We can provide support and advice for parents and professionals working with children and young people with vision impairment (VI) during the coronavirus lockdown.

If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us via the Helpline at 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].


Update March 2021

As schools and colleges across the UK begin to welcome all pupils back on site in coming weeks, we continue to ask for the specific needs of pupils with vision impairment to be carefully considered, especially while restrictions and coronavirus-related systems, protocols and working arrangements continue.

We have updated guidance that we produced jointly with NatSIP and VIEW about the return to school and how specialist support for children with VI can be provided in the context of government requirements and regulations. Download our guidance: Meeting the needs of children and young people with VI March 2021 (Word).

We are continuing to support families affected by the pandemic and associated restrictions. In addition to our usual provision, we have some  particular activities to help families during the coronavirus pandemic. 

We continue to call on government to ensure that children with VI are able to access learning, either in school or online remotely. Also that alternative arrangements for awarding grades take account of the specific needs of pupils with VI. We are aware that remote learning, digital access and the impact of individual isolations, collapsing of bubbles and school closures raise specific issues for children and young people with VI.

Cancellation of exams

We have been working with our partners in the sensory impairment sector and Ofqual to secure the necessary considerations for candidates with vision impairment in assessments and grading for summer 2021 qualifications. 

Advice and recommendations from NDCS, VIEW, RNIB and BATOD have been considered and included in the guidance that specialists should be providing advice regarding access arrangements and reasonable adjustments in place for any evidence used for gradings.

The Information for heads of centre on the submission of teacher assessed grades: Summer 2021 guidance document published by Ofqual specifically calls for the involvement of specialist VI teachers in decisions about assessment and grading. 

There is also guidance about reasonable adjustments and access arrangements.

“Reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement.”

The Head of Centre declaration also includes statements to confirm involvement of specialist teachers and consideration of access arrangements. 

 

Advice for parents about home-schooling and technology

Our recent Home schooling and technology advice session gave parents the chance to ask questions about access to education during the pandemic and use of access features and access technology. A Q&A document is available in our parents’ coronavirus advice section for follow-up information. 


Sight Advice FAQ

Regular online guidance, resources and ideas for parents and carers of children with VI is being updated regularly on Sight Advice FAQ, the website which answers questions about VI, eye health or being newly diagnosed with a sight condition. The website now includes a section of questions and answers on topics linked to coronavirus.


Specialist support and service provision

We are being asked about service delivery, policy and standards in relation to coronavirus. Children with VI should continue to have access to specialist support as far as possible. If you have service information that might help other services to adapt their provision, please let us know so that we can share it.

Visit the RNIB policy and reports hub for our education policy position statements.

The National Education Union has published advice for teachers on different aspects of working practice.


Training, development and resources

Online training: understanding vision impairment in children and young people (online course) – begin anytime

This course is studied online over around 50 hours at your own pace. It is designed to support the training needs of education support staff, teaching assistants and parents in order to improve the quality of learning opportunities available to children and young people with visual impairment. You will receive "light touch" tutorial support, and do not need to be working with blind or partially sighted learners to complete the course.

More details can be found on VIEW

LOOK webinars

LOOK are offering a series of regular webinars for families of children with vision impairment, parallel sessions for professionals and also online groups for children and young people.

RNIB Bookshare

RNIB Bookshare is a free online service that provides accessible textbooks and resources for learners with sight loss, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and qualifying physical impairments.

During this time where so many children are learning from home, it’s even more important that teachers and school staff add their learners to their school’s RNIB Bookshare membership. This will allow learners to be independent in their home learning and able to access the resources they need. Please make sure you add your learners.

Support for children at home

Some of our existing resources may be of interest to professionals and families as children are being taught and entertained at home:

  • Let’s Play: a guide with toy and play ideas for children with VI.
  • Messy and Muddy: activities to encourage outdoor play and mobility skills.
  • Parties and Playdates: a resource for encouraging social interaction but contains ideas for activities that can be carried out within households. NB: please only use this resource for the activity suggestions, and continue to follow social distancing rules.
  • Advice and links for parents learning braille to support their child as a tactile learner.
  • The Insight archive for articles about supporting different aspects of teaching and learning for children with VI.

Technology

Paths to Literacy offer tips to make group Zoom lessons more CVI friendly.

Dolphin, the assistive technology company, are offering CPD opportunities in relation to the use of assistive technology.


Support from partners and other organisations

We are working with different sensory impairment charities to ensure the most up-to-date information is available to you. For further guidance, please visit: