Blind pupils need support

Scotland’s largest vision impairment charity is calling for action to ensure pupils with sught problems in Falkirk receive the support they need.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 5:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 5:03 pm
Mark O'Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind.
Mark O'Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind.

New figures from the Scottish Government show the number of blind and partially sighted pupils has increased significantly across Scotland – in fact, their number has more than doubled since 2010.

The charity is concerned that while the number of pupils has soared, there have been cuts in support available to them.

Royal Blind is calling on the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure the right support is in place for pupils with vision impairment and their families in the future.

Mark O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind said: “Up to 80% of our learning is through our use of vision, so it is vitally important that specialist support is provided for pupils with vision impairment who have a huge learning disadvantage in comparison to their fully sighted peers.

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“Our concern is that over the same period there has been an increase in the numbers of pupils with vision impairment there has been a reduction in the support available to them in mainstream schools.

“This situation is leading to an attainment gap for pupils with vision impairment.

“That is why we have launched Our Vision for Equal Education campaign, calling for better support in mainstream schools for pupils with vision impairment and a fairer process for securing a place at a special school for pupils who would benefit from it.”

However, Falkirk Council says it offers good support to pupils.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We currently have a highly qualified, skilled team in place to meet the needs of our visually impaired pupils.

“At the moment specialist teaching staff support 77 pupils across our school community and our planning ensures that there are training opportunities available to become a Teacher for the Visually Impaired (TVI).”