A shortage of funds for specialist education services is affecting thousands of children with vision impairment, research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has found.
The charity’s research, based on a freedom of information survey of local authorities in England, found that 44% of councils in England have either cut or frozen funding for educational support for VI children.
Forty-three per cent meanwhile have already had reductions in specialist staff and increasing workloads for those who remain, and almost a quarter (24%) are planning further reviews that could result in more cuts.
There has also been a seven per cent increase in the numbers of young people requiring specialist support, the RNIB says.
The RNIB estimates that 11,000 children and young people have been affected by cuts, out of a total of about 30,000 with VI.
The report says: “Having the right support in place can remove the barriers to learning and enable them to develop the specialist skills they need to succeed, not just at school but as adults with full lives,. However, whilst this research has identified pockets of good practice, overall the findings show a system of specialist provision under significant pressure.”