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Important information for parents during COVID-19 lockdown

Parents please read !!

Childcare from 20th July

Due to the relaxing of restrictions by government, childcare settings can welcome back more children from 20th July, this also includes holiday playschemes and out of school clubs also being allowed to re-open whether on a school site or not.

If you are a critical worker and need urgent childcare please contact our team at:

Advice and Guidance:

  • More information on schools and childcare settings re-opening from 20th July can be found on the government website
  • If you are looking for advice, guidance or help, related to Covid19 in Staffordshire please visit Staffordshire County Council's main website
  • Some childcare settings on this website may not re-open from 20th July

*Vision Impairment Team

Staffordshire County Council services

The Vision Impairment Team supports children and young people aged 0-25 years with a vision impairment at home, in early years settings, mainstream and special schools. This support continues throughout school and into further education. This forms part of Staffordshire's Local Offer and is part of the Sensory Team.

Qualified and experienced Specialist Teachers of the Vision Impaired, Mobility Officers, Intervenors (who work with children and young people with sensory impairments with additional needs) and Communication Support Workers (Specialist Teaching Assistants) work in partnership with parents/carers, teachers and other professionals to provide support to each individual. 

The video below gives an overview of living with sightloss.

Who we are

Teacher of the Vision Impaired

These are qualified teachers who have undertaken specialist training to obtain the mandatory qualification for teachers of children and young people with a vision impairment MEd/Postgraduate Diploma.

They are responsible for the management of a caseload of children and young people with vision impairment across the age range 0-25 in both mainstream and special schools.

Communication Support Worker

These are specialist teaching assistants who have undertaken specialist training in visual impairment. They work for the service for the vision impaired but are based in school with the children and young people. We also have Communication Support Workers that teach ICT- general skills, keyboard shortcuts, speech and magnification software.


These are specialist Communication Support Workers who work in homes and in special schools, they work with children and young people with visual and multi sensory impairments.

Mobility Officer

We have two mobility practitioners offering support and training who deliver mobility and life skills for independent living. They work as part of a team delivering a high quality mobility service including environment assessments, orientation and mobility.

Talk Time Co-ordinator

The Talk Time Co-ordinator provides an opportunity to explore emotional worries and concerns with an experienced Specialist Teacher of the Visually Impaired who also has counselling skills training.

Resource and IT Technician

We have an ICT Technician trained in the use of assistive technology. Our ICT technician also maintains our service laptops and computers.

VI Role Model

We employ an adult with vision implairment who visits pupils in school and gives advice and training on assistive technology. He promotes a positive Blind identity.

What we do

Our aim is to provide appropriate support for inclusion.  Input is designed to ensure that the specific needs of each individual are met.  Careful assessment is made and the level and type of support is reviewed regularly.

Support may include:

  • visiting homes, pre-school groups, nurseries, schools and colleges
  • providing advice, information and support to parents/carers and professionals
  • assess and monitor functional vision
  • offering training to the setting
  • assessing and monitoring functional vision
  • providing advice for teachers and parents/carers on access to the curriculum in mainstream and special schools
  • teaching of specialist skills: e.g. Braille or Moon
  • assessment of the need for specialist equipment and training in its use
  • mobility assessment and life skill training
  • ICT advice and touch typing training
  • training in the use of low vision aids
  • specialist advice to Local Authority as part of any assessment process such as Education Health and Care Plans
  • provide opportunities for sensory impaired C&YP to access activities and to meet together 

How can I access the service?

We accept referrals primarily from health agencies but also from parents/carers, schools and other agencies but always with reference to medial advice regarding vision loss.

What happens when I become an adult? / Post 16 Support

Advice and support from Teachers of the Visually Impaired may continue to be available to young people with vision impairment in Further Education and other post school settings.

This may include

  • How to access mobility assessments  and training
  • Advice on careers and work experience and apprenticeships
  • Information on benefits and services such as, Disabled Students Allowance(DSA), Access to Work
  • Signposting to organisations who can help with independent living

In addition the visual impairment team works closely with ASSIST (Autism and Sensory Support In Staffordshire to ensure needs are met appropriately.   

ASSIST provides support for people over 16 years of age who have hearing or vision loss, are deafblind, or who have an autism spectrum condition.

Parental Feedback

Below are just a few positive comments from parents about the service that we provide.

  • My child has been previously in a different VI service catchment area and the services that we have received from Staffordshire County Council VI are far more superior at all levels.

  • Always supportive, act on any issues, efficiently and promptly and feedback always given. Training school staff was excellent.

  • Regular support in place with an excellent understanding of my sons’ needs.

  • Child has made progress in terms of learning new things and becoming independent.

  • Child’s VI Teachers have always been excellent. I know exactly how to get hold of them and always feel confident in their support to us and our family. We value their input greatly.

Useful Links

Further Information Leaflets

Who to contact

Contact Name
Elaine Harlin
Contact Position
Head Of Sensory Team
01785 356830

Samantha Turnbull

Deputy Head of Sensory Team (Lead VI)

01785 356830

Where to go

Specialist Support Service - Vision Impairment Team
2 Staffordshire Place
Tipping Street
ST16 2DH Get Directions (This link opens in a new tab)

Other Details


Referral required
Last updated: 10 Jun 2020
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