Alongside our high-quality mainstream provision, Kings Copse is a specialist resource base for Visual Impairment (VI). Our Outreach and Sight Impairment Support provision (OASIS) is led by a Qualified Teacher for Visual Impairment and can cater for up to 10 children in school, providing outreach support for primary school children across the south of the county. Established in September 2008, our resource aims to support children with VI so that they can be included within mainstream education as much as possible. The children have access to the resource base for additional curriculum, such as Braille Literacy, and quiet, concentrated learning to support their development.
We provide was wealth of IT and other resources in order to support our VI pupils. All VI pupils have access to their own personalised iPad in class, which provides greater opportunity for independence and peer group working. All pupils also have access to their own laptop and, for children who are registered as blind, individual Perkins Braillers and cutting-edge ‘smart’ Braillers are also provided. The QTVI manages a large team of VI LSAs who support teachers to prepare and provide resources for our partially sighted and blind children.
The VI resource provision enhances every aspect of school life with our mainstream provision enriched as a result. Each year we provide VI awareness training to the staff and pupils, planned jointly with local VI charity ‘Open Sight’. This training gives all of our pupils some experience of the difficulties people with VI face and helps them to understand how they can support blind or partially sighted people. The sessions also promote health education by encouraging the children to look after their eyes through a healthy life style and regular eye tests.
While most of our VI children are brought to school by taxi, we make daily contact with all the parents of the children in the resource base through a home-school diary. It is vital that parents feel that they are part of their child’s education. We work hard to include parents in the life of the school wherever possible and support them to attend parents’ evenings, workshops, special events and class assemblies. They are also welcome to visit the school at other times and are invited to meet with the QTVI and class teacher at least once a term to discuss their child’s progress.
Children with visual impairment need additional support to develop appropriate social and emotional skills. In support of this, each week we run a VIP club on a Friday afternoon where all the children with VI in school can meet and undertake shared learning activities. Once a month, VIP club is opened up to VI children across Hampshire. These sessions provide a great opportunity for parents to meet and make new contacts.
The OASIS continually seeks to link with the local community for benefit of our children. The school works with various charities including Guide Dogs, Sightsavers and Open Sight, many of which have sent representatives to our in-reach sessions to make links with parents and families.
Our resourced provision, while still fairly new, is becoming increasingly well-known and highly regarded by parents and professionals. The number of children we support has more than doubled in recent years. We are extremely effective and continue to offer a high level of support that enables pupils with VI to be fully included in the life of the school and to make excellent progress with their learning and development.