Local authority Vision Impairment (VI) education service provision for blind and partially sighted children and young people




старонка1/9
Дата канвертавання27.04.2016
Памер407.88 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9


Local authority Vision Impairment (VI) education service provision for blind and partially sighted children and young people
Report on findings from RNIB Freedom of Information (FOI) requests 2013

Sue Keil


Evidence and Service Impact

February 2014



Local authority Vision Impairment (VI) education service provision for blind and partially sighted children and young people 1


Acknowledgements


This report is the result of a joint project between RNIB Campaigns and Children, Young People and Families Teams. Thanks to Michael Wilson for organising RNIB's Freedom of Information (FOI) request to local authorities and to Kat Clarke for her efforts in ensuring that all local authorities responded and for recording all the replies. Thanks also to Julie Jennings, Rory Cobb and Helen Dearman for their comments on the draft copies of the report.

Summary of findings




Background


In May 2013 RNIB sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all 152 local authorities (LAs) in England asking a range of questions about current and future education provision for children and young people with vision impairment.
The key service in co-ordinating and providing specialist support is the vision impairment (VI) education advisory service. Many VI services have been adversely affected by public sector cuts and a key aim of the FOI request was to benchmark existing provision in each LA against future policy decisions.
All of the 152 local authorities in England responded to the FOI request. As one local authority has no children or young people with vision impairment recorded, the findings are based on returns from 151 LAs in England.

Key Findings


  • Almost 25,700 blind and partially sighted children and young people were on VI service caseloads in 2013

    • This is over 12,500 more than the number of pupils recorded by DfE as having vision impairment as their primary or secondary SEN

  • Since April 2011, 25 LAs (17%) have reduced or withdrawn specialist VI service support for certain groups of children and young people

    • The two groups most affected are pupils with complex needs in special schools, and children whose level of vision impairment is no longer considered to be of sufficient severity to meet the criteria for VI service support

  • 89% of LAs use the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) criteria - or a modified version - to determine eligibility for VI service support

  • In a small number of LAs, a pupil's level of visual acuity (VA) appears to be the only criterion for eligibility for specialist VI support

    • Having the level of VA as the criterion for support - particularly where the threshold is set high at 6/18 as in some LAs - risks excluding children with good VA but with other types of visual difficulty, or children with 'mild' vision impairment combined with other 'mild' types of SEN

    • Support levels should be based on a professional assessment of a child's functional vision

  • 630 qualified teachers of pupils with vision impairment (QTVI) were employed by VI services, 57 of whom were in training

    • 40 QTVI posts have been lost or frozen over a 3-year period between 2010 and 2013

  • Teaching assistants (TAs) were directly employed by the VI service in 96 LAs

    • 572 TAs were directly employed by the VI service

      • 14 (as FTE) central TA posts have been lost or frozen since April 2011

    • Over 2,500 TAs were directly employed by schools

      • This is under-represents the true number as several LAs were unable to provide information about the number of TAs employed directly by schools

      • This raises the questions - who recruits, trains and supervises TAs in these schools and what is the nature and quality of support they are providing to pupils with VI?

  • 113 mobility officers were employed by VI services in 96 LAs

    • In a further 13 LAs a children's mobility officer was externally commissioned or employed and/or funded by social care

    • It is unclear what mobility provision was made in the remaining 42 LAs

  • 27% of LAs had seen changes to the organisation and funding of the VI service since April 2011

  • 31% of LAs had proposals in place for future changes in VI service organisation, management and/or funding, or were reviewing the service within the next year.


1. Introduction


In May 2013 RNIB Campaigns department sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all 152 local authorities (LAs) in England asking a range of questions about current and future education provision for children and young people with vision impairment.
The key service in co-ordinating and providing specialist support is the vision impairment (VI) education advisory service. Surveys of VI services carried out in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (Keil and Cobb, 2010; Keil and Cobb, 2011; Keil, 2012) had provided evidence that in many LAs education services to children and young people with vision impairment had already been affected by local authority cuts, implemented in response to the coalition government's 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. This saw a 7% reduction in central government funding to local councils annually, until 2014. A further spending review in 2013 will see a further 2% cut in 2014/15 and a 10% cut for 2015/16 (Hastings et al, 2013; LGA, 2013). Anecdotal reports to RNIB in late 2012 and early 2013 indicated that many more VI services were under increasing threat of cuts. A key aim of the FOI request therefore, was to benchmark existing provision in each LA against future policy decisions about service provision.
The findings from this FOI request will be used to support RNIB local and national campaigning to protect specialist education services and provision for children and young people with vision impairment.

  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9


База данных защищена авторским правом ©shkola.of.by 2016
звярнуцца да адміністрацыі

    Галоўная старонка