Vision Impairment Team

Vision Impairment Team

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About the Vision Impairment Team

Head of Service for Vision and Physical Needs Team

Jade Cracknell

Early Years – Specialist Teachers 

Sarah Whitaker ( Early Years Lead Teacher)

Susanne Jenkins

Kate Leigh

Early Years – Specialist Practitioners

Joanne Hey

Schools – Specialist Teachers 

Shiraz Ayub

Laura Brooks

Katherine Gibson

Andrew Greenwood

Claire Griffiths

John Lee

Specialist VI Technical Officers

Jim Armitage

Rob Bergman

Senior Habilitation Officer

Alan Scholes

Habilitation Officers

Sarah Houchen

Gemma Connell

Business Support

Caroline Plum

Farakh Iqbal

Department of Children's Services
0-25 SEND Inclusive Education Service

Sensory and Physical Needs Team

Service for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment
3rd Floor, Margaret McMillan Tower
Prince’s Way
Bradford  BD1 1NN

Tel: 01274 439500 

Who are the VI Team?

The VI Team is part of the Specialist Teaching and Support Service (STASS), Sensory and Pysical Needs Service.

The VI Team provide an assessment, advisory and teaching service for babies, children and young people aged from 0-25 and their families. The team consist of

  • Qualified Teachers of the Vision Impaired (QTVI’s)
  • Specialist Practitioners
  • Specialist Technology and Resource Officers
  • Specialist Habilitation Officers.


Who do we support?

The VI Team support children with identifiable ophthalmic conditions which result in a reduced level of vision function. This reduction of vision may, even when corrected by spectacles if appropriate, have an impact on their learning, access to the curriculum, mobility, independent living skills and inclusion.

The VI Team staff two Local Authority Led Resourced Provisions (LARPs) based within a mainstream primary (Grove House Primary) and a mainstream secondary school (Hanson School) in Bradford.


How do I access the team?

The VI Team has an open referral system meaning that anyone can contact the service to request advice and support. However, the most common ways that children can be referred are via:

  • EA1 notifications from health or Early Years settings which are triaged,
  • Sensory and Physical Needs Team referral form identifying possible issues relating to a pupils use of vision can be completed by educational settings,
  • Ophthalmologists directly contacting the service;
    • Clinic notes requesting input
    • Certificate of Vision Impairment issued by ophthalmologists


What can the VI Team offer?

All new referrals will be visited by a QTVI who is best placed to understand the age range and setting of the child. A new referral report will be compiled which will identify the strategies required to support further progression. A Habilitation Specialist may be required to carry out further assessments as part of the new referral process.

Allocation to an active caseload will be dependent upon the severity of impact of VI on the needs of the child in accordance with the Bradford Matrix of Need.

The frequency and type of support offered by the VI Team will be guided by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) Eligibility Criteria and may include elements of:


Early Years

  • An Early Years QTVI – Above its QT vision impaired will be assigned to the child and will work with them and the family until they are at the end of Year 1 (or end of Reception in Special School). Other specialist staff may also work with the child and family. Support is then continued by a QTVI working with school age children.
  • Regular visits are provided according to the severity of vision impairment and intervention required, initially in the home and then, when the child moves into a setting.
  • Where appropriate, a habilitation officer will provide support in blocks of work for mobility, orientation and life skills. 
  • Support offered to parents in choosing a setting for their child. Signposting to agencies and charities to offer further support and advice.
  • The QTVI or specialist practitioner are also committed to multi-agency working alongside Portage home visitors, the physical and medical team and SALT for example.
  • Increased support is provided during transition times and if necessary, to request a statutory assessment.
  • Children requiring Braille will receive direct teaching from a QTVI. Support staff will be trained to deliver Braille interventions to the child.
  • Equipment for Braille will be provided by the VI team.
  • We offer bespoke training and advice to settings to enable access to the EYFS curriculum and all available provision. The habilitation team can carry out an environmental audit.
  • We run a group in a sensory room and activity mornings for young children with a vision impairment.


School Years

  • Children referred to the VI Team will be visited by a QTVI who has experience working with children of a particular age range or setting.
  • QTVI will assess the student’s functional vision and the impact this has on learning.
  • QTVI will offer advice on strategies which promote the inclusion of children with vision impairment.
  • Contribution to statutory  assessments such as advice and monitoring of Education Health Care Plans
  • Contribution to the formulation of appropriate provision via My Support Plans, IEP or Pupil Profiles
  • Training for teaching staff to develop VI Awareness and strategies for supporting students with low vision.
  • Training for key staff involved in the use of specialist areas such as Braille, Assistive Technology and Resource Production
  • Monitoring of functional vision and access to learning across the curriculum, advice offered to support individual needs.
  • In line with the provision outlined in Bradford Matrix of Need, children may be offered packages of support to enhance;
    • Habilitation skills delivered by Specialist Habilitation Officers
    • Independent Living Skills
    • VI Awareness sessions; individual, peer group and staff
    • Access to Learning via ICT or Low Vision Aids
    • Access to Learning via non-sighted methods; Braille, Audio etc
    • Enhanced support during periods of Transition
  • QTVI to offer advice and support in implementing access arrangements for relevant statutory assessments; SATs, GCSE etc
  • Where applicable, liaison with other agencies involved with the child
  • Where appropriate attendance at meetings, assessment, planning and review, in line with the SEN Code of Practice
  • Advice and/or loans of specialist resources and equipment

Children referred to the VI Team will be visited by QTVI who will assess their functional vision and the impact this has on learning, and offer initial advice and support. Pupils with more severe vision conditions may be placed on the active caseload of the QTVI, who will be the named contact for parents/carers, schools and settings. Other appropriately qualified and experienced staff may also work with the child, to offer support, which will include:

  • Information and support to parents and carers
  • Guidance relating to an individual child following observation, assessment and monitoring of functional vision
  • Liaison with other agencies involved with the child
  • Advice on strategies which promote the inclusion of children with vision impairment
  • Support and training for individuals and for groups of staff
  • Specialist skills teaching appropriate to the needs of the individual child
  • Involvement in meetings, assessment, planning and review, in line with the SEN Code of Practice
  • Assessment and advice on access technology as appropriate
  • Advice and/or loans of specialist resources 


Useful Information:

RNIB Guide for parents






Training opportunities


Useful Links





Page owned by Jade Cracknell, last updated on 19/04/2024. This page has been viewed 44,681 times.