Education at RNIB Pears Centre

Our special school for children and young people with multiple disabilities, complex health needs and visual impairments at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning is graded "Outstanding" by Ofsted.

Our specialist school and nursery

Building on over 50 years’ experience, we offer a stimulating and supportive, purpose-built environment for children and young people with multiple disabilities and complex health needs who are blind or partially sighted to reach their full potential for learning, independence and fulfilment. Our school is recognised by the Department for Education (DfE) as a non-maintained special school for up to 70 pupils, aged 2 to 19.

The majority of our teachers are Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (QTVIs), or are working towards this qualification. Teaching assistants also undertake additional studies to become specialists in supporting children with complex needs and visual impairment to learn. 

'The Orchard': specialist provision for children aged 2 to 7 years

We offer a newly established early years education provision in our well-staffed specialist nursery, called 'The Orchard'. Each child who attends The Orchard receives a tailored education package that caters for their special educational needs. This includes an individual timetable and a learning journey when they start.

'Periscope': specialist outreach service

Our specialist outreach service called 'Periscope' offers practical support to individual pupils and educational advice and guidance to professionals and parents. Our team also carry out a range of assessments, reviews and reports to facilitate and improve learning, such as functional vision assessments.

Class groups

Class groups are arranged considering not just age but developmental and sensory need. Each class is kept to a small number of usually no more than seven pupils.
The staff team within each class includes:

  • one teacher
  • a senior teaching assistant
  • at least two additional teaching assistants.

Our curriculum

Our school provides a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which is differentiated to meet our students' individual needs. Lessons are varied, with students taking part in one-to-one work, small group sessions and whole class activities. Achievements are regularly celebrated and shared. Read more about our Curriculum at RNIB Pears Centre.

School facilities and multi-sensory resources

Our purpose-built school offers a range of specialist fully-accessible facilities including:

  • versatile classrooms with space for one-to-one and group activities, as well as physiotherapy and mobility equipment
  • multi-sensory environments
  • a large school hall
  • a library
  • an art and technology room
  • a music room
  • a sixth form centre
  • movement and therapy rooms.
  • meeting and conference rooms.

There are excellent amenities for personal care and overhead tracking for hoists is provided. Corridors are wide and all areas are accessible to wheelchair users. We aim to provide an uncluttered environment in which children and young people can develop their orientation and mobility skills. We also use environmental objects of reference and assistive technology to help children with complex needs understand their surroundings.

Specialist learning resources

Our school at RNIB Pears Centre is well equipped with specialist resources which enable students to access learning in a variety of ways. Switches enable children and young people to operate a range of equipment, and communication aids support alternative ways of interacting. We make extensive use of assistive technology (AT) and low-vision aids (LVAs). We offer a good provision of computers, including iPads, and students are able to access the internet to enhance and extend their learning.

RNIB Pears Centre's creative solutions have led to Haillo's increased confidence and his much needed development and independence. I have trust and confidence in the support system offered to my son here.

Zanobia, Haillo's mum

Watch our school tour video

Take a tour around our school with Becky:

School prospectus and term dates

For more information about our specialist school’s education and curriculum download our prospectus (Word, 3MB). You can also download our school term dates (Word, 166KB).

Visit RNIB Pears Centre

We welcome enquiries and visits from parents, carers, children, other family members and professionals. Find out how to find us and book your visit today! 

Related links

Donate to RNIB Pears Centre now

Your donation can help us to provide wonderful experiences for children and young people with multiple disabilities and complex health needs who are blind or partially sighted, at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning.

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