9. A Secondary Pupil with Visual Impairment

Background This S5 visually impaired young person attended a mainstream primary outwith his catchment school. He attended his local secondary school so that he could meet people from his local area. At all times, his parents encouraged their son’s independence. He is currently studying a combination of Higher and Intermediate 2 courses – English, Business Management, Administration, Hospitality and Economics. This support story describes the support provided during the young person’s secondary education. Solution Focused Approaches and Successful Strategies included: • careful transition from primary school; • passes prepared to allow the pupil out of class early and to access the dining centre to avoid queues and the busy stairwells; • support initially in transporting and setting up IT equipment since in S1 the weight of the equipment prevented pupils from carrying the bag to class; • staff consulted with the Authority Education Support team on software and printing issues; • in S3/S4, the pupil’s independence was promoted in relation to IT and he had responsibility for charging laptop and taking it to class; • consultation with staff on how to use IT resources to enable the pupil to access visual presentations; • enlargement of class texts. Staff training to enable Support assistants to prepare materials; • planning with staff to ensure materials prepared in advance; • lift pass access to enable pupils to get to class with equipment promptly; • consideration given to toilet facilities due to high anxiety in using the boys’ toilets at times; • consideration of review meeting location as the boy’s parent is registered blind; • reports and review minutes electronically sent to parent; • robust post-school transition planning. Individualised Planning and a Flexible Curriculum in Line with Curriculum for Excellence The pupil shared support in class across most subject areas. The school and VI service consulted on appropriate IT and software and secured the funding for this prior to the boy starting at Secondary school. The pupil was allowed access to the Support base at social periods as necessary and supported and encouraged to attend clubs. Opportunities were created for the pupil to participate in appropriate PE activities. Support was given for the class residential to ensure that he could participate in the wide range of activities, eg climbing, canoeing, wide games. The school arranged Careers contact from S2 and study periods were organised in S3/4. In addition, support was provided with a study plan and enlarged materials. Support was given to secure work experience opportunity with Marks and Spencer. The pupil’s attendance at the local ‘Help @ Hand’ event provided contact with representatives and agencies that can help and provide support. Alternative Assessment Arrangements were in place and have been regularly reviewed. The organisers of a school trip to Italy were given advice on risk assessment and VI awareness. The school continues to be flexible with PE activities to ensure participation and enjoyment. Partnership Working • Parents were consulted about school transport but they did not want individual arrangements made. • Plans were in place to monitor transport issues. • Close links with the Vision Support teacher who brought the pupil and another VI pupil on familiarisation visits at P7/S1. • RNIB undertook assessments of the school building with a report to highlight the poorly lit areas in school. • Support for Learning staff received CPD on VI awareness and hands-on training in setting up CCTV camera and laptop. • Subiect staff received awareness training CPD from the VI specialist. • Regular reviews with input from the mobility assessors were undertaken. They looked at independent travel skills, road safety etc. Successful Outcomes included:
  • successful transition from Primary, and inclusion in all areas of the curriculum;
  • ongoing consultation with subject staff with regards to adaptation of subject materials;
  • working with the pupil so that his needs are met. In S 1 the pupil did not want to appear different and he was reluctant to use enlarged materials or specialist equipment leading to increased migraines because of fatigue. As the pupil has matured, he is more able to express what his needs are and the type and nature of support he requires;
  • the pupil is keen to have a career in the hospitality industry but is becoming more aware that with his VI he needs to look at employment opportunities across all areas not just food preparation;
  • the pupil attained 7 Standard Grade/Intermediate passes in S4.