University of Edinburgh

Transition: approaches for children and young people with visual impairments

Presented on Tuesday 19 January 2010

Transition: Nursery to Primary

Kat Barrie
(Principal Teacher Sensory Service) Dumfries & Galloway Council

Transition Periods

The occasions when a pupil moves from one stage of education to another

  • Home-Nursery
  • Nursery-Primary
  • Primary-Secondary
  • Secondary-Further Education/Employment
  • (and transferring between one school and another)


  • The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and the 2005 Code of Practice has been replaced by:
  • The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 and the new Code of Practice
  • Download from

Additional Support Needs

A child or young person is deemed to have Additional Support Needs if he/she

  • requires additional support, long or short, in order to help them make the most of their school education or
  • is looked after by a local authority

(The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Acts 2004 & 2009)

The 2009 Act

Before a child with Additional Support Needs starts primary school the education authority must adhere to legislation regarding:

  • Timescales
  • Passing on information to appropriate agencies
  • Taking account of parental and child views
  • Seeking parental consent on information sharing
  • Copying information to parents

Selecting a School

  • Start early!
  • Discuss options available with the parents
  • Visit several schools with them
  • Identify the school placement as early as possible
  • Arrange a Transitional Planning Meeting

Transition Planning Meeting

Generally the responsibility of the school

  • To co-ordinate all agencies
  • To identify responsibilities , actions and targets
  • A key co-ordinating figure
  • Co-ordinated Support Plan

The Primary 1 Classroom

  • Spend some time observing present P1 class
  • Layout of the classroom
  • Teaching styles
  • Potential areas of difficulty
  • Equipment
  • Build a working relationship with P1 teacher

Child's Induction

  • Often better for the child to visit the primary school when no other children are there initially
  • Allow the child to explore parameters safely, ask questions and become familiar with the surroundings
  • It may take several visits
  • These are in addition to normal induction visits
  • A 'social story' may help
  • Time spent now can make the difference between success and failure later on

Environmental Risk Assessment

  • Include all areas accessed by the child (inside and outside)
  • Mobility Officer
  • Janitor
  • Stay focussed
  • Use of digital camera and Dictaphone
  • Assess at different times of day, weather conditions
  • A written report (Clerk of Works)

* When recommendations have been acted upon (usually over the summer holidays) check that nothing has been missed!

ERA -What To Look For

  • Corridors, Entrance Halls and Teaching Areas
  • Floors and Furnishings
  • Surfaces
  • Equipment
  • Walls
  • Lighting
  • Outside areas
  • Fire/Evacuation


change in ground level

Training Needs

  • Teaching staff
  • Children
  • Support assistant
  • Lunch time staff/ break time supervisors
  • Mobility Training
  • Technology Training
  • Assessment of Vision

    • Transition is an appropriate time to re-assess functional vision
    • Update on visual acuities from the orthoptist and any other relevant information (eg; use of glasses, patching etc)
    • Referral to the Low Vision Clinic to assess for low vision aids
    • In D & G we often refer to the Supporting Children with Visual Impairment (SCVI) clinic or Visual Ascertainment Panel (VAP) prior to transition

    The Developmental Journal acts as a baseline assessment for:

    • Social and emotional development
    • Communication, language and meaning
    • Play and learning
    • Movement and mobility
    • Towards independent self-care

    Advice to School - paperwork

    • Summary of implications of the child's visual impairment and recommendations
    • Make it concise
    • 'It helps me when...' card
    • Procedures in place for passing on this information to supply staff
    • Joint planning / IEPs / Targets

    Advice to school - practical

    • Seating arrangements
    • Equipment and furniture
    • Displays/labels
    • Visual timetables (tactile timetables)
    • Colour coding
    • Bumpons
    • Buddies
    • Clutter-free floor
    • Clutter-free work station
    • Coat peg/drawer

    Advice to School - academic

    • Reading materials
    • Writing materials
    • Braille
    • Computer
    • Use of LVAs
    • Learning styles

    And Finally...

    • Transition doesn't stop on day 1 in Primary1
    • The teacher may continue to have concerns and require support
    • Aim to identify and ease problem areas early
    • The child is primarily the school's responsibility