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My child has a visual impairment

Guidance for parents and carers about help in school.


Schools have a responsibility to make provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).

We provide funding through normal school budgets to help schools to support pupils with special educational needs. We have produced the Derbyshire Descriptors of special educational needs provision.

The descriptors offer guidance and advice to primary and secondary schools about the level and type of support they should provide for pupils with additional needs. They are used by us to monitor provision for pupils with SEN without a statement. They outline how schools should:

  • assess, plan and review provision
  • arrange teaching groups
  • adjust the curriculum and teaching methods
  • provide resources, such as access to additional support from a teaching assistant for up to 3 hours per week for pupils at School Action or up to 8 hours a week for pupils at School Action Plus

Your child may:

  • have poor visual acuity or ability to see fine detail, for example 6/12 to 6/18 or worse
  • have visual field loss, for example reduced sight around the edges of vision
  • have ocular motor difficulties, for example problems tracking a moving object smoothly
  • have involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)
  • have difficulties where patching the eye is significantly reducing their vision
  • have a degenerative condition where the present impairment is slight but likely to get worse
  • have visual perception difficulties for example the ability to give meaning and understanding to what has been seen
  • have difficulties in using school equipment and may therefore need access to some specialist equipment and training to use it
  • need to be encouraged to be part of friendship groups within their school or year

What your can school do

Your school can:

  • discuss your child with the specialist teacher from the Support Service for Visual Impairment and use their advice to establish what your child can and can’t do, and use this advice for planning
  • discuss your child with any other relevant professionals who visit the school and with you
  • find out what teaching and learning style suits your child best
  • arrange for your child to have some additional support either individually or in smaller teaching groups with a teaching assistant
  • help your child by providing specialist equipment and teaching materials and allow time to learn how to use it
  • prepare modified materials to help your child learn and to help your child become independent
  • adapt the classroom and school environment if required - consider your child’s seating arrangement in class
  • provide small group situations to allow for mixing with other children and making friends
  • involve you and your child in planning and review of progress

Who else can help

Schools have access to a range of professionals who advise on arrangements for supporting pupils with visual impairment. These include:

If your child has other difficulties as well as visual impairment, all schools have access to county services which can offer support and advice for pupils with:

You or your child’s teacher (with your permission) can ask a speech and language therapist to see your child.

Your GP can make a referral for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and will also advise on child and adolescent mental health services and voluntary services such as Barnardo's.

Other advice

Derbyshire has published comprehensive files of advice and information on dyslexia, autism and speech and language difficulties.

Contact us

  • Buxton office, tel: 01629 533535
  • Chesterfield office, tel: 01629 537686
  • Denby office, tel: 01629 533815
  • County Hall, tel: 01629 536850

The full version of the SEN Descriptors is available in every school.

If you require this and other local inclusion officer service leaflets in large print or another format, please contact the head of local inclusion officer service.