Education support

In England, we offer expert, independent advice to help make sure children with sight loss are supported at school, and that they attend the nursery, school or college that’s right for them. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we work closely with other charities to provide information and support around the education system.

The education system can be very complex. Finding out how to get specialist support that will meet a child’s individual needs and assist them on their journey from nursery to further or higher education can be daunting for parents and carers.

Our Education Support team is on hand to help children and young people with sight loss to get the best from their education. The support we offer is particularly valuable to help children and young people move smoothly and confidently from one stage of education to another.

Examples of the type of support we provide:

  • identifying a suitable nursery, school or college
  • providing confidential advice around a child’s statutory rights
  • explaining any complex terms
  • helping with processes and forms
  • liaising with professionals on families’ behalf if needed

Our Education Support team also gives advice to professionals such as teachers and those involved in special education. There is also a close link to the Access Technology team, who can advise about the most helpful assistive and adaptive equipment, such as Braille and computer speech software, as well as CustomEyes books who can provide large print books for schools.

We want to ensure children and young people with sight loss, along with their families, always feel supported. Browse our downloads below for more detailed information and resources.

Looking around a nursery, school or college

Finding the right educational setting for you or your child is an important task. This can take time, so it’s worth doing your research to ensure that you’re comfortable with your decision.

If you or your child has an additional need such as a vision impairment, early planning is key to finding a setting that can successfully meet individual needs. This guide offers ideas about what to look for during your visit – it’s by no means an exhaustive list, but does provide a useful starting point.

Education health and care plans (EHC)

Most children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) will have all of their needs met using the resources and arrangements available in their early years, school or college setting. However, there are some children and young people who may require further additional support in the form of an Education, Health and Care plan or ‘EHCP’. This guide will help you to understand what an EHC plan is; how to request an EHC needs assessment; what to do should your Local Authority turn you down for an assessment and/or what steps to take should your Local Authority agree to an assessment.

Annual reviews

For those children and young people with complex needs who have an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP), a process of review will need to take place to ensure that the EHCP remains up-to-date and relevant to the child or young person. This review process is called an annual review.

This guide will help you to understand what an annual review is; how an annual review should be conducted and how you can ensure that you are an integral part of you and your child’s annual review meeting. For more advice on questions to ask and how to get the most out of an annual review meeting, get in touch with our Education Support team.

Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) – For students with a vision impairment

This is a brief document talking you through the steps you may wish to follow when beginning a new course at university or college at Higher Education (HE) level. Your actual journey may not take this exact pathway, but the guide does mention the key people you will need to liaise with in order to get this assistance in place and alleviate potential barriers to your educational experience.

Remember, this is general advice and guidance – the Guide Dogs Specialist Education Team are here to offer you advice specific to your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us for more tailored support.

Examination board resource

This document details some of the common issues of concern during this stressful period. It outlines who is responsible for your examination concessions, what types of concessions you could be entitled to and what your educational provider may be able to also offer to make your examinations as problem free as possible.

Centrally, this document should demonstrate to you that examinations should be an extension of the work you complete on a day to day basis – and that you should be preparing for this during your normal in-class learning.

Jargon busting: common phrases in special educational needs

This information sheet gives you the full explanation on the acronyms often used within special education needs (SEN) documentation.

Roles of people working with children and young people with special educational needs

In education, various professionals work with children and young people. Some are based in the school, others are from the local authorities or local hospitals, but often work together in the education environment. This information sheet identifies these professionals and their different roles.

Do you need help?

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Education Team for more tailored help and support – one of our Specialist Education Support Officers will be happy to help.