Education professionals

RNIB offers support to education professionals working with blind and partially sighted learners from birth to 25, including those with complex needs.

We want to ensure visually impaired children get the best possible start in life and go on to achieve their full potential.

Facts and figures

It is estimated that there are around 25,000 children and young people up to the age of 16 in England and Wales with a visual impairment of sufficient severity to meet the definition of special educational needs, and who therefore require specialist educational support. As many as 50 per cent have additional disabilities, including those with very complex needs. Most are born with a visual impairment. Further key statistics can be found in the following document.

SEN Reforms

New legislation brought about by the Children and Families Act 2014, means that statements for special educational needs will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans. The principle of setting out what an individual child needs remains the same. The change only affect families living in England and nothing will change until September 2014.

Content on this page refers to the current system of assessment and the statement process, which you can still apply for until September 2014. We will be updating our content to reflect the new changes as they are gradually rolled out.

For more details regarding the Children and Families Act 2014 and the new Code of Practice visit:

Guidance and resources

RNIB strives constantly to raise standards in education and improve the quality of teaching and learning for all children and young people with visual impairment.

Our guidance on teaching and learning section is designed to assist you in providing the best possible education and developmental support to blind and partially sighted children and young people. Within this section, we have developed a comprehensive range of effective practice guides and information around educating children and young people with a sight condition including:

  • working with early years children
  • teaching National Curriculum subjects
  • working with school age children
  • working with children with complex needs
  • further and higher education.

Our education resources section compliments this and includes information on classroom resources, downloadable resources, books and electronic textbooks. Our access to exams and texts section includes information on accessible exams, including how to modify papers and how to obtain past papers. Our technology in education and independent learning sections explore how technology can help facilitate greater learning.

Events, training and networks for education professionals

There are some really useful events, training and networks for education professionals working with children and young people with visual impairment, including those with complex needs. These networks and events help to bring professionals together from a variety of settings to share effective practice, professional development, networking and peer support.

Maintaining quality provision

In light of local authority VI service cuts we have put together a variety of resources to help provide evidence and arguments to protect necessary levels of support for blind and partially sighted children and young people.

Resources for young people

Our pages for young people offer advice and guidance for blind and partially sighted young people aged from 14 to 25 on all stages of their transition from school, to college, university and into employment.

Resources for parents

Our resources for parents of blind and partially sighted children includes information on coming to terms with your child's sight condition, financial support, other parents stories, a who's who guide for parents and more.

Get the latest news

You can also find out more by reading Insight Magazine, which keeps parents and education professionals up to date with news and information to support children and young people who are visually impaired.

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