MP calls for better support in education for children and young people with vision impairment

Sir David Amess MP has joined the call to ensure all children in Southend to receive equal access to a high level of education – regardless of their sight loss.

He attended a parliamentary reception on Wednesday 28th November held by the Young Vision Alliance to raise awareness of the daily challenges faced by children and young people with vision impairment in schools and the difficulties they face in securing the vital support they need.

Young Vision Alliance is made up of parents, young people with vision impairment, and supporting organisations. It aims to secure equal opportunities in life and improve outcomes for children and young people with vision impairment. The organisations supporting the Young Vision Alliance are include Guide Dogs, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and Vision UK.

During the event, the Alliance launched a new report, Our Futures Matter, that revealed children and young people are not getting the support they need to achieve their full academic potential. Current figures show that young people with a seeing difficulty are far more likely to be out of employment, education or training than those who are sighted (38 per cent compared to 20 per cent). It is the Young Vision Alliance’s concern that outcomes for children with vision impairment will worsen without urgent change.

Sir David said: "The next generation are the key to our future, and we need to ensure that all children – regardless of their sight – are able to reach their education potential. I am delighted to support the Young Vision Alliance’s campaign to ensure that there is equality in schools and colleges – with examinations and course materials that are accessible to all. There must also be sufficient funding to provide the vital services that are a lifeline to children who are visually impaired.”

In its report, the Alliance has outlined its recommendations for action. These include better training for teaching staff, equal opportunity to access exam papers, sufficient funding to support each child and young person throughout their education, and specialist input by qualified teachers of visual impairment and mobility specialists.