RNIB's ambition is to make the world a better place for people living with sight loss. One of the key campaigns RNIB is focusing on relates to service provision for children and young people.
RNIB wants all children and young people to get high quality early years support and special education provision to give them the same life chances and opportunities as every other child in the UK. However, a disintegrating system has brought about a postcode lottery of services across the UK.
George Holroyd, a parent of a child with vision impairment, tells us why it is important to campaign for a fairer provision of services.
“I’m the father of a 10-year‑old blind child called Theo. He attends a mainstream school and has a great deal of support from teachers trained to teach children with vision impairment to help him achieve at school. We’ve been relatively lucky. Talking to other parents, it is clear that the current outcomes for blind children in the UK are not great.
“I think the main problem is that local authorities are encouraged to commission services instead of providing them. This gives schools greater control, but doesn’t work for low-incidence and high-needs groups, because you end up with a postcode lottery.
“What we need is a community of practitioners that can bring families together. They can have a library of different school resources for different children and match the right specialist teacher to the right child
“As the parent of a blind child, you see just how important the specialist services are. What they do for Theo is absolutely vital. It makes the difference between being able to read and write, and being able to access technology or not.”
If you have a story to share about your child's experience of education or health and social care, get in touch with RNIB's campaigns team at [email protected]. The team are mapping a picture of the provision available across the UK.
This article originally appeared in Connect magazine - Autumn 2017 edition.