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Sheffield Vision Support Service

We are an educational support service for visually impaired children and young people from 0-25. Our team consists of qualified specialist teachers, specialist teaching assistants, habilitaton officers and curriculum support staff. Our focus is to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people with a vision impairment. We aim to provide ongoing support to enable each young person to reach their potential, and develop skills to become independent adults who are included in all aspects of their community. We aim to ensure support is given to families, and work with educational settings to ensure that all children and young people have access to, and are fully included in all aspects of curriculum.


The Service provides support to children, young people with a vision impairment and their families from 0-25. We aim to provide support that will enable access and inclusion to all aspects of each young person’s life, helping to ensure all children and young people with a vision impairment realise their potential. 

Who to contact:

Sarah Blake
Lead Teacher, Peripatetic Team

Tel: 0114 2941201

Who to contact

Contact Name
Sarah Blake
Contact Position
Lead Teacher, Peripatetic Team
0114 2941201
07875 767408
Tapton School: Vision Support Department

Where to go

Tapton School
Tapton Secondary School
Darwin Lane
S10 5RG

The Vision Support Service is based at tapton school where we have secondary resourced provision for students with a profound vision impairment. In addition to this our outreach team are also based at Tapton and support children and young people across Sheffield in whatever school or setting they attend.

When is it on?

Time / Date Details
Monday to Friday during term time
Time of day
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Inclusion Information

Wheelchair Access
Wheelchair access details
The Service is an outreach Service delivered in homes/settings and schools
Supports special needs and disabilities
Special needs and disabilities experience
Visual impairment

Other Details


Table of costs
Table of costs
AmountCost Type
The Service is centrally funded and is free of charge
The Service is centrally funded and therefore is free of charge.
Referral required
Referral Details

We have an open referral system, where contact will be made within 3 weeks once the service has confirmation from health professional that the child or young person has a diagnosis of vision impairment. 

Local Offer


The Service provides advice and training to educational settings at all stages of education, advice and direct support to children, young people with a vision impairment and their families from 0-25. We aim to provide support that will enable access and inclusion to all aspects of each young person’s life, helping to ensure that they realise their potential. 


We provide: 

Home visits giving support for families of babies and young children with a vision impairment. 

Advice, bespoke training and direct support to Early Years Providers, mainstream, Special Schools, colleges and post 16 providers. 

Secondary resources provision at Tapton School.

Direct teaching of the specialist curriculum from qualified Teachers of Children with a vision impairment and qualified hablilitation specialist, to include Braille literacy, Tactile skills, mobility and independence skills and training in use of specialist ICT. 

Specialist in class support where necessary.

Provision of accessible learning medium, curriculum resources produced in braille, large print and electronic format. 

Assessment of functional vision, including classroom observations and advice on inclusive practice to educational settings. 

Advice on exam access arrangement and provision of accessible exam papers. 

Assessment and provision of assistive technology, eg. braille notetaker, spe and magnification technology. 


Contact Name
Sarah Blake
Contact Telephone
0114 2941201
Contact Email
Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years (0-4 years)
Primary (4-10 years)
Secondary (11-16 years)
Transitions to Adulthood (16+)
SEN Provision Type

General Extended Local Offer Response

Eligibility criteria for your service and any priority groups 

Eligibility Criteria for your service and priority group 

To enable a child or young person to access the service they must be diagnosed by a health professional as having a vision impairment. 

Once diagnosis is made a referral to the Vision Support Service will be made by a health professional from the attending hospital. 

The Service has an open referral system, families and education professionals can refer to the service but a child can only be seen if they have been diagnosed with a vision impairment. 

Initial assessment will include 

* Assessment of Functional vision, (including observation of the child in their environment) by a qualified teacher of children with a vision impairment. 

* Referral for Habilitation Assessment by a qualified habilitation specialist where necessary. 

* Information gathering from parents, child or young persosn, eduational setting and multi-agency professionals where appropriate. 

* Children under school age and their parents will be invited to attend Little Sparklers Pre School Group. This is a weekly group which is run jointly between the Service and Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB).

* On completion of assessments a written report will be produced. 

Once initial assessment is complete a support package will be allocated using the National Sensory Partnership Eligibility Criteria (Natsip) which uses a nationally agreed set of level descriptors that enable support to be allocated based on differing levels of vision impairment. 

Once a support package is allocated parents will be infomed, and this support level is reviewed on an annual basis for each child and young person. 

The support levels offered by the service are briefly outlined below:

Level 5 (Sheffield Support Grid level 5)  - CYP would have a profound vision impairment and would need an individualised support plan, which would include at least 2 visits a week from a specialist teacher, additional weekly specialist teaching assistant support and regular habilitation training. All curriculum resources would need adaptation and modification into alternative format.

Level 4 (Sheffield Support Grid level 4) – CYP would have severe vison impairment and would need at least a weekly visit from a specialist teacher, with additional targeted intervention to include habilitation training and reformatted resources. 

Level 3 ( Sheffield Support Grid level 3) – CYP would have a moderate vision impairment and would need half termly visit by a specialist teacher. Habilitation training would be given when appropriate. 

Level 1/2 (Sheffield Support Grid level1/2) – CYP would have mild vision impairment and would need an annual visit by a specialist teacher to carry out a functional vision assessment, and advice for the school on inclusive practice. 

In addition to the support packages some CYP may be offered time limited targeted intervention with specialist staff to include:

Transition planning

Training in use of specialist equipment

Support for sudden deterioration in vision. 


The support offered by the service is allocated without the need for an Educationa Health Care Plan (EHCP) However support for children with additional and complex needs to include medical and/or social car needs are likely to have an EHCP. 

For CYP with complex needs attending specialist provision support from the Service is allocated in a different way. A Qualified Teacher of Children with a Vision Impairment visits Special Schools on a weekly basis to offer consultancy support and training to school staff to enable them to incorporate teaching and learning strategies  and targeted interventions that include children and young people with complex needs who have a vision impairment. 

Do you operate a waiting list? 
Staffing arrangements 
Able to assist children/young people to access all activities and services
Staffing arrangements details 

The Service employs a range of specialist staff:

  • Specialist qualified Teachers of children and young people with a vision impairment who hold an additional mandatory qualification
  • Teaching Assistants with an additional specialist qualification and proficient in Braille
  • Qualified Habilitation Specialists (specialists in teaching movement, orientation and independent living skills)
  • A Curriculum Support Officer, proficient in braille, organises reformatted resources and specialist access technology
  • A Technician proficient in braille and appropriate access technology

Individual support levels are allocated via Support packages see section 6. The Service is needs led and is able to respond to any changes in a child or young person’s vision.

Interpreters are provided as appropriate and Service information is available in alternative formats.

Staff training to support children/young people with SEND 

All teachers have a mandatory qualification for teaching children with a vision impairment 

All staff are proficient in braille and specialist assistive technology such as braille notetaker, ipad, speech and maginification software.

All staff are involved in specialist training through in house CPD and Regional network CPD. 

All staff have access to additional specialist training where necessary. 

The Service work with a range of other professionals to ensure a holistic approach to children young people and their families. This would include health professionals, education psychology service, carreers service, voluntary agencies and social care colleaues.  

How do you communicate with your service users? 
Parent training
Directly with parents/carers
Learning events
Progress updates provided
Communicating with service users details 

Service staff keep in regular contact with families through phone calls, letters, visit reports  and progress reports. 

Parents/carers are contacted before initial assessment and invited to attend assessment. Post referral report sent to parents after assessment. 

Progress of pre-school children is monitored with parents/carers using the developmental journal for babies and children with a vision impairment. 

Parents /carers whose CYP are having regular input form the service receive termly progress reports with opportunity to provide feedback. 

Photographic evidence is used regularly to demonstrate progress to parents. 

Workshops for parents offered on a range of topics such as early mobility training, specialist ICT and braille reading.)

Parents are encouraged to attend intervention teaching sessions to encourage understanding and involvement in child’s learning. 

Parents/carers are supported with activities and reformatted resources to use at home with their child

Last Updated
visual impairment, SEND, vision impairment, sight impaired, sight impairment, blind, blindness
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