Service for children with a visual impairment

Service for children with a visual impairment (SCVI)

Covid 19 April 2020

During this difficult time, if any parents/carers would like support or advice, please do not hesitate to contact their child's allocated Specialist Teacher.  We are here to help provide resources and advice.

Mission Statement 

  • the SCVI strives to enable pupils with a visual impairment to achieve their true potential by providing the highest quality support in partnership with pupils, parents and schools
  • the SCVI will help promote a culture where pupils with a visual impairment are included in all aspects of school life and are given equal educational opportunities to realise their highest potential

Context in which the SCVI currently operates


  • provides a wide range of support to children and young people with a broad spectrum of visual impairments
  • caters for all abilities ranging from children with complex and severe learning difficulties/medical needs to the most academically able students
  • offers support at the point of confirmed diagnosis that may occur anywhere between birth and 19 years

The wide range of support and provision made available to students with a visual impairment has led to a reduction in the number of pupils placed outside the authority's schools.

Access to the service

It is essential to seek expert advice for any child thought to be suffering from a visual impairment as a specialist teacher for the visually impaired can help confirm and assess the child’s vision and provide the support and advice necessary to minimise the effect of the impairment. It is important that any that any relevant information must be made available to class teachers and should follow the child when changes of school or class are made. 

The SCVI operates an ‘open referral’ system whereby any agency can request advice or support.


Staff can be contacted at the SCVI team base from:

  • 8am till 4.30pm
  • Monday to Friday
  • during school term time

When an expression of concern arises regarding visual difficulties, involved parties should telephone the service on:

Referral form:

Consent and Referral Form
Download (222KB - DOC)

Completing the form:

  • the referring agency should print out and complete the form
  • send in the post to the address listed above
  • due to confidentiality issues, referral forms should NOT be sent via email 
  • schools making referrals should first obtain parental permission before requesting assistance from the SCVI
  • initial details will be requested regarding the pupil and the nature of the problems being experienced
  • the SCVI will normally offer an initial assessment at a mutually agreed date and time, which can take place at any appropriate venue
  • every effort will be made to ensure the pupil is familiar and comfortable with the venue
  • the SCVI will endeavour to respond to a new referral within 5 working days
  • in addition to the initial assessment, the SCVI may liaise with the relevant ophthalmological specialists (having received parental permission) and complete classroom observations in a number of subjects.
  • after appropriate consultation a decision will then be reached regarding any further action required.

Services currently delivered To pupils, parents, schools and other agencies

Specialist Support Staff

  • Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired
  • Specialist Technical Support Assistants 
  • Advice can be provided on accessibility in the light of the Equality Act (2010). Our STSA staff produce Braille or enlarged / modified print learning resources based on individual need

Support for pupils, students and qualified teachers of the visually impaired staff in the various key stages.

  • Adaptation and / or modification of learning resources
  • Specialist teaching of Braille or other tactile media such as Moon
  • Loan service of specialist equipment
  • Independent living skills
  • Typing / keyboard skills
  • Visual efficiency skills
  • Assessment and advice on curriculum requirements
  • Teaching programmes related to the use of technology           

Support for parents

  • Pre-school support programmes
  • Attendance at hospital / Portage groups
  • Toy library facilities           

Support for teachers

  • Information about the visual impairment and its implications for learning across the wider curriculum
  • Advice on modifications in order to access the full National Curriculum
  • The production of adapted learning materials including Braille and other tactile resources
  • Staff training and development
  • Collaborative teaching when required
  • Advice and guidance on the modifications available to examination/assessment procedures   
Last updated: 14 December 2020 10:15:07