Working with blind and partially sighted people

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Education for Independence and Success

Opsis partners offer, through specialist schools, colleges and in partnership with other providers, guidance and individualised programmes to meet the needs of children, young people and adults who have a visual impairment and additional disabilities.

Opsis partners are able, through the Board of Trustees, Executive and working groups of members, to share best practice, set quality standards for education and training provision and ensure best value for money.

The ability to respond rapidly, positively and effectively to changes in policy and identify the implications of this for learners is a priority.

The aim of Opsis partners is to provide, at a National, Regional and local level, high quality education and training which will enable learners to achieve their goals and progress to the maximum level of independence in school, FE/HE, employment and community living (see links below).

Education: Options, choices and entitlement for children and young people.

Every child and young person with a visual impairment should have access to the statementing process in order to identify their special educational needs. This is a legal obligation on the part of the Local Education Authority.

The statement will include identifying special educational provision, be that in a supported mainstream environment or in a specialist school or college. The parents will be an important contributor to the SEN statement and will have recourse to appeal through an independent tribunal if they do not agree with its content.

All the Opsis partners in education have experience of statementing, appeals and tribunals and would be able to offer advice, support and contacts to act as advocates for the child/young person.

At the age of 14 every young person has a transition review and the opportunity to discuss options for the future.

Adults – Opsis partners believe that adults who have a visual impairment are entitled to advice, guidance, education and training to prepare them for significant living and employment in their adult life.

Whilst Opsis partners have similar core aims and values, each provider is unique and you are therefore invited to link to schools/colleges and other providers to select the one or more which appear to best meet your needs as a potential student, parent or adviser as follows:

Action for Blind People: The London Employment Development Centre has been awarded a new contract by Job Centre Plus that allows them to provide training and support to visually impaired people no matter where they are on the road to employment

Catholic Blind Institute: St Vincent’s School, administered by the Catholic Blind Institute is the centre of excellence in the North West of England for the education of children with a visual impairment, catering for primary and secondary school children of between 4 and 17 years of age.

Henshaws Society for Blind People: Henshaws College, Harrogate offers high quality post 16 further education and training to 65 residential students who are blind or partially sighted, have learning difficulties and/or other complex needs.

Queen Alexandra College: Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham provides Assessment, Work Preparation, further education, vocational training and support into employment for learners 16 – 63, both for people with visual impairment and a limited number of people with other disabilities.

Royal National College for the Blind: A specialist residential college and resource centre for students (16+), providing full-time programmes and short courses to prepare people for progression to Further and Higher Education, employment and independent living.

Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool caters for the needs of pupils aged between 2 and 19 who have a visual impairment and additional disabilities, including multi-sensory impairment.

West of England School and College for Young People with Little or No Sight: The West of England School is the South West’s foremost non-maintained special school offering both day places and weekly or termly boarding. The West of England School provides a specialist learning environment promoting the achievement and development of young people who are visually impaired. Pupils and students, aged 4 to 22 years, come from across the South and South West of England, South Wales and the Channel Islands.

Guide to Education