight the need for this specialist area of support.
RNIB research briefing on the needs of children and young people with vision impairment
The RNIB briefing presents evidence from the research literature of the developmental effects of vision impairment on babies, children and young people.
International review of the literature of evidence of best practice models and outcomes in the education of blind and visually impaired children
Provides a detailed evidence base of the effects of childhood vision impairment and gives recommendations for ensuring effective educational support and teaching practice.
- Read this report on our Education research section.
A review of the literature into effective practice in teaching literacy through Braille
Brings together research evidence on effective practice in teaching literacy through braille in mainstream settings. The findings are presented to be of practical use for teachers in their approaches to the teaching of literacy through braille to young children.
- Read this report on our Education research pages.
4. Demonstrating impact of VI service provision
This section contains resources to assist VI services in providing evidence of the added value they contribute to the outcomes for blind and partially sighted pupils.
Benchmarking outcome measurements
NatSIP Outcomes project
The National Sensory Impairment Partnership is developing tools to assist services with benchmarking clear outcome measurements for children and young people with sensory impairment in order to show the value added by their input. Visit the NatSip website to read more about the NatSIP Outcomes project.
Identifying the contribution of LA services
Quality standards for special educational needs support and outreach services - Department for Education (2008)
Page 9 of this document makes the important point that services can take equal credit with schools for the progress of pupils they support.
Download these standards on the Department for Education website.
Evidence of your pupils' attainment against national averages is an important way of demonstrating impact. There are two sources of evidence available here.
DfE Annual Report
DfE publish an annual report analysing the attainment of pupils with SEN at the end of each key stage. However, the DfE analysis does not differentiate between pupils with vision impairment only and those with vision impairment and additional SEN.
Download the latest Children with SEN analysis on the Department for Education website.
RNIB Secondary Analysis of data
We carried out our own secondary analysis of the 2007-8 data to provide a more meaningful picture. This analysis showed the negative educational impact on pupils with vision impairment of having an additional SEN. You can download two reports:
- RNIB Analysis of attainment of children from Foundation Stage to the end of Year 6
- RNIB Analysis of attainment of pupils at Key Stages 3 and 4
Read these reports in our Education research section.
5. Reports on LA specialist support services
The reports in this section present evidence of the impact of models of SEN support on learners with a view to informing policy and practice.
Inclusion: the impact of LEA support and outreach services (Ofsted 2005)
This report reviewed the quality of external SEN support to schools and provides an analysis of good practice in six local authorities.
Download this report on the Ofsted website.
Inclusion: does it matter where pupils are taught (Ofsted 2006)
This report examines the factors that promote good outcomes across a range of different provision for pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Download this report from the National Archives.
National audit of support, services and provision for children with low incidence needs (Special Needs Consultancy 2006)
This report explored how Local Authorities meet the needs of children with low incidence SEN and made recommendations to inform policy and practice development at local and regional level.
Download this report from the Department of Education (DfE) Archives.
Get in touch
We intend this to be a living resource so please get in touch to suggest other evidence we could include or share your experiences by emailing email@example.com
Knowledge and research hub
We are a leading source of information on sight loss and the issues affecting blind and partially sighted people. Access our statistics, evidence and reports in our research hub.Visit the research hub