Call for support for pupils with vision impairment as numbers increase in the Western Isles

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Scotland’s largest vision impairment charity is calling for action to ensure pupils with vision impairment in the Western Isles receive the support they need as new Scottish Government figures show their numbers have increased.

Across Scotland the number of pupils with vision impairment is now at its highest level, and their number has more than doubled since 2010.

In the Western Isles there were 8 pupils with vision impairment in 2010 and this number increased to 14 in 2018.

Over the same period when there has been an increase in the number of blind and partially sighted pupils there has been a reduction in the number of specialist teachers for children and young people with vision impairment.

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.

Royal Blind supports blind and partially sighted in both specialist and mainstream education through the work of the Royal Blind School and the Learning Hub based in the school.

Responding to the figures, 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.

“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.”