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01274 439500


3rd Floor, Margaret McMillan Tower, Prince's Way, Bradford, BD1 1NN


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Children's Sensory and Physical Needs Service, Vision Impairment Outreach Team

Who are the Vision Impairment Outreach Team?

The Vision Impairment Outreach Team is part of the Specialist Teaching and Support Services, Children's Sensory and Physical Needs Service.

The Vision Impairment Outreach Team provide an assessment, advisory and teaching service for babies, children and young people aged from 0-25 and their families. The team consists of

  • Qualified Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVI’s)
  • Specialist Practitioners
  • Specialist Technology and Resource Officers
  • Qualified Habilitation Specialists.

What can the Vision Impairment Outreach Team offer?

All children referred to our service will receive a visit from a QTVI who is best placed to understand the age range and setting of the child. A new referral report will be compiled which will identify the strategies required to support further progression. A Habilitation Specialist may be required to carry out further assessments as part of the new referral process.

Allocation to an active caseload will be dependent upon the degree of impact of the vision impairment on the needs of the child in accordance with the Bradford Matrix of Need.

The frequency and type of support offered by the Vision Impairment Outreach Team will be guided by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) Eligibility Criteria and may include elements of:

 Early Years

  • An Early Years QTVI – Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment will be assigned to the child and will work with them and the family until they are at the end of Year 1 (or end of Reception in Special School). Other specialist staff may also work with the child and family. Support is then continued by a QTVI working with school age children.
  • Regular visits are provided according to the degree of vision impairment and intervention required, initially in the home and then, when the child moves into a setting.
  • Where appropriate, a habilitation officer will provide support in blocks of work for mobility, orientation and life skills.
  • Support offered to parents in choosing a setting for their child. Signposting to agencies and charities to offer further support and advice.
  • The QTVI or specialist practitioner are also committed to multi-agency working alongside portage home visitors, the physical needs team and SALT, for example.
  • Increased support is provided during transition times and if necessary, to request a statutory assessment.
  • Children requiring Braille will receive direct teaching from a QTVI. Support staff will be trained to deliver Braille interventions to the child.
  • Equipment for Braille will be provided by the vision impairment outreach team.
  • We offer bespoke training and advice to settings to enable access to the EYFS curriculum and all available provision. The habilitation team can carry out an environmental audit.
  • We run a group in a sensory room and activity mornings for young children with a vision impairment.

 School Years

  • Children referred to the Vision Impairment outreach team will be visited by a specialist teacher with experience of working with children of a particular age range or setting.
  • QTVI will assess the chid's functional vision and the impact this has on learning.
  • QTVI will offer advice on strategies which promote the inclusion of children with vision impairment.
  • Contribution to statutory  assessments such as advice and monitoring of Education Health Care Plans
  • Contribution to the formulation of appropriate provision via My Support Plans, IEP or Pupil Profiles
  • Training for teaching staff to develop VI Awareness and strategies for supporting students with low vision.
  • Training for key staff involved in the use of specialist areas such as Braille, assistive technology and resource production
  • Monitoring of functional vision and access to learning across the curriculum, advice offered to support individual needs.
  • In line with the provision outlined in Bradford Matrix of Need, children may be offered packages of support to enhance;
    • Habilitation skills delivered by specialist habilitation officers
    • Independent Living Skills
    • VI Awareness sessions; individual, peer group and staff
    • Access to learning via ICT or low vision aids
    • Access to learning via non-sighted methods; Braille, Audio etc.
    • Enhanced support during periods of transition
  • QTVI to offer advice and support in implementing access arrangements for relevant statutory assessments; SATs, GCSE etc.
  • Where applicable, liaison with other agencies involved with the child
  • Where appropriate attendance at meetings, assessment, planning and review, in line with the SEN Code of Practice
  • Advice and/or loans of specialist resources and equipment

Children referred to the vision impairment outreach team will receive a visit from a teacher of children and young people with vision impairment (QTVI) who will assess their functional vision and the impact this has on learning, and offer initial advice and support. Pupils with more severe visual conditions may be placed on the active caseload of the QTVI, who will be the named contact for parents/carers, schools and settings. Other appropriately qualified and experienced staff may also work with the child, to offer support, which will include;

  • Information and support to parents and carers
  • Guidance relating to an individual child following observation, assessment and monitoring of functional vision
  • Liaison with other agencies involved with the child
  • Advice on strategies which promote the inclusion of children with vision impairment
  • Support and training for individuals and for groups of staff
  • Specialist skills teaching appropriate to the needs of the individual child
  • Involvement in meetings, assessment, planning and review, in line with the SEN Code of Practice
  • Assessment and advice on access technology as appropriate
  • Advice and/or loans of specialist resources 

Who do we support?

The vision impairment outreach team support children with identifiable ophthalmic conditions which result in a reduced level of visual function. This reduction of vision may, even when corrected by spectacles if appropriate, have an impact on their learning, access to the curriculum, mobility, independent living skills and inclusion.

The vision and physical needs service lead two Local Authority Resourced Provisions (LARPs) based within a mainstream primary and a mainstream secondary school in Bradford.

How do I access the team?

The vision impairment outreach team has an open referral system meaning that anyone can contact the service to request input. However, the most common ways that children can be referred are via:

  • EA1 notifications from health or early years settings which are triaged,
  • Children's sensory and physical needs service referral form identifying possible issues relating to a pupils use of vision can be completed by educational settings. 
  • Ophthalmologists directly contacting the service;
    • Clinic notes requesting input
    • Certificate of Visual Impairment issued by ophthalmologists

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The Bradford SEND Local Offer is a free and impartial service provided by Bradford Council. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that are available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the Bradford Council or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information.

Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.