Visual Impairment

If you have not already done so, it may be helpful to read through Special Educational Needs before reading this page.

Information on this page is derived from:
Directgov / Department for Education / Educational Service for Hearing and Vision


Schools and local councils must not discriminate against disabled pupils for a reason relating to their disability. They should promote the inclusion of disabled children in their admission arrangements and in all aspects of school life

Your child should be given access to a mainstream curriculum as far as possible. This should be in the normal classroom setting working alongside fully sighted peers. Every opportunity should be afforded to such children to participate as fully as possible.

Useful Information: You can find a database of mainstream schools in the UK with specific facilities for visually impaired children at


Going to School

You should contact a qualified teacher of visually impaired children at your Local Authority, who will be able to discuss with you the available choices and help for your child.

There are many different eye defects and each particular condition has different implications with respect to the school environment. However, the teacher or teaching assistant should be looking at things, such as: print size, seating position, viewing restrictions, etc.

For further information see: School Environment

For more information please visit: Department for Education


School Environment

It is not realistic to expect the working environment to revolve around the needs of one visually impaired child in an integrated setting; however the following points should be considered.

  • Seating Position
    For example: the consideration of distance and angle in relation to the viewing target across the classroom. And the understanding that some children may wish to hold reading material close to their face.
  • Lighting
    For example: reduction in glare from light reflective surfaces, such as polished surfaces and even shiny paper. Some children may also benefit from specific task lighting, or prefer to work in dimmer areas of the classroom.
  • Safety Considerations
    For example reduction of unnecessary hazard, such as: electric cables trailing across the floor, doors left ajar, windows or cupboard doors left open at head height etc.
  • Work displays
    During boardwork it may be necessary for an alternative format to be provided, such as: a paper summary of boardwork provided by the teacher, or the teacher can verbalise the content of whatever is being written.
  • Writing materials
    For example: Braille writers, coloured overlays, coloured paper, thick pens, etc.
  • Reading material
    For example: Print size, paper colour, etc. Also the visually impaired child should have sole use of any work materials as they may need extra time to undertake tasks.

For more information please visit: Educational Service for Hearing and Vision


Useful Contacts

UK Schools
Local Educational Authorities LEAs
Educational Service for Hearing and Vision
Diagnostic Support Contacts Directory
Specialist Support Contacts Directory
Assistive Technology Trainers Contacts Directory

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