A request under the Freedom of Information Act to the Oldham City Council for a list of mainstream primary and secondary schools in the city with facilities for the visually impaired drew the following response:
Oldham has a centrally held Service for Visual Impairment which is made up of a qualified team of teachers and specialist support assistants who support children and young people with visual impairment in their local schools. Specialist teaching and support is allocated from the service according to need. Additional specialist equipment, and modification of curriculum materials is also provided as required on a case by case basis.
The advice and support is available with no extra charge to Oldham schools and is allocated according to need through a transparent audit and moderation process. The SEN Advisory Teaching Service has an open referral system for assessment of pupils who have or may have needs relating to visual impairment.
The authority's effective Accessibility Strategy has ensured
1. All newly built schools are accessible to all disability groups.
2. All school premises attended by pupils with visual impairment have been adapted
3. Schools that are not newly built or have not previously had pupils with visual impairment on roll are adapted in a timely manner prior to the pupil's arrival in school
4. There is an effective transition process in operation that ensures children and young people with visual impairment benefit from orientation and mobility training in the new setting prior to transfer.
5. Schools are involved in a programme to build capacity to respond to a range of special educational needs, all staff in schools attended by children and young people with visual impairment receive awareness raising and ongoing skills training to develop the skills and strategies needed
6. There is a robust process for the provision of information in a range of formats - such as Braille, large print, tactile and enlarged diagrams.
to enable pupil autonomy.
One Primary School, St Martin's and the two special schools Kingfisher and New Bridge have customised environments to support disability specific teaching from pupils with complex needs in addition to Visual Impairment.
Pupils are supported by the Special Educational Needs Teaching Service from diagnosis, at pre school and throughout full time schooling. The SENATS supports children and young people who represent the continuum of visual impairment; those who are blind and totally reliant on non sighted methods, those who are educationally blind and those with low vision attend mainstream and special schools across the borough.
All pupils are making good educational progress commensurate with their peers. There are currently 80 pupils with severe visual impairment, including four who are totally blind in schools across the borough. Non of the pupils who are totally blind attend the same school.
All Oldham Schools are accessible for pupils with visual impairment. Resources follow the pupil.
I could give you a list of
* all schools currently attended by pupils with visual impairment and the nature and level of support they receive from the SENATS VI Team
* all new builds
* schools where adaptations have been made - such as for example - extended hand rails, decor make overs to improve contrast, additional illumination , and textile pathways and markers.
If you reqire this, or further information please do not hesitate to contact me
Manager Oldham SEN Advisory Teaching Service