Education at RNIB Pears Centre

Our special school for children and young people with complex 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 as a non-maintained special school for up to 70 pupils, aged two to 19. We offer a newly established early years education provision in our well-staffed specialist nursery, called The Orchard.

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.

Our specialist outreach service called Periscope offers practical support to individual pupils and educational advice and guidance to professionals and parents.

Class groups

Classes are arranged by key stage. 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.

Lessons are varied, with students taking part in one-to-one work, small group sessions and whole class activities.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

All students have individual targets related to their cognitive, sensory, communication, physical, personal and social development. Teachers develop these targets with therapists and care professionals and the targets form the basis of the students' Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

These are discussed and shared with the students themselves, their parents or carers and, in the case of residents, with care staff. IEPs are monitored, adapted and updated on an ongoing basis. Achievements are regularly celebrated and shared.

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 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.

Watch our school tour video

Take a tour around our school with Becky:
Watch the school tour with subtitles on YouTube.
RNIB Read the transcript for RNIB Pears Centre school tour (Word 182KB)

School prospectus and term dates

For more information about our specialist school’s education and curriculum download our prospectusDownload our school term dates

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.

Donate now