How your child will be supported in a mainstream school

A range of support options are available to meet the needs of your child in school.

The process to get these in place is covered in our section Getting the right support and you may want to read what to look for when choosing a school.

If your child has complex needs, please visit: Thinking about school - children with complex needs.

People

Support can sometimes be provided by a group of people in school, who can directly support your child in their lessons with guidance from a Qualified Teacher of (children with) Visual Impairment (QTVI). For more information about QTVIs and how to contact them, see resources for parents of blind and partially sighted children.

Sometimes a Teaching Assistant is employed by the school to help ensure that your child has appropriately adapted materials, and/or to spend time alongside your child in the classroom to help them take a full part in learning experiences. The teaching assistant will work closely with the class teacher, inclusion manager (sometimes called the SENCO or special educational needs co-ordinator) and QTVI to ensure your child can take part in all subjects. A school or play provision might also have amongst their staff team an equalities named coordinator (ENCO) who will work with the SENCO and other staff to support your child's holistic equalities needs and inclusion.

Sometimes a Teaching Assistant works directly with a child to ensure they understand the lesson, but at other times the teaching assistant spends time adapting materials for future lessons or supporting others. The aim is to enable your child to access the curriculum as independently as possible.

In our Education professionals section, we have a position statement about the effective deployment of teaching assistants which may be of interest.

Equipment and technology

Sometimes, or in addition to support from staff, children can be provided with equipment, technology or adapted learning materials, such as large print or braille, to help them access their school work.

Physical environment

Changes can also be made to the physical environment, through lighting, signage, use of colour contrast, accessible storage for equipment, positioning within a classroom (eg close the the board) so help a child with vision impairment, to maximise learning and the development of independence.

Timetabling and organisation

Another form of support can be making adaptations to e.g. routines and timetables so that children with vision impairment can have more time for tests and exams, allowances for learning specific skills such as braille, touch-typing mobility.

Adapting the curriculum

We have a large amount of guidance for teachers, teaching assistants and QTVIs about how to make the curriculum accessible for children and young people with vision impairment. Visit our Education Professionals section for full details.