University of Edinburgh

CVI and Common Ocular Conditions

Presented on 14 December 2012


Janis Sugden, Coordinator, Scottish Sensory Centre

Connecting Structures

Various policy documents in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland were published between 2000 and 2008 promoting integrated approaches to working with children
(Jones and Leverett, 2008; Walker 2008)

Recent policy developments follow a long line of initiatives that have attempted to combine preventative, proactive and protective services.

In Scotland there has been a recent strategic review of Learning Provision for Children and Young people with Complex Additional support needs. The Scottish Government responded to this and also used this opportunity to launch a 5-year plan relating to Additional support needs in Scotland.

Getting it Right for Every Child

The Scottish Parliament endorsed GIRFEC as the national approach to Children's Services in December 2009.

GIRFEC seeks to provide a framework for all services and agencies working with children and families to deliver a co-ordinated approach which is appropriate, proportionate and timely.

It builds solutions with and around children, young people and their families. Getting it right for every child is underpinned by Values and Principles that have been developed from knowledge, research and experience: They reflect the rights of children spelt out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Scottish Children's Charter (2004).

GIRFEC will deliver better outcomes for all childrenby means of a common, coordinated framework across all agencies that supports the delivery of appropriate, proportionate and timely help to all children as they need it.

GIRFEC is the golden thread that knits together our policy objectives for children and young people and provides the methodology for delivering frameworks that promote collaboration.

  • Social Frameworks of Equally Well,
  • Early Years Framework,
  • Achieving our Potential
  • Curriculum for Excellence.

Doran Review

The Right Help at the Right Time in the Right Place. Strategic Review of Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs. Nov 13, 2012

Main themes:

  • Culture across sectors
  • Policy, choice and learning
  • Inter-agency working
  • National/local provision and the role of the government in funding this.

In Scotland the term 'special educational needs' is referred to as additional support needs. Basically, the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 revised in 2009 is the main piece of legislation concerning children and young people with additional support needs including those with a visual impairment that drives forward the above themes in Scotland. There is already a code of practice that is associated with this act however, in the light of this recent strategic review the code of practice is to be revised in 2013-14. Basically the Scottish Government is looking for more joined up working and to this end professionals working with children  relate to GIRFEC and it is anticipated that this will be developed in response to this and the Children and Young People's Bill and the recent Equalities Act.

Key Aims

  • To consider the views of children and parents when planning services.
  • To shift from deficit approaches to strengths based and holistic approaches.
  • To offer services from the earliest possible stage.
  • To safeguard/protect children and enable them to live healthy and full lives.
  • To address issues of conflict, diversity and inclusion.
  • To promote transition between services and adulthood.
  • To improve information sharing and communication between professionals, families and children.
  • To enable learning, community involvement, environmental sustainability and economic well-being.
  • To move to an outcomes based approach involving more precise evaluation.
  • To move to a more joined-up way of working.


  • To monitor children.
  • To carry out timely joint assessments.
  • Liaise with parents.
  • Advocate for children and young people.
  • Make decisions: when to refer on.
  • Share information with other agencies etc.

Working Together

  • Co-operation: least complex smoother information sharing between agencies.
  • Collaboration: where services plan together.
  • Co-ordination: Very joined up and deliberate.

It should not be assumed that working together is a new thing. There have been Community Schools in Scotland for some time and in our field there are various groups of people who regularly work together eg VISSCC in Forth Valley and CVISTA model has been widely followed in Scotland.

Building Strong Professional Relationships

  • Working and learning together
  • Identify common challenge; systematic approaches, shared objectives

Inclusion of children with ASN works when teachers and schools seek support and work with agencies outwith education and where other sectors and parents are actively involved in sharing information and decision making. Where lines of communication are kept open so that parents can inform school staff and avail of the school support and the advice of outside agencies. The speakers that we have today are able to demonstrate how the system can work effectively to provide the level of support the individual pupil requires.

Role and Implications for team work

Medical: The Eye > Anatomical changes, Functional Changes Quality of the Eye> Medical/surgical intervention

Educational: Accessing curriculum, social interventions social and emotional, independence, adapted equipment etc.