Please note that as of October 2020, we now operate as Sight Scotland. Our former name, Royal Blind will appear in content, such as reports, produced before that date.

Members of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee visited the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh as MSPs consider the current provision of specialist education for children with vision impairment in Scotland’s schools.

The visit by members of the committee followed a recent Education Scotland inspection report which rated the Royal Blind School as Excellent in learning, teaching and assessment. As well as providing specialist school education for blind and partially sighted pupils, the Royal Blind School works with pupils in mainstream education.

oupils with teachers and MSPs in science class

The Education and Skills Committee has taken a close interest in the provision of additional support for learning. A 2015 report by the Education and Culture Committee highlighted the need for progress in a number of areas of specialist support for pupils with sensory impairment. The committee also made a raft of recommendations in 2017 on additional support for learning and continues to scrutinise this vital issue. The visit to the Royal Blind School provided an opportunity to discuss developments in these areas since the report was published.

Committee convener Clare Adamson MSP said: “It was great to have the opportunity to visit the Royal Blind School to meet with the staff and pupils. It was wonderful to meet children with vision impairments who are excelling.

“I would like to congratulate the school on achieving an Excellent rating for learning, teaching and assessment in its inspection report, which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the staff at the school.”

Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Royal Blind said: “It was a privilege for us to welcome the convener and members of the Education and Skills Committee to the Royal Blind School. The committee has been diligent and effective in highlighting the importance of additional support for learning, and there is a growing need to support children and young people who are blind and partially sighted.

“Over the last ten years the number of pupils with vision impairment has more than doubled, from two thousand to over four thousand pupils. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss with members how we meet the needs of this growing number of pupils, and our Vision For Equal Education’4 which aims to ensure pupils both in mainstream and specialist schools have the support they need to succeed.” 

Elaine Brackenridge, Head Teacher of the Royal Blind School said: “I am delighted the committee visited the school to meet our pupils and teachers. Their visit came at a time when we are all celebrating an inspection report which has rated our school as Excellent in learning, teaching and assessment.

“The success of the pupils we work with, both here in the school and in mainstream education, shows that pupils with vision impairment can fulfil their potential and succeed in education with the right support.”