Conference 2014

 VIEW National Conference/Professional Development Event 2014

The UK’s main residential conference organised by and for teachers of children and young people with visual impairment

this, our best ever attended conference, was held on Thursday 13 & Friday 14 March 2014

at the Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham

Presentations  included:

Let’s Start a Dialogue- Are children getting the support they need?  Sue Keil, Research Officer, RNIB and Sue Wright, Head of Children, Young People and Family service, Action for Blind People.

Sue Keil from RNIB presented some of the most recent evidence from an RNIB Freedom of Information (FOI) request to local authorities about the effect of cuts on VI service provision. Sue Wright from Action for Blind People then gave the parents’ perspective by talking about the concerns of parents who have contacted the RNIB Helpline.The aim of this presentation was to start a dialogue within the VI sector about how, in the current climate of public sector cuts and major changes to SEN legislation we can continue to support all CYP with VI in the most appropriate and effective ways.  

At the end of the presentation delegates were asked to complete a brief questionnaire asking what they felt were the key challenges and issues in ensuring that all children and young people with VI are effectively supported. The findings were written up into a report. The conclusion of the report was that there are a number of challenges for VI services in ensuring that children and young people with VI continue to be effectively and appropriately supported. We have listed the issues that are of greatest concern to teachers and other VI professionals, as well as some of the solutions that they have suggested. Read the full report.

 There will now be an opportunity via the VIEW website for teachers to continue the dialogue that was started through our conference presentation. VIEW will then discuss with RNIB how best to take forward some of the key issues.

Several issues were identified and these are now presented as three main themes.  Read the 3 themes

Add your views! Logged in members go to members’ discussion forum.  If you are not a VIEW member why not join now?

 SEN Policy Reform: England September 2014.  Christopher Robertson, Lecturer in Inclusive and Special Education,  University of Birmingham.

 Life After School.  Graeme Douglas, VICTAR, Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs, University of Birmingham.

Children and Families Bill: Where are we now?   Julie Jennings,  Manager, Children, Young People and Families Team, RNIB

 Guidelines for 11+ testing for vision impaired pupils.  Simon Ungar, Schools and Community Psychology Service, Wandsworth, London


Updates from the conference floor also included the following:

From Heidi Lyon, Guidedogs
1. Movement Matters
This is a new habilitation service being rolled out slowly in a number of areas across the United Kingdom. Qualified staff work with Local Authorities and other organisations to provide expert assessment and habilitation services to children and young people from birth to age 25.
Movement Matters also includes support and training for parents, carers and professionals.
We’ll make sure we keep learning from each other and, together, offer high quality services which make life-changing differences to visually impaired children and their families. Our aim is to assist and augment existing services by working shoulder to shoulder with other organisations.
Funding Movement Matters
Habilitation assessments and services can be accessed in a range of ways, through contracts via education, social care or health. Services can be delivered by permanent contract, through spot purchasing, through personal budgets or directly to children and their families. In all cases, services are delivered in communication with Local Authorities.
In order to provide a sustainable service we need to recover our costs, but cost should not be a barrier to any child receiving the support they need.
 2. National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS)
- part of the Guide Dogs Group.
Please follow the link for further information on our children’s services, links to your local mobility teams and the NBCS website.

From Judy Bell, Consultant
1. SeeAbility is conducting a scoping survey to determine how the organisation might best support the transition into adulthood of young people who have visual impairment and complex needs. To take part in the survey, please contact Judy Bell:
2. In January, SeeAbility sent out a questionnaire about eye care to every special school in England.  Many schools have not yet responded. If you are involved with a special school, please urge the management to return the questionnaire. Even a partial response will be helpful. The accompanying  letter is headed ‘Children in Focus: Eyecare & vision services for children and young people in special schools’. For further information, email Nathan Davies:
3. A Clinical Excellence Network on communication in children and young people who have visual impairment or multisensory impairment has been set up under the aegis of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Membership (£20 including free attendance at two professional development days/year) is open to anyone with an interest in this field. The next meeting is on 29th April in Bristol & includes topics on Sense’s ‘Tuning In’ programme & the role of music in promoting communication. For further information contact Denise Charnock or look at

From Laura Matz, Perkins Institute

1. SMART Brailler at  – a mechanical brailler which has an LED screen attached which provides instantaneous audio and visual feedback, thus making the process of learning braille much easier for kids, parents, TVI’s, adults in rehab, etc.
2. LightAide at – Bright and engaging, the LightAide™ creates a variety of interactive displays of color that support core learning goals and help instill the building blocks of literacy and mathematical concepts in learners with low vision, cognitive disabilities and other special needs.
3. ZoomCapture at – enables low vision students and professionals to zoom in on lectures, presentations, demonstrations and take synchronized notes, screenshots and audio for playback..

From Maurice Sparrow, Westminster VI Service

A provider of specialist training for London Boroughs and nationally
Queen Elizabeth 11 Jubilee School, Kennet Road, London, W9 3LG Tel: 020 7641 5825
FRIDAY 16TH MAY 2014 – 9.30 – 4.00
Access & Inclusion Centre, Queen Elizabeth II School, Kennet Rd, London, W9 3LG
• Paediatric Ophthalmologist over 20 years at the Royal Hospital for Sick
Children, Glasgow
Cost: £50.00 for the whole day. Lunch is provided.
• Emeritus Professor of Visual Science at Glasgow Caledonian University
For more information and to book places:
• Visual impairment associated with disorders of the brain is the commonest cause of low vision in the developed world.
• Yet the subject is complex, can be difficult to understand, and the approaches taken are best matched to the nature of the intact abilities of each