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Post-14 transitions support – a survey of the transition experience (Phase 1)

A survey of post-16 transitions from school into further and higher education, training and employment of blind and partially sighted students.

Authors: Rachel Hewett, Graeme Douglas, Huw Williams (VICTAR, University of Birmingham), Publisher: RNIB


This research project was designed in 2009 by a team from RNIB and VICTAR (Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research at the University of Birmingham) at the request of RNIB. It is a 5-year longitudinal study following two cohorts of blind and partially sighted young people in the UK from the ages of 14 and 16 when they were in Years 9 and 11. This is the second report in the series and follows 'Post-14 transitions support - a survey of visiting teacher services for blind and partially sighted students' (Hewett et al, 2010), which can also be downloaded from the RNIB website.


The key objectives of the research are:

  1. To track the process of transition from through various stages of education and training for blind and partially sighted young people from the age of 14 over a five-year period.
  2. To identify the roles of professionals involved.
  3. To identify the factors that improve or reduce a young person’s chance of gaining employment.

This report focuses on data collected through questionnaires and telephone interviews with young people in summer and autumn 2010 and spring 2011. The aims of the report are primarily to present the transition journey of the Year 11 cohort so far, by looking at the support that they received whilst in Year 11, how they performed in their GCSEs, what they have gone on to do now (and how they found that transition experience) and the progress that they have made in making further plans for their future. This is a technical report which presents all findings so far. It will be followed by a series of focussed reports that aim to explore key themes, and to make greater use of the longitudinal nature of the data.

Key findings

  • By the end of spring 2011, there were 78 young people involved in the longitudinal project. So far, the majority of those involved in the project have been largely positive about the support they have received. The young people have achieved high grades in their Year 9 and GCSE examinations and have successfully moved onto the next stage of their studies. There may, however, be greater challenges for them as they move from education settings into employment. The intention is to continue following the progress of these individuals as they continue along their transition journey through education and training into employment. This is in order to identify any barriers that they encounter, as well as examples of good practice.