Stars in our eyes – Team Sienna

This term, we introduce our new feature showcasing examples of good practice in working with children and young people with vision impairment.

We want to give members the opportunity to share their experiences of the many ways that children and young people’s well-being, understanding, knowledge and skills are being developed through effective specialist input
and partnership working.

Send us your stories illustrating good practice across the curriculum and beyond – we can’t wait to hear from you! Email:

“They have believed and she has achieved” – Sienna’s mum

In this edition, we meet Sienna. Sienna’s phenomenal progress has been possible because of the close working relationship between her school and the local authority VI team. Recognising the specialist nature of the interventions that Sienna would require, the school worked closely with the LA VI team to put appropriate provision in place. To help achieve this, they supported Kirsty, TA, to undertake VIEW’s Partners in Learning course. This training has ensured that there is someone with specialist knowledge on site at all times.

Kirsty has then been able to cascade this training to Vicky, Sienna’s other TA, to supplement training from Ruth. This has resulted in accessible activities like the one shown here, covering aspects of the specialist curriculum alongside aspects of the mainstream curriculum, being part of Sienna’s everyday experience, enabling her to make fantastic progress.

Photo of Sienna at school working with letter cards. Sienna is using a light panel.
Sienna working on a literacy task

Here Sienna is doing a literacy task planned by the visiting QTVI, Ruth, and Kirsty, a TA at school. Each letter card has a Penfriend audio label (to give phoneme) and bump-ons (to help develop the concept of digraphs). These can be purchased from RNIB. Sienna enjoys sequencing the cards, and listening to the penfriend labels to help her blend and say the word. Likewise, although the velcro is mainly used to keep the cards secure, Sienna also loves the sound of the Velcro when she moves the cards around. Sienna is using a light panel for visual stimulation, and sometimes has objects to explore to develop her tactile skills.

Photo of Sienna at school working with letter cards. Sienna is using a light panel.
Sienna working on a literacy task

Thoughts from Sienna’s mum, TA, and SENDCo

Sienna’s mum, Danielle:

“I still remember the day I was told Sienna was blind. I thought that she would never be able to do anything that we knew as normal. My heart broke that day and she’s slowly mended it with every achievement she’s made. We cannot thank every member of her team enough for the effort and pure passion they have had for Sienna (especially Kirsty and Vicky). We couldn’t have chosen a better setting for Sienna. They have believed and she has achieved.”

Amanda, the SENDCo at South Parade Primary School:

“Sienna is a lovely little girl who is achieving great things despite the daily challenges that she faces. She is a strong and determined little girl who very quickly became part of our South Parade family, even though she travels from across the other side of Wakefield to be with us. We have created a team in school of highly skilled staff and we work very closely with parents and the VI team as Sienna requires a bespoke curriculum with specialist interventions that run alongside her lessons in class. We are incredibly proud of Sienna and all she has accomplished and we feel honoured to be part of her educational journey.”

Kirsty, TA puts Sienna’s success down to the collaborative effort:

“Sienna amazes us every day with her progress and ability to learn. This is largely attributable to the large team working around her to ensure that she can access the mainstream curriculum alongside her peers. I work closely with the VI team and feel well supported by them, which in turn helps me to better support Sienna’s classroom teaching assistants and Sienna herself. This high level of team work and communication ensures that Sienna always has the tools she needs to succeed.”

Share your story

Do you have a story to share that illustrates good practice across the curriculum, or beyond – we’d love to hear from you – email