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Visual Impairment :
Special Educational Needs

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The name and type of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution to be attended by the child or young person and the type of that institution (or, where the name of a school or other institution is not specified in the EHC plan, the type of school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person).

These details must be included only in the final EHC plan, not the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person.


Parents and young people have the right to request a placement at a particular school, such as :

A maintained nursery school

A maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)

A non-maintained special school

A further education or sixth form college

A independent school or independent specialist colleges

The LA must comply with the request unless :

it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or

the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.

Efficient education means providing for each child or young person a suitable, appropriate education in terms of their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.  Efficient use of resources relates to the additional costs of the placement, in terms of travelling costs or placement fees for independent schools/Colleges. Few LAs have specific provision for VI, though may have VI support units within mainstream schools. There are specialist schools for severely visually impaired pupils, mainly at secondary level and beyond, but due to distance many pupils attending have to be residential. Requests for placement at a specialist residential school is often refused on the basis of cost/unreasonable public expenditure.

It is essential to be able to demonstrate that the LA's preferred local school is unable to meet the pupil's needs and deliver the provision in section F to establish a case for such a placement, consequently demonstrating that the cost of the placement is not unreasonable. Explanation about the development of autonomy and independence, and the need for a waking day curriculum (which implies a residential school/college) is in the VI curriculum section. Click here to go to the page.

If no specific request for a particular school is made, the LA must specify mainstream education, though there are a number of circumstances where this would be inappropriate, i.e. the placement would be incompatible with the efficient education of other children. The LA has to demonstrate that there are no “reasonable steps” that could be taken to ensure that the child can be educated in a mainstream school in a way that is compatible with the efficient education of other children. The SEN Code of Practice contains sections about children with challenging behaviour, with autistic spectrum disorder or with learning disabilities (without verbal communication).

It is essential that the school identified has the experience, expertise, staffing and resources to fulfil all of the provision specified in section F and that the child/young person is able to achieve the outcomes described in section E. It is important that cost comparisons are available between the LA’s local school and the parents’ preference.

Note that schools must not be named in proposed or draft EHCPs but only in the final EHCP, so parents/carers must negotiate with the LA about the placement before the final EHCP is issued.

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