Different school options explained

There are lots of things to consider when choosing the right school for your vision impaired child.

Ultimately, you want to choose a school where your child will thrive, and finding out more about the options available to you can help you to make an informed choice. If you have other children at school, their school might be a starting point.

Most children with vision impairment will attend a mainstream school, with or without a specialist unit.


Who will assess your child’s needs?

Your child’s needs will be assessed to help you choose a school where they will receive the support they need.

  • Usually, they will have a clinical diagnosis from an ophthalmologist.
  • You can ask your Local Authority Sensory Impairment Service for advice as to what support they may need at school. Your child may already be in the assessment process for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
  • A Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired (QTVI) will perform a functional vision assessment to assess how your child’s vision or lack of vision affects them. They will assess the extent of their vision impairment, the impact this will have on their learning and the support they will need at school.
  • It may be that they will also have an assessment carried out by an educational psychologist. They will look at the strengths your child has and the areas where they may need some additional support.

For children with additional or complex needs, a more detailed assessment is likely to take place as to how they are going to learn and thrive at school.

RSBC tip

The school options available will depend on the needs of your child and what is available in your area. Options could include a mainstream school, a mainstream school with a specialist vision impairment unit or a special school.


How will your child get to school?

Before choosing a school for your child, make sure you think about how they will get to school and whether or not they will need help with transport.

It is important to find out more about the support with transport that may be available. You can do this by going to your Local Authority’s website and searching for 'Local Offer’ SEN Transport.

You could also see if there is a local organisation for blind people that works with children. They may be able to offer support and advice about what is available locally.


Published: June 2018

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