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What we do

We are a team consisting of Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVI's), who hold the Mandatory Qualification (MQ) to teach and work with children and young people with a vision impairment. We also have Mobility/Habilitation Specialists to teach cane skills and Independent Living Skills. We work with children, young people, their families, and schools offering information and support where vision difficulties may impede learning or development.

Our service offers the following: 

  • assess how the child/young person is using their functional vision in a school setting and inform planning.
  • offer training to school staff to ensure that the child/young person has access to the curriculum and the staff are aware of their needs.
  • direct teaching for some pupils with a very high level of need to acquire specialist skills such as Braille and use of specialist equipment to enable them to access the curriculum independently.
  • provide advice on the differentiation and adaptation of teaching materials.
  • monitor the pupils progress, needs and provision.
  • advise on technology which can improve access to the curriculum or the environment and deliver training for its use e.g. magnification software, braille note taker.
  • offer Mobility/Habilitation assessment at school.
  • offer training by our Mobility/Habilitation specialist on cane techniques, recognition of location, safe travel from one area to another, ability to use audible information, etc.
  • offer training on independent living skills.
  • support the child/ young person and families at transition within and between educational settings.
  • where needed provide direct support in the classroom with Learning Support Assistants or Braille communicator to support the learning, educational progress, and inclusion of pupils.
  • contribute to the assessment for Education Health Care Plans and for SEN support.
  • signpost to charities, support groups, activities and other external agencies for vision impairment.

Support varies according to need, but our core offer would be to make a minimum of 3 contacts per academic year. These contacts would most likely be a mixture of in-person visits, virtual visits, and attendance at meetings. Again, this will vary and change depending on an individual's circumstances.

Criteria for involvement

The acceptance of a referral to the team is based on the following criteria:

  • children and young people with vision difficulties that range from minor impairments to total blindness - a child whose vision is corrected to normal by wearing glasses is not visually impaired.
  • all referrals must be in the age range 0 to 16 years or up to 19 if the young person attends a school post-16 provision.
  • all referrals must have had a recent medical appointment within the last 6 months with a medical eye specialist.
  • parental/carer signature must be given.

Most of the children supported by the service do not have an EHCP, but those with the greatest need may need to undergo assessment. 

Referral Routes

A referral may be made by any person involved with the child or young person providing they have obtained parental permission and they have seen a medical eye specialist within the last 6 months.

For a referral to be accepted (and prevent any unnecessary delay) we require:

  • A completed referral form (found in the related document section of this page)
  • The referral form MUST be signed by parents / carers
  • Complete medical information and contacts

For a child aged 0 until the end of Nursery, please use the Early Years SEN Panel Referral Form. For a child who is in Reception or above, please use the Vision Impairment Referral Form. Both forms can be found in the related documents section on this page.

Contact details

Donna Carter, Acting Head of Service

Claire Cotton, Principal Qualified Teacher of Vision Impairment (QTVI)
Telephone: 07816 103135 or 01629 532488 (Term-time only)

Alfreton Office
Sensory and Physical Support Service – Vision Impairment
SEN Support Services
Grange Street
DE55 7JA
Telephone: 01629 532391

Chesterfield Office
Sensory and Physical Support Service – Vision Impairment
The Quad
Dock Walk
S40 2GQ
Telephone: 01629 537686

Related documents


Information on other websites