Title: Educational provision for blind and partially sighted children and young people in Britain: 2007

Author: Marian Morris and Paula Smith, Publisher: RNIB, Year of publication: 2008.


In 2007 the RNIB commissioned the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to carry out an online survey of local authority Visual Impairment (VI) services in England, Scotland and Wales. The aim was to:   

  • ascertain the numbers and characteristics of children and young people with visual impairments    
  • identify and map the type of educational and other provision made for these children and young people    
  • explore how and to what extent such provision was supported. 131 VI services responded to the survey giving a response rate of 74 per cent.

Key findings    

  • Results from this survey of local authorities suggests there are a total of 25,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in Britain who require some form of specialist educational provision.    
  • Overall, 39 per cent of the identified blind and partially sighted pupils were reported as having some degree of additional disability. This may in fact underestimate the level of additional disability, as some respondents did not provide information on disability status. It is likely that a more realistic estimate is that around 50 per cent of children have some degree of additional disability.    
  • The majority of children and young people with visual impairments were educated within their home education authority. Of those educated outside, over two thirds had additional disabilities.    
  • A greater proportion of primary school aged pupils were educated in mainstream settings compared to those of secondary school age.    
  • Around 3 per cent of blind and partially sighted pupils, aged 5 to 16, used braille as their sole or main format for reading and writing.