Special Educational Needs: Visual Impairment

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th June 2018.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the provision of education services for visually impaired children.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We want all children, no matter what their special educational need (SEN) or disability, including those with visual impairment, to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. That is why we have put in place the significant reforms, through the Children and Families Act 2014, which introduced Educational, Health and Care plans for those that require them, and a real focus on outcomes and transition to adult life.

The supporting statutory guidance, the special educational needs and disability (SEND) Code of Practice, (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25), makes it clear that all children and young people with special educational needs and disability, including those with visual impairment, must be supported to achieve the good outcomes they deserve.

The framework of core content for Initial Teacher Training sets out that providers should ensure that trainees are equipped to identify the needs of all pupils, and make provision for them, including seeking the advice of colleagues with specialist knowledge and experience. Teachers should be able to recognise signs that may indicate SEND, and support common educational needs through review of their teaching, making adjustments to overcome any barriers to progress and ensuring that pupils with SEND are able to access the curriculum.

We have recently announced £3.4 million funding over 2018-2020, for the SEND schools’ workforce contract, which will be delivered by the Whole School SEND consortium, led by the National Association for Special Educational Needs. The SEND schools’ workforce contract aim is to embed SEND within the school led system of School Improvement in order to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of SEND. The programme of work will: drive education institutions to prioritise SEND; equip schools to identify and meet their training needs in relation to SEND; build the specialist workforce and identify and respond to any gaps in the training and resources available to schools.

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