To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to ensure that there is a sufficient capacity in education and habilitation vision impairment specialists to allow for the assessment of all young people and children with vision impairment; and what steps he plans to take to regularly review that capacity.
Local authorities, in consultation with schools and other services, should consider carefully how best to meet the needs of children and young people in their area, including those with vision impairment. This may include working closely with neighbouring authorities to provide joint services to meet low incidence needs.
To support local authorities, we have announced an additional £250 million high needs funding, over this year and the next. This will bring the total allocated for high needs next year to £6.3 billion. We recognise that authorities’ high needs budgets face significant pressures and this additional investment will help them manage those pressures.
In addition, we are providing £3.4 million for 2018-2020 to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of special educational need and disabilities (SEND), including vision impairment. The SEND schools’ workforce contract, which will be delivered by the Whole School SEND consortium, will help schools to identify and meet SEND training needs and build the specialist workforce. We are also reviewing the learning outcomes of specialist SEND qualifications, including the mandatory qualifications for teachers of classes with visual impairment, to ensure they reflect the changing needs of the education system.