University of Edinburgh

VIScotland Where can you go from here?


You may be concerned about how your child’s eye condition will affect his/her education. This section tells you a bit more about schooling.

Record of Needs

A record of needs is a document produced following a full assessment of your child’s individual needs. The record of needs will take into account the additional help your child will require and what type of equipment will be needed in school. Not all children who are assessed will get a record of needs, and not all children need a record of needs. Your local child development team or the PPTVI may suggest getting a record of needs for your child but you can ask for this yourself by contacting the local council’s Education Department. The type of schooling available for children with visual impairment will vary, but, whatever is suggested in your area, it is important that your child’s needs are assessed before school begins. If your child loses vision when s/he is older and is already in school, the record of needs process should be started to ensure that support is provided as soon as possible.

Mainstream School

The majority of children can attend their local school providing that they have sufficient help and regular input from the peripatetic teacher for the visually impaired. The amount of support will vary according to the level of visual impairment but may include a classroom assistant and equipment such as a video magnifiers (CCTVs), computer or Brailler, as well as simple changes in lighting or enlarging print. Whenever possible, the extra support and equipment should be discussed before your child starts school, to make sure that s/he is able to follow the school curriculum. Some mainstream schools have a special resource unit within the school which provides extra facilities for the visually impaired child.

Special School

There are a few schools throughout the country, which cater for children with severe visual impairment. These schools have a full range of aids and equipment for the children, and the classes are small in size. The children will follow the curriculum with allowances made for their special needs. Some of the schools also have facilities for children with other disabilities. If your child has a learning or physical impairment as well as a visual impairment, it may be suggested that s/he attends the nearest special school. This may well be the most appropriate school for your child, but as in any mainstream school, it is still important that s/he receives the necessary help and equipment for his/her visual impairment. However, deciding whether to send your child to a mainstream or a special school is a very difficult and a personal choice. If you would like help on this, please contact your local council’s Education Department, or Visual Impairment Scotland, or RNIB Scotland. It is important to remember that your child’s educational needs may change. This could vary from the provision of extra resources to a change of school and you can ask for the record to be reviewed at any time.