How support for children and young people with VI is being provided during the Covid-19 schools shutdown
Thank you for everyone who has contributed to the survey carried out by VIEW over a two-week period from the end of April/beginning of May 2020.
The aims of the survey were to gather from VI education professionals, information that would enable us to:
- Provide the information and resources that VI services and schools need to continue supporting children and families effectively.
- Ensure that the Government Education Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on education and children’s services fully understands the impact of Covid-19 on educational provision for children and young people with VI, and what this means for their future life chances.
Download the report of findings:
The findings from this survey indicate that across the UK, individual professionals, schools and services have been using initiative, creativity and sheer hard work to ensure that children and young people with VI have continued to receive an education during the period of the Covid19 crisis, when most of them have, like their classmates, been home schooled. While adapting to home schooling has been a challenge for the majority of children and families and their teachers, our survey shows that there have been particular challenges for children with VI. Some of these challenges are inherent to the nature of vision impairment itself, such as the difficulties in delivering an effective VI education remotely – this is especially the case for tactile learners. Some of these challenges, however, are structural. At a UK level, they have highlighted the design limitations of many mainstream online video conferencing and learning platforms that are used by schools, meaning they are not accessible to vision impaired learners. They have also revealed the deficiencies of current SEND policy in England that has delegated funding and responsibility for supporting learners with VI from central, local authority VI services to individual schools. The additional disadvantage for children with VI in families experiencing social and economic deprivation should also not be underestimated.
We hope that the key findings from the survey that VIEW has presented to the Education Select Committee inquiry will lead to changes that will enable more resilience and flexibility to be built into the system of VI education, to the long term benefit of children and young people with VI.