University of Edinburgh

VIScotland Parent Guide to Mainstream Visual Impairment Education


Dominic Everett and John Ravenscroft

Visual Impairment Scotland would like to thank Greater Glasgow NHS Board for their continued support, help and advice.

Visual Impairment Scotland would also like to thank North Ayrshire Council Social Services for helping to fund the publication of this document.


The drive towards 'Inclusive' education in recent years has meant that the system of visual impairment education has changed quite dramatically throughout Scotland. Current Research by VI Scotland (2003) and the RNIB (2003) shows that most visually impaired children, aged between 5 -16 years of age, attend their local mainstream school or attend a mainstream school with a Resource Base for visually impaired pupils attached. All Local Authorities now pursue a strategy of delivering an Education system that extends to all; so that all children can reach their full potential by accessing the widest possible range of educational and life opportunities.

For this to be successful parents, educationalists and other professionals must work as closely as possible to determine the successful delivery of an appropriate, planned education that enables the visually impaired child to thrive at school.

Parents however, cannot participate in this planning process, if they have not been provided with the information and knowledge that will be of benefit to them. Often parents feel unsure about what is the best way forward for their child. They may want to know more about their rights as parents; about what types of educational placement would suit their child. They may feel ill-equipped in knowing what their child should receive in terms of their special educational needs. Parents may want to know if any special preparations will be made for their child starting school and/or be concerned about how he will cope once there. Parents may desire more information about the school curriculum; the level of specialist visual impairment support provided; access at the school; and extra-curricular activities. Most of all they may be worried about whether their child will 'fit in'.

This booklet has been produced by VI Scotland to give parents more information about mainstream education for visually impaired children. Our aim is to promote a closer partnership between parents, local authorities and education professionals. VI Scotland wants to encourage all parents to become involved in the decision-making process, by providing Questions and Answers in an accessible, plain English format. Together, we can ensure that your child is given the education he deserves.